Biggles and women

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Foolscap » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:55 pm

Postby SaintedAunt » 15 Aug 2013, 11:40

Jennifer wrote:
...I do think he told him quite a bit about flying in WW1 if only to give him some guidance on war flying ...

In In Spain Jock asks Ginger who taught him to fly like that, and he says 'Biggles'.
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--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Foolscap » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:55 pm

Postby Jennifer » 15 Aug 2013, 11:48

I think Biggles Goes to War was before Spain and Biggles is worried in that book because war flying was new to Ginger and he tries to keep him out of combat although Ginger decides "he has to start sometime" - it must have been very difficult to fly in that situation without any training at all - Ginger would have needed all the help Biggles could give him. Ginger was never as good a shot as the others partly I think because he had not been trained - the first few people he kills it is more by accident than design and he gets very upset about it.
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Foolscap » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:56 pm

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 17 Aug 2013, 01:05

Jennifer wrote:
Ginger would have needed all the help Biggles could give him. Ginger was never as good a shot as the others partly I think because he had not been trained - the first few people he kills it is more by accident than design and he gets very upset about it.

I think, by the time we get to Baltic that Ginger's shooting is up to scratch. Biggles was very focused on training pilots under his command - remember how, in The Boob, he insisted that those in his flight use up their ammunition by shooting at targets at the end of the strip to improve their accuracy before landing. I really think that Biggles, and Algy, would have invested a good bit of time in training Ginger in the art of war flying and shooting, once it became clear that war was coming.
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Foolscap » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:56 pm

Postby Spitfire666 » 17 Aug 2013, 08:22

SaintedAunt wrote:
After all, how many people did Biggles kill when he destroyed the dam in Flies East? In war people get killed and if an enemy installation is bothering you, you try and take it out - as evidenced in several of the WWI stories.

Do we know that people got killed when Biggles destroyed the dam? Raymond said troops would not die, just be inconvenienced: are we assuming that he was lying? Quite possible, of course.
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Foolscap » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:56 pm

Postby SaintedAunt » 17 Aug 2013, 09:12

Spitfire666 wrote:
Do we know that people got killed when Biggles destroyed the dam? Raymond said troops would not die, just be inconvenienced: are we assuming that he was lying? Quite possible, of course.

I think Raymond was lying - or perhaps being economical with the truth. Biggles raised the possibility of lots of men dying of thirst and that was the question Raymond was answering. In fact, when the dam wall burst, WEJ's description is vivid and suggests many have died. Water carried all before it; it swept over the archie battery which had been shelling Algy, it swept away houses and stores, "the guns ... were buried under tons of rockm sand and debris". Moreover, wej says "Biggles neard the story unmoved... he had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams". That was war and I can't see any ethical difference between that destruction and the destruction of a squadron. Much as I might like to...
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Indian Civil Service » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:18 am

Just a thought. In Looks Back Biggles is almost caught in Marie's room when Reinhardt shows up unannounced. It's her quick thinking that saves him as she hides him in her bedroom instead of dashing for the window. After that, she formally asks for his forgiveness. "I am truly sorry for what I did to you in France" and he replies, "Between you and me there was nothing to forgive. I'm not sorry." He also says she gave him something wonderful to remember for all his life and she says any woman would get strength from that. It's cryptic but I think it conveys that they acknowledge the romance element that existed, but accept it cannot be replicated or recaptured again. The best they can hope for is friendship.
At the start of the book EVS also tells Biggles to be grateful to Marie for making him a successful agent who was never fooled by women. And in Fails to Return Biggles admires Princess Marietta muchly but leaves it at that.
:P "In my end is my beginning... " (T. S. Eliot)

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Fairblue » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:59 am

I found this on Wikipedia, but the actual source isn’t known, but it shows a side to Biggles someone thought he had.

In the Biggles stories, female characters appear infrequently. Despite brief affairs, Biggles and his chums remain steadfastly single. Biggles suffers a disappointment in the First World War, when he falls in love with German spy Marie Janis in the short story Affaire de Coeur set in 1918. Rather than being considered asexual or a repressed homosexual, Biggles' relationship with Janis suggests he is a romantic hero, "tragically loyal to the only woman he ever really loved".

In Looks Back Biggles told Von Stahlein:

“You said we all have hearts. Mine has been in cold store since the night a dream exploded in a cloud of lies. You’ve just opened the refrigerator door. Memories trickle out. Shut it. We’ve been talking of another world.”

So make of that what you will.
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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Kismet » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:48 pm

Sometime ago, as some of you might remember, I read all the real life novels mentioned in the Biggles books: Three Weeks, Sabatini etc.

They were romances, pure and simple. Man meets girl. Man goes through hell because of girl. Girl misunderstands and disappears, leaving our hero to suffer a bit more. Happy ending page 300 after an awful lot of heart searching and emoting. Biggles remaining steadfastly loyal to Marie is entirely within this genre of writing, popular at the time WEJ was young. The hero remains loyal, no matter what, as his heart tells him that it is all a mistake and everything will come right in the end.

The interesting WEJ twist on this genre, is that it doesn't come quite right at the end for Biggles. He doesn't want to get married when he collects the girl who has been yearning for him ever since they separated. He only wants to pop down to see her for the odd weekend and there is even the possibility that he is hoping Erich might benefit and get the girl. (I have an active imagination).
'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 and women

Post by Tracer » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:22 pm

But the original Marie business was intended to warn young servicemen about honey traps, wasn't it? Biggles and his chums were often vectors for propaganda.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns

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Re: Biggles and women

Post by Kismet » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:49 pm

Tracer wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:22 pm
But the original Marie business was intended to warn young servicemen about honey traps, wasn't it? Biggles and his chums were often vectors for propaganda.

I think WEJ's original intent and his intent after re-visiting the story were very different. I do wonder, given that writing about women in the Biggles books was so unpopular with the bulk of his readership, why he wanted to write Looks Back so much?

The 'propaganda' that amuses me the most in the books, is the time Algy stays behind to visit his dentist to encourage others to do so!
'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 and women

Post by Frecks » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:11 am

I think WEJ liked the idea of a love triangle between Biggles, Marie and EVS. It is actually a very good book and certainly something different. WEJ also liked to show how Biggles and EVS could be seen as friends in their later years.

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