BIGGLES DEFIES THE SWASTIKA
Book First Published in August 1941 - 249 pages
The story was first published in seven monthly parts, as BIGGLES FLIES ALONE, in two different magazines
Parts one to five were published monthly from September 1940 until January 1941 and then parts six and seven were published in March and April 1941.
(Nothing was published in February 1941 as the Air Defence Cadet Corps Gazette was being re-organised into the Air Training Corps Gazette)
Biggles is on a mission to Norway, posing as a Norwegian citizen called Sven Hendrik, to chart useful landing sites for British Air Intelligence when the Germans invade. The speed of the invasion leaves Biggles trapped in the country but with his passable Norwegian and his fluent German he is able to pass off as a German sympathiser. Returning to the air club at Boda that he was using as his base, Biggles finds that the Germans have now taken it over. Due to bluff and circumstance, Biggles is admitted into the German Air Force with the rank of "Leutnant". Biggles manages to escape by motorcycle to Sweden where via the British Consul he is able to speak to Colonel Raymond of Air Intelligence. Raymond asks him to return to Norway to use his position to spy for Air Intelligence. Biggles reluctantly agrees, on condition Algy and Ginger are sent over to work as his back up team. Returning to his air base, Biggles is cross-examined by Oberleutnant Ernst von Hymann of the Gestapo. Explaining that he once worked in Canada for Arctic Airways (see Biggles Flies North), Biggles (still posing as Hendrik) is asked if he knows a former pilot of theirs called "Bigglesworth". When he says that he does, Biggles is told that "Bigglesworth" has been spotted in Oslo by a German agent called Brandt, who knows him and Biggles is then enrolled into the Gestapo and sent to find and identify "Bigglesworth". He is given a Gestapo pass and allocated the number 2001. Biggles is now in a bizarre and difficult situation with orders to find himself! Returning to Oslo, Biggles makes enquiries and discovers that his old enemy Erich von Stalhein has now flown to Norway to join the hunt for him and they are already starting to get suspicious about a certain Norwegian called Sven Hendrik. Biggles reports to Gestapo HQ by telephone and says that he is following Bigglesworth to Narvik. On the way, he meets some stranded British sailors and taking them into his confidence, he gets them to say, when they are captured, that a man called Bigglesworth had been with them and had escaped. Interviewing other British prisoners at Narvik, under his Gestapo agent disguise, Biggles is shocked to find Algy one of them. British destroyers attack Narvik and Biggles uses the opportunity not only to get important information to the ships but also to help Algy and the other prisoners escape. Biggles is then given a lift by a German pilot called Schaffer back to his aerodrome at Boda. Biggles again reports to von Hymann by telephone and is told that von Stalhein needs to speak to him urgently about Bigglesworth. Obviously, this is something that Biggles must avoid at all costs as von Stalhein would