Biggles's Reading Habits

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:36 pm

Fairblue » Sun May 22, 2016 4:05 pm
It was in The case of the Modern Pirate - Chinese Puzzle, Kismet. They were looking at the the illustrations of a new type of aircraft in the current issue . Raymond wished them all a Happy New Year, which places it in January of 19 - something or other.
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:37 pm

by kylie_koyote » Sun May 22, 2016 11:45 pm
Fairblue wrote:It was in The case of the Modern Pirate - Chinese Puzzle, Kismet. They were looking at the the illustrations of a new type of aircraft in the current issue . Raymond wished them all a Happy New Year, which places it in January of 19 - something or other.


Biggles' Chinese Puzzle was published 9 May 1955, and while some of the stories appeared in earlier serial publications, according to Dr. Biggles' site (http://www.biggles.info/Details/53/) The Case of the Modern Pirate was not published elsewhere.

So perhaps Biggles was reading the January 1955 issue of Flight. (That's a big 'perhaps'.)
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:38 pm

Kismet » Sun May 22, 2016 11:52 pm
'Biggles and his police pilots looked up from some illustrations of a new type of aircraft in the current issue of Flight as the door to the Ops room opened and their chief, Air Commodore Raymond, walked in.
'Happy New Year to you all,' he greeted cheerfully.'

Chinese Puzzle was published in May 1955 and the Case of the Modern Pirate hadn't been published anywhere else (thanks Dr B). The oldest story with a known publication date in this collection was published in 1952.
Another two collections of short stories had been published just before Chinese Puzzle: Pirate Treasure 1954, and Special Air Police 1953, so I'm going to presume that WEJ got nearly all the stories published elsewhere or without homes into the earlier volumes of short stories, and it was a final gather up of outstanding stories into Chinese Puzzle, and some may have been written specifically for it. That gives me a start date of no earlier than 1952 and no later than 1955 for the magazine issue.

Flight is a weekly publication so my possible dates for the current issue are the one published in the first week of January and the final week of December:

1955 Jan 7th
1954 31st Dec
1954 1st Jan
1953 25th Dec
1953 2nd Jan
1952 26th Dec.

I'll rule out Jan 7th 1955, as that is too late a date to be saying Happy New Year to work colleagues.

31st Dec 1954 doesn't really contain anything that could be described as illustrations of a new type of aircraft.

1st Jan 1954 has a biggish article on the SAAB 91C Safir and illustrations of the North American Super Sabre F-100A

25th Dec 1953 has illustrations of:
Fokker Friendship
Blackburn Beverley
Boeing 707

2nd Jan 1953 has illustrations of:
Chance Vought F7U-3
Fokker F.27 Friendship / Canadair CL-21

26th Dec 1952 has illustrations of Lockheed F-94C Starfire.

I know very little about planes. Anyone got any ideas on how to narrow this down further?
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:38 pm

Fairblue » Mon May 23, 2016 8:13 am
Wow, Kismet, that's some pretty fast research you've done there. I don't think I've got the knowledge of aircraft to narrow it down further either. And for dating purposes, it must be remembered that New Year's day wasn't a Bank Holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until 1974. so it's possible the chaps were in the office on THE day. I'm not sure if it helps at all, probably doesn't, but here are the days on which New Year fell.

New Year's Day

1955 - Saturday
1954 -Friday
1953 - Thursday
1952 - Tuesday
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:39 pm

by Kismet » Mon May 23, 2016 12:15 pm

Flight came out on a Friday, so the first issue of 1954 came out on Friday 1st January 1954.

I think it would be possible to describe any of the five issues I've identified as the current issue, combined with the dating evidence of Raymond saying Happy New Year, which couldn't have been before Jan 1st (obviously) but probably wasn't later than the 3rd or 4th, either.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:39 pm

auster_aiglet » Mon May 23, 2016 12:20 pm
In that case he might have been in interested in the Safir as a possible replacement for the Procter which would have been getting a little elderly by then.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:39 pm

Wanderer » Mon May 23, 2016 12:52 pm

I suspect any of these aircraft would have been of great interest to professional airmen at the time, but the 25 December 1953 has three "super" aircraft - Boeing 707 was the most successful jet airliner of the 1950s-60s, Fokker Friendship was one of the most successful turboprop airliners 1950s-80s, and Beverley was one of the biggest troop transports ever built in Britain. The SAAB Safir of 1 January 1954 on the other hand was an all-metal four-seater not unlike the Air Police's Proctor: perhaps they were looking at upgrading, although I can't see the "Buy British" lobby at the time being very accommodating: if the Air Police were getting premium treatment they may well have got it on the day of issue. Of course WEJ could have just been making it up as he went along
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:40 pm

Kismet » Mon May 23, 2016 1:20 pm
Wanderer wrote:
Of course WEJ could have just been making it up as he went along


Dear WEJ. There's always that possibility.

