Captain W.E. Johns

You can find an extensive biography in the Captain W.E. Johns Catalogue.

Here are some highlights:

William Earl Johns was born in 1893 in Bengeo, Hertfordshire, England as son of a tailor. During World War I he first served as machine-gunner and from 1918 as fighter pilot with the RFC in France. He was shot down over Mannheim, became a POW, escaped, was caught again and sentenced to death. He was saved by the sudden ending of the war!
He stayed with the Royal Air Force until 1931, as flight instructor and later recruiting officer. When he left his rank was "Flying Officer". When several years later he became a successful author he added "Captain" to his name.
He started his career as a very skilful aviation artist/ illustrator/ painter for many purposes (magazines, brochures, postcards, posters, books).

William Earl Johns William Earl Johns

In the early thirties he created his most famous hero, James Bigglesworth - "BIGGLES" -, in short stories based on his own World War I experiences and on those of his friends. Biggles almost immediately became very popular en was turned into a junior hero for boys.
Altogether Johns wrote 98 books, not in chronological order (see chronology list), on Biggles!
He was also very successful as author of non-fiction (aviation, gardening) and other fiction series with other heroes/heroines, like the female pilot Worrals, Gimlet and Steeley and even a science fiction series.
Johns wrote 167 books and probably hundreds of short stories!

He died in 1968, while writing the book "Biggles does some homework"; Biggles was to retire in that particular story!
His books were published in 26 countries and he was the second best selling children's author (after Enid Blyton) in the UK!
There was also published one movie about Biggles.
Still his Biggles books are being republished in several countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, United Kingdom) and also new stories, based on the original characters, are frequently found.
Over than 40 years after his death Captain W.E. Johns is still very much with us!

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