BIGGLES LEARNS TO FLY

“A Thrilling Story of War in the Air”

by Flying Officer W. E. Johns

First Published in PAPERBACK in the Boys' Friend Library Issue No. 469 - dated 7th March 1935 (and actually printed on Thursday 7th March 1935)

 – 96 pages (plus the four pages created by the front and rear covers) - The Biggles story runs from Pages 1 to 95.  Book measures 7 inches by 5.5 inches.

FOR DETAILED PHOTOGRAPHS OF THIS ULTRA RARE BOOK CLICK HERE

 

I AM INTERESTED IN BUYING A FIRST EDITION OF THIS BOOK (I.E. THE BOYS’ FRIEND LIBRARY VERSION) SO IF YOU HAVE ONE PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT

rogerharris@biggles.info 

 

First published in hardback by Brockhampton Press in 1955 - 192 pages

Inside this Brockhampton Press edition it stated “Biggles Learns to Fly was first published in 1935.  It has not been available in any form since that year, and has been personally revised by Captain W. E. Johns for re-issue in this edition”.

 

Subsequently republished by Norman Wright in 2010 (with copies of the original illustrations from "The Modern Boy") in a corrected full edition - 203 pages

( NB - The Norman Wright edition corrected all of the errors of both previous books!)

 

Originally published as BIGGLES LEARNS TO FLY in 1935 with 12 stories from “The Modern Boy” magazine set out in 24 chapters.

Subsequently republished in an amended hardback form in 1955 by Brockhampton Press.  This 1955 “revised” version only contained 16 chapters.

One of the stories from the original publication, “Spy in the Sky”, was left out of the 1955 edition as it had already been reprinted in BIGGLES OF 266 (also published in 1955)

This missing story was restored in the Norman Wright version of the book published in 2010.

When first published, one of the original stories, called "Knights of the Sky" was moved from its original place in the storyline until the end of the book.

The problem with this was that it was a story set at 169 Squadron before Biggles moved to 266 Squadron later in the book.

To deal with this problem, the editor substantially re-wrote the story and changed the characters to make it seem like a 266 Squadron story(!)

When Brockhampton Press republished the book in 1955 they kept this incorrectly edited version rather than W. E. Johns' real version.

This was all corrected in the Norman Wright version of the book published in 2010.

 

CHAPTER GUIDE TO THE 1935 ORIGINAL FIRST EDITION  PAPERBACK

 

CHAPTER 1 - FIRST TIME UP!  (Pages 1 – 6)

Biggles is taken up by an instructor who gives him his first ever flight in an aeroplane.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles Learns to Fly" originally first published in issue number 323 of "The Modern Boy" dated 14th April 1934

 

BIGGLES EXPLAINS  (Page 3)

(This is not a chapter – page 3 contains a glossary, that is, a separate guide to the terminology used in the book)

 

CHAPTER 2 - LANDED - BUT LOST!  (Pages 6 – 11)

Biggles first solo flight results in him getting hopelessly lost. After 15 hours he gets his 'wings'.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles Learns to Fly" originally first published in issue number 323 of "The Modern Boy" dated 14th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 3 - THE BOAT FOR FRANCE  (Pages 11 – 17)

Sent to France to serve in 169 squadron, Biggles meets Mahoney of 266 on the boat over.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' First Flight" originally first published in issue number 324 of "The Modern Boy" dated 21st April 1934

 

CHAPTER 4 – BATTLE  (Pages 17 – 19)

Biggles faces Arial combat for the first time, with his experienced gunner, Mark Way.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' First Flight" originally first published in issue number 324 of "The Modern Boy" dated 21st April 1934

 

CHAPTER 5 - PLOTS AND PLANS  (Pages 19 – 24)

After a week's experience, Biggles and Mark go on an important recognisance mission.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles the Scout" originally first published in issue number 325 of "The Modern Boy" dated 28th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 6 - LATE FOR DINNER  (Pages 24 – 28)

Returning from the above mission, Biggles and Mark have to ditch in the sea.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles the Scout" originally first published in issue number 325 of "The Modern Boy" dated 28th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 7 - THE LOST AIRMAN!  (Pages 28 – 32)

Biggles suspects that a visiting French pilot is in fact a spy and takes action to stop him.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Spy in the Sky" originally first published in issue number 326 of "The Modern Boy" dated 5th May 1934

NB - This story was NOT in the 1955 Brockhampton Press revised hardback edition.

This story appeared instead in “BIGGLES OF 266” in November 1955 as a story entitled “THE PILOT WHO LOST HIS WAY”

 

CHAPTER 8 - SNOW AND BULLETS  (Pages 32 – 36)

Biggles and the visiting French pilot find themselves together in the same aeroplane.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Spy in the Sky" originally first published in issue number 326 of "The Modern Boy" dated 5th May 1934

NB - This story was NOT in the 1955 Brockhampton Press revised hardback edition.

