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Biggles by Capt. W E Johns - Vintage Boyhood Favourites

Updated on March 13, 2015
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I've always been a keen reader and have so many books that I couldn't hope to read them all in my lifetime. I love being surrounded by them

Books for Boys - Biggles Books by Capt. WE Johns were very popular in the mid-twentieth century and are still being reprinted. They tell of the adventures of an

Captain W. E. Johns wrote a series of 98 Biggles books, and such was their popularity that they have been published in 26 countries and are still currently being republished.

In the series, Biggles, or James Bigglesworth, starts off as a young flyer in the Royal Flying Corps in France where he is taken under the wing of Mahoney and soon becomes a very skilled pilot. His adventures span a period from World War I through to World War II and beyond, many of the stories arising from W. E. John's own experience who was often writing about authentic events, with embellishments which were not always entirely credible. After the two World Wars, Biggles and associates are recruited into a special airborne police unit to continue their adventures.

Biggles Air Detective

Captain W.E.Johns (1893 - 1968) author of the Biggles and Gimlet Books - served as a machine gunner in WWI and from 1918 and was himself a fighter pilot with th

W E Johns author
W E Johns author

William Earl Johns, Author of 98 Biggles Books

Capt. Johns was shot down over Mannheim and became a Prisoner of War and escaped. He was recaptured and only avoided execution because of the abrupt end to the war. He remained in the Royal Air Force until 1931 when his final rank was Flying Officer, and he added the epithet of Captain when he became a prolific and famous writer, the author of 167 books, including the Worrals, Gimlet and Steeley series, as well as science fiction and books on aviation and gardening.

Biggles Books by Capt. W E Johns on Amazon: - See if there's anything you fancy - they are collectors' items

This was my own collection of Biggles books by Capt. WE Johns

I have recently sold the whole lot,

but I just love the covers,

so I thought you'd like to

see them too

Biggles in the Cruise of the Condor
Biggles in the Cruise of the Condor

See My collection of Biggles books by Capt. WE Johns - See Below - here's the first book:

Biggles in The Cruise of the Condor The Thames Publishing Co (Regent Classics) undated, ca. 1952/3. The second book in a series of 98. Dust jacket torn at edges.Red cloth board, hardback. Dust wrapper not price-clipped but no price shown.

Biggles leads a treasure hunt by air into the wilds of Brazil. First published in 1933.


Remember the words

"...and Biggles lit another cigarette",

which appeared in nearly every book? things have changed - the publishers wouldn't allow that phrase to appear in children's books nowdays, would they?

Biggles and Gimlet books
Biggles and Gimlet books

Stop Press!

I have just put my whole collection of Biggles books to sell as a job lot on eBay and sold the lot:

SOLDfor £28 (approximately $50) plus postage, and I asked for offers. Bearing in mind the true value, you will see that this was quite a bargain.

Biggles and the Missing Millionaire
Biggles and the Missing Millionaire

Biggles and the Missing Millionaire - 1961 -1st edition Brock Books

Biggles and the Missing Millionaire

Cover in good condition, tiny tear at top, slightly foxed.


Biggles in Africa
Biggles in Africa

Biggles in Africa - Reprint 1952 Oxford Illus. Alfred Sindall


Biggles in the South Seas
Biggles in the South Seas

Biggles in the South Seas - third edition 1962 Brockhampton Press


Here are some more Biggles books on Amazon - So you have plenty of choice, if you want to own one or two yourself

Biggles Flies Again
Biggles Flies Again

Biggles Flies Again - Dean & Sons, (Reprint) Undated, no Illustrations

Hard cover, clean faded spine. Dust Jacket torn but clean. Foxed pages (yellowed).


Biggles Follows On
Biggles Follows On

Biggles Follows On - Hodder & Stoughton, illustrated 1959 Second Impression, llustrated by Stead

Ex Libris. Cover fair condition, pages foxed and aged, some writing on bottom of pages


Biggles Combined Operation
Biggles Combined Operation

These are the other Biggles Books in my Collection

(They don't all have dust jackets)

Biggles Air Detective - Dean & Son Reprint 1952 (?) - however, this one does have a dust jacket, see picture at top of this page

Hard cover, clean yellowed pages. Dust jacket a bit torn at bottom and torn away on spine, but clean.


