W.E. Johns (1893-1968), Author, 41 Cowbridge, Hertford
Posted by: bill&ben
N 51° 47.918 W 000° 04.987
30U E 701122 N 5742666
Quick Description: Plaque at the childhood home of W.E. Johns, the author of Biggles.
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/26/2009 7:59:12 AM
Waymark Code: WM7H54
William Earl Johns was born in Bengeo in 1893, the son of a tailor. By 1900 the family had moved to 41 Cowbridge, Hertford. He attended Hertford Grammar School, but was not an exceptional scholar.
During the First World War Johns served with the King’s Own Royal Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps. In September 1917 he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, giving the basis for his prolific output of aviation literature.
During his flying career Johns had several flying accidents, he wrote off three planes in three days due to engine failure - crashing into the sea, then the sand, and then through a fellow officer’s back door. He also managed to shoot off his propeller twice with his synchronised forward mounted machine gun.
Johns' first novel, Mossyface, was published in 1922. After leaving the RAF, Johns became a newspaper air correspondent, as well as editing and illustrating books about flying. At the request of John Hammond Ltd, he created the magazine Popular Flying which first appeared in March 1932. It was in the pages of Popular Flying that Biggles first appeared. Johns edited Popular Flying and later its weekly sister Flying until the beginning of 1939.
The first Biggles book, The Camels are Coming, was published in August 1932. At first, the Biggles stories were credited to "William Earle", but later Johns adopted the more familiar byline "Capt. W. E. Johns". Johns continued writing Biggles stories until his death in 1968. In all, nearly a hundred Biggles books were published, out of a total of 169 books. Other less-famous characters created by W. E. Johns include commando Captain Lorrington “Gimlet” King; aviatrix Joan ”Worrals” Worralson (essentially a female Biggles, created at the request of the Air Ministry to inspire more young women to join the WAAF); and pioneering astronaut (ex-RAF, naturally) Group Captain Timothy "Tiger" Clinton, who first rocketed into space in 1954.
Source : Wikipedia
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