The Press Cuttings Collection   :  (for Internet Mentions see here)
Report by Marie Scofield : February 2011
The Eastern Daily Press, 12/11/10, reported on an exhibition held at the Swaffham Museum, 11/11/10 until Christmas. It was planned as an act of remembrance of war heroes who had links with Swaffham, and included information on W.E. Johns, who worked in Swaffham prior to World War 1.
The Enid Blyton Society Journal, Winter 2010, reprinted an article by Enid Blyton “Happiness in the Children’s Ward”, originally published in “Nurse”, Sept. 1962. She thought it important for children in hospital to have “good reading material” and considered herself “doubly glad to know that I can bring comfort to children who are ill. Authors such as Bill Johns, who writes the inimitable Biggles books, must have taken countless children happily through many weary days of sickness”.
A TV programme about the Dam Busters, 18/10/10, mentioned that Guy Gibson was a fan of Biggles and this inspired him to take up flying. The (Melbourne) Age” of 13/11/10 featured millionaire Dick Smith, who, as a child, was also a fan of Biggles. He became a pilot & has led an adventurous life.
John Crace’s book, Brideshead Abbreviated, is a list of “100 classic reads of the 20th Century” and includes Biggles in the Baltic. The Readers Digest book Yesterday’s Britain named W.E.Johns as one of the most popular authors of children’s fiction during World War 11.
The Daily Telegraph, 22/9/10, printed a letter from Robert Parker about his father, a wartime Corsair pilot. Robert said that his father’s memories were “less in the Biggles mode and more about survival”.
Classic Arms magazine reviewed the annual "War and Peace" show in Kent, July 2010. The article included a photo of an item for sale, a Cooper bomb, “as mentioned by Captain W.E.Johns in the immortal Biggles stories”.
The Daily Telegraph, 4/10/10, reported an interview with Jennie Bond about the TV programme that she narrated, “Royals at War”. She mentioned the “Biggles-esque exploits” of the RAF pilot Ray Holmes, who saw a German bomber flying down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. Holmes had no ammunition left so he crashed his aircraft into the bomber, thus preventing the attack on the Palace. Holmes survived.
In On the Deck & in the Drink – Flying with the Royal Navy 1952-1964, B.R. Allen discussed his training. He had difficulty hitting the target drone & the camera “revealed that Biggles & I had very little in common in the gunnery world”.
In General Aviation, Oct. 2010, an article on "Automation versus Airmanship" by Captain Ian Marshall poses the question “When is a pilot not a pilot?” He flies Airbus A320 but claims a “spiritual bond with the Wright Brothers, Tommy Sopwith and perhaps even a certain Captain Bigglesworth”. His view is that a pilot needs to be able to control an aircraft in all non-automated conditions, but he claims that present training of airline pilots places great reliance on technology & minimises basic flying skills.
The Economist, 28/8/10, discussed the escalating price of weaponry. One view on the way to keep costs down was to use pilotless drones. “Goodbye Biggles, the British adventure book hero”. A photo of a pilot was captioned “I say Algy, what’s that unmanned thingy at 12 o’clock?”
Biggles – related items continue to be used in quizzes. Two 2010 issues of Book & Magazine Collector discussed Penguin books & said that the Penguin Biggles Flies Again is one of the most collectable Penguins.
Thank you to all who sent items and please keep sending them. I will continue to use as many as space allows.
As usual, please keep looking out for mentions of W.E.J. and his characters.