Biggles Takes a Holiday - 1951 Third Impression Hodder & Stoughton. illustrated by Stead


Biggles Secret Agent - Reprinted 1950 Oxford University Press, illustrated by Alfred Sindall

No Dust jacket


Gimlet Goes Again
Gimlet Goes Again

And One Gimlet Book by Capt. WE Johns: - Gimlet Goes Again - University of London Press Ltd November 1944 - 1st edition - illustrated by Stead

Gimlet Goes Again University of London Press Ltd November 1944 - 1st edition - illustrated by Stead

Fair condition. Missing Dust Jacket, hard cover, board wearing thin at back; owner's name on frontispiece.


Three Biggles Videos - Music and tongue-in-cheek Biggles

Don't forget Biggles books were written before there was video, so don't expect great things here:

It's just such fun to get feedback from people all over the world - sort of brings us together.

What are your memories?

Are you interested in vintage children's books? Did you read a lot as a child? I did - I used to earn 7s. 6d. (that would have been about $3 a week) pocket money and the whole lot used to go on books - about one a week.

Did you used to read Biggles books? - Please visit me here on my Guestbook - I love to hear from people

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Fun collection!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I missed these when I was a kid. I bet the person who bought them was really happy.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Paul Ward: Thanks for that useful information - and I thought cannabis wasn't invented until the 1960s!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I hadn't heard of Biggles or Gimlet. They sound like wonderful adventure books. Good luck with your sale!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'm into children's literature - but this is the first time I've heard of the Biggles books. I guess they weren't that well known in California.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never heard of Biggles before...but these look like great adventure books for kids. I imagine many young boys got a yen for flying reading these. Thanks for sharing about them.

    • Paul Ward profile image


      5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Biggles might have smoked but only tobacco -- His police unit used planes to spot cannabis growing among fields of corn :)

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      5 years ago

      OMG!! Now there's name I haven't thought for a very long time. Do you have any idea how long its been since I have seen or read a Biggles book? Lets see - I last read one around 1976 I believe, so that would be - 37 years ago!!! WOW

      Great lens - certainly brings back the nostalgia and the memories. Thanks.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @annieangel1: He is soooo set in a time-warp, isn't he?

    • annieangel1 profile image


      5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      now that is a blast from the past - long time since I heard about Biggles

    • Squidpress profile image


      6 years ago

      When I was making my Biggles Lens I was really surprised was already taken. Decided to check it out and I am happy I did. Great Lens. Hope you sold the books and some young kid is growing up with the same exciting stories I enjoyed.

    • Churchmouse LM profile image

      Churchmouse LM 

      6 years ago

      Yes! My two older brothers of course got to the books first but I devoured them just as easily. My first literary encounter with a kiss was in Biggles! I think it was when he was shot down and was harboured by a French family. It had a blue cover. I can't remember any more details!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I only had a couple of Biggles books but I really enjoyed his adventures. Between Biggles and The Famous Five by Enid Blyton I had some wonderful adventures growing up. Did you see the movie they made of Biggles, I think it was in the 1980s? Then the hilarious Monty Python spoof "Biggles Flies Undone". Excellent job and great memories, blessed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes I read Biggles books as a boy and also W E Johns' other character Gimlet. Today a friend and I have a running joke when we call each other...when I pick up the phone I answer 'Ginger here' and he says 'Biggles here' ! crazy I know.

    • profile image


      7 years ago



    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I do remember Biggles! Thanks for reminding me.

    • norma-holt profile image


      8 years ago

      How loved Biggles and his great adventures. I would love to get some for my grandchildren but don't know if they could read them yet. Eldest is 9. Great lens and inspiring. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on How to Buy Books Online

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I am not familiar with the Biggles books but they look wonderful and you sure have an interesting collection. The artwork on the cover reminds me of the Nancy Drew books so must be around the same time period. Good luck with selling your collection. I imagine they are hard to part with.

    • delia-delia profile image


      8 years ago

      nice lens and great information about Biggles Books...5* for the fact I learned something new...I wish you much luck in selling them


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