I think, and this is purely a subjective opinion, that WEJ had his ideas triggered by what was around him. He heard a story, a description of a place, read an interesting newspaper article and it was all grist to his writing mill. He had a mug of hot chocolate brought to him, and so did Biggles. Therefore, I would argue, that the tiny details included in the stories like looking at illustrations in the current issue of Flight, are the most likely to be truthful, that WEJ was throwing in something he'd just done, as a simple way of providing context and background for the story. I think that his made up bits are most likely to be for plot purposes: needing a plane to have an extended range, and so on.

It's Biggles's job to know everything with wings: he says that at least once in the books, so I think he could be studying the illustrations from a technical viewpoint to stay up to date with what's happening in aviation, not necessarily because he is looking for replacements.
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:41 pm

Foolscap » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:10 pm
This is very comprehensive:-) I had not pictured Biggles reading romance adventures, and fairy tales crop up more than I remember. Also enjoyed the Nevil Shute novels:-)

A further suggestion, if not already raised...Biggles refers to Jack Sheppard in a couple of books...Biggles and Co comes to mind. As in "I'm no Jack Sheppard". He was a mid 1700s highwayman, thief, and escaped from jail several times. Perhaps he therefore also read true life adventure stories.
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:41 pm

Fairblue » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:41 pm
Or he could have know about him from school. He sounded just the sort of character schoolboys would have loved to read about, along with Dick Turpin and the like.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:41 pm

Kismet » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:25 pm
I read the books specifically named, such as Three Weeks, and authors where there were only a few options to investigate. I was a bit stuck when it came to popular references. Had Biggles read about certain, historical personages, or did he know them from popular culture or film?
It was impossible to tell, so i ignored them.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:42 pm

Foolscap » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:43 pm
Understood...a good reason for missing some areas out. Too much speculation needed.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:42 pm

Kismet

I like me a good bit of speculation, but I try to distinguish between things with a basis of fact and the totally imaginative!
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:43 pm

Foolscap » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:49 pm
Point well made, and I will bear it in mind regarding any future posts. Thank you.

I did enjoy the results of your initial reading/research on the subject though:-)
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:43 pm

Kismet » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:58 pm


Some threads are pure imagination and great fun, but if it's a thread that's asking for factual stuff, then I try not to meander too far away. The rest of the forum now laughs hysterically as I am one of the most easily distracted contributers.

Glad you enjoyed the research. Reading Three Weeks has scarred me for life. Definitely a book when you wish you knew of an effective brain bleach to remove the memory of it.
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:43 pm

by Frecks » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:18 am
it is Impossible to know exactly what Biggles read unless it is mentioned in a specific book. In the mid 20th Century a lot of people learned about historical characters from the cinema although of course the films were not necessarily historically accurate
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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:44 pm

Kismet » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:17 pm
I note that there is a general presumption that Biggles generally gets his information from books or the cinema, or occasionally remembering something from school. However, he has a scrapbook of cuttings of interesting stories. It's mentioned in Breaks the Silence:


"Just a moment whilst I turn up my scrapbook; we might as well get our facts right." Biggles went over to his files and put on the table a bulky album, from which the edges of newspaper clippings projected at all angles.


It's mentioned again in the Biggles Book of Treasure Hunting, the only mention of Biggles in the entire book if memory serves me right:


He (Biggles) had a special scrapbook filled with notes and newspaper clippings relating to treasures found,but more often to treasure-hunting expeditions that had failed.'

I think there is another reference, too, where he says he pays a Press Agency to get the clippings for him, but I can't think where.

I see this as a very Biggles solution, acquiring what interests him without doing any of the hard work. He could have learned about many things not from books or the cinema, but from the cuttings he collects.
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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Re: Biggles's Reading Habits

Post by Kismet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:44 pm

Indian Civil Service » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:43 pm
I think the press agency is mentioned in Breaks the Silence too?

And Sabatini? They seem to take Ginger to lots of movies too.
'Major Bigglesworth,' said von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'

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