Shirley Jacobs writes to inform me that the W E Johns Appreciation Society now has a website. It's clearly quite an active group -- there's a magazine, Biggles Flies Again, published twice a year, and regular meetings with the next in Derby on 24 October. Via the site, one can keep up with W. E. Johns, Biggles, Worrals et al in the press, or explore the wider world of Bigglesiana on the web. (Which introduced me to a site devoted to Popular Flying, a magazine edited by Johns which featured articles by a number of airpower writers familar to me, such as J. M. Spaight, E. Colston Shepherd, Arch Whitehouse and Nigel Tangye.)
At one point I had managed to work in a brief reference to Biggles in my thesis, but sadly had to cut it for reasons of space. So here's what I was going to say!
And even Biggles, the flying adventurer whose popularity with boys dates from this period, got into the act [of popularising the knock-out blow theory] in Biggles and the Black Peril (published 1935), foiling German plans to set up navigational beacons on the English coast in preparation for a sudden and massive air attack.1
W. E. Johns, Biggles and the Black Peril (London: Red Fox, 2004 ). ↩