This story appeared instead in “BIGGLES OF 266” in November 1955 as a story entitled “THE PILOT WHO LOST HIS WAY”

 

CHAPTER 9 - A DARING STUNT  (Pages 36 – 41)

Biggles and Mark take part in a night time attack on a German aerodrome.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Crashed Flyers" originally first published in issue number 327 of "The Modern Boy" dated 12th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 10 - A LINE OF BAYONETS!  (Pages 41 – 44)

Biggles is again shot down. He and Mark escape from No Man's Land.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Crashed Flyers" originally first published in issue number 327 of "The Modern Boy" dated 12th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 11 - BIGGLES’ SPECIAL MISSION  (Pages 44 – 49)

Major Raymond sends Biggles on a special mission, to deliver and collect a spy.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "The Laughing Spy" originally first published in issue number 329 of "The Modern Boy" dated 26th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 12 – THE DECOY  (Pages 49 – 52)

Having carried out the delivery of the spy, Biggles now has to go and collect him.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "The Laughing Spy" originally first published in issue number 329 of "The Modern Boy" dated 26th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 13 - EYES OF THE GUNS  (Pages 52 – 56)

Biggles does artillery observation for ground guns and is attacked by a silver and red German aeroplane.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Bullseye" originally first published in issue number 330 of "The Modern Boy" dated 2nd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 14 – NECK OR NOTHING!  (Pages 56 – 61)

Frustration by the lack of success of the artillery, Biggles bombs the target and Major Mullen tells him to go and photograph the result.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Bullseye" originally first published in issue number 330 of "The Modern Boy" dated 2nd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 15 – A PERFORATED WRECK  (Pages 61 – 65)

Mark is unable to go with Biggles on the photographic mission due to injury, so Biggles takes a new man called Harris, but their camera is damaged in a dog fight.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles Buys the Sky" originally first published in issue number 331 of "The Modern Boy" dated 9th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 16 - THE BLACK-CROSSED ENEMY  (Pages 65 – 68)

This time flying a new Bristol Fighter, Biggles and Harris return to carry out the photographic mission again, but tragedy awaits.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles Buys the Sky" originally first published in issue number 331 of "The Modern Boy" dated 9th June 1934

 

CHAPTER  17 – READY FOR THE 'SHOW'!  (Pages 68 – 72)

Biggles and his squadron lend major support to a large ground attack over a number of days.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Big Battle" originally first published in issue number 332 of "The Modern Boy" dated 16th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 18 – “SHARE THIS AMONGST YOU!”  (Pages 72 – 75)

When Phosphorus flares set their plane on fire, Biggles and Mark crash again.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Big Battle" originally first published in issue number 332 of "The Modern Boy" dated 16th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 19 - THE PUP'S FIRST FLIGHT  (Pages 76 – 79)

Biggles transfers to 266 Squadron and flies a Sopwith Pup. He captures a German Rumpler.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Surprise Packet" originally first published in issue number 333 of "The Modern Boy" dated 23rd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 20 - CAUGHT NAPPING  (Pages 79 – 83)

Biggles plans a major attack on a German 'circus'.  Seven German Triplanes are destroyed.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Surprise Packet" originally first published in issue number 333 of "The Modern Boy" dated 23rd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 21 - THE YELLOW HUN  (Pages 83 – 86)

Now equipped with Sopwith Camels, Biggles seeks to avenge his old friend, Mark Way.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Revenge" originally first published in issue number 334 of "The Modern Boy" dated 30th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 22 - “I GOT HIM!”  (Pages 86 – 89)

Biggles shoots down a dark blue Hun and Mahoney shoots down the yellow Hun they all seek, but a surprise is in store.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Revenge" originally first published in issue number 334 of "The Modern Boy" dated 30th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 23 - THE DAWN PATROL  (Pages 89 – 94)

Biggles takes part in a dawn patrol led by Mahoney and gets into the “hottest dogfight” of his career so far.

This chapter was a substantially altered version of a story called "Knights of the Sky" originally first published in issue number 328 of "The Modern Boy" dated 19th May 1934

NB - This story was taken out of order and moved to the end of the original 1935 book.  It had to be substantially re-written to be made into a 266 Squadron story.

 

CHAPTER 24 - THE STRANDED PUP  (Pages 94 – 95)

Biggles lands and rescues Mahoney after he has a forced landing and on their return, Major Mullen sends Biggles on leave.

This chapter was a substantially altered version of a story called "Knights of the Sky" originally first published in issue number 328 of "The Modern Boy" dated 19th May 1934

NB - This story was taken out of order and moved to the end of the original 1935 book.  It had to be substantially re-written to be made into a 266 Squadron story.

 

HUNTING FOR GOOD GATES  (Pages 96 and back cover)

(Not ‘Biggles’ related in any way.  A brief chapter about how Football Clubs are struggling to survive)

 

 

 

CHAPTER GUIDE TO THE 1955 BROCKHAMPTON PRESS HARDBACK REPRINT

 

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE (a short essay by W. E. Johns containing explanatory notes)  (Pages 9 – 11)

 

 CHAPTER 1 - FIRST TIME UP!  (Pages 13 – 21)

Biggles is taken up by an instructor who gives him his first ever flight in an aeroplane.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles Learns to Fly" originally first published in issue number 323 of "The Modern Boy" dated 14th April 1934

 

CHAPTER  2 - LANDED - BUT LOST  (Pages 22 – 31)

Biggles' first solo flight results in him getting hopelessly lost. After 15 hours he gets his 'wings'.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles Learns to Fly" originally first published in issue number 323 of "The Modern Boy" dated 14th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 3 - THE BOAT FOR FRANCE  (Pages 32 – 44)

Sent to France to serve in 169 squadron, Biggles meets Mahoney of 266 on the boat over.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' First Flight" originally first published in issue number 324 of "The Modern Boy" dated 21st April 1934

 

CHAPTER 4 - BATTLE  (Pages 45 – 50)

Biggles faces Arial combat for the first time, with his experienced gunner, Mark Way.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' First Flight" originally first published in issue number 324 of "The Modern Boy" dated 21st April 1934

 

CHAPTER 5 - PLOTS AND PLANS  (Pages 51 – 60)

After a week's experience, Biggles and Mark go on an important recognisance mission.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles the Scout" originally first published in issue number 325 of "The Modern Boy" dated 28th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 6 - LATE FOR DINNER  (Pages 61 – 67)

Returning from the above mission, Biggles and Mark have to ditch in the sea.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles the Scout" originally first published in issue number 325 of "The Modern Boy" dated 28th April 1934

 

CHAPTER 7 - A DARING STUNT  (Pages 68 – 85)

Attacking an aerodrome, Biggles is again shot down. He and Mark escape from No Man's Land.

This story was called "Crashed Flyers" and originally first published in issue number 327 of "The Modern Boy" dated 12th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 8 - SPECIAL MISSION  (Pages 86 – 101)

Major Raymond sends Biggles on a special mission, to deliver and collect a spy.

This story was called "The Laughing Spy" and originally first published in issue number 329 of "The Modern Boy" dated 26th May 1934

 

CHAPTER 9 - EYES OF THE GUNS  (Pages 102 – 120)

Biggles does artillery observation for ground guns. When they can't hit the target, he bombs it.

This story was called "Biggles' Bullseye" and originally first published in issue number 330 of "The Modern Boy" dated 2nd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 10 - THE CAMERA  (Pages 121 – 135)

A Bristol Fighter replaces Biggles' F. E. aeroplane. His temporary gunner, Harris, is killed.

This story was called "Biggles Buys the Sky" and originally first published in issue number 331 of "The Modern Boy" dated 9th June 1934

NB - This story is NOT to be confused with the story "The Camera" in Biggles of 266

 

CHAPTER 11 - THE 'SHOW'  (Pages 136 – 143)

Biggles and his squadron lend major support to a large ground attack over a number of days.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Big Battle" originally first published in issue number 332 of "The Modern Boy" dated 16th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 12 - DIRTY WORK  (Pages 144 – 151)

When Phosphorus flares set their plane on fire, Biggles and Mark crash again.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Big Battle" originally first published in issue number 332 of "The Modern Boy" dated 16th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 13 - THE PUP'S FIRST FLIGHT  (Pages 152 – 160)

Biggles transfers to 266 Squadron and flies a Sopwith Pup. He captures a German Rumpler.

This chapter was the first part of a story called "Biggles' Surprise Packet" originally first published in issue number 333 of "The Modern Boy" dated 23rd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 14 - CAUGHT NAPPING  (Pages 161 – 168)

Biggles plans a major attack on a German 'circus'. Seven German Triplanes are destroyed.

This chapter was the second part of a story called "Biggles' Surprise Packet" originally first published in issue number 333 of "The Modern Boy" dated 23rd June 1934

 

CHAPTER 15 - THE YELLOW HUN  (Pages 169 – 181)

Now equipped with Sopwith Camels, Biggles seeks to avenge his old friend, Mark Way.

This story was called "Biggles' Revenge" and originally first published in issue number 334 of "The Modern Boy" dated 30th June 1934

 

CHAPTER 16 - THE DAWN PATROL  (Pages 182 – 192)

Biggles lands and rescues Mahoney after he is shot down.

This chapter was a substantially altered version of a story called "Knights of the Sky" originally first published in issue number 328 of "The Modern Boy" dated 19th May 1934

NB - This substantially re-written story remained at the end of the 1955 Brockhampton Press revised hardback edition (as it had in the first paperback edition).

 

Biggles Learns to Fly

Click on any picture to enlarge it

 

Biggles Learns to Fly 1 

Publication Details - originally published by the Boys Friend Library - No. 469 (dated 7th March 1935)

 

 

Biggles Learns to Fly 2

The cover of the 1955 Brockhampton Press “revised” edition

 

 

The frontispiece of the 1955 Brockhampton Press “revised” edition

 

 

Biggles Learns to Fly 3

The cover of the Norman Wright 2010 edition

 

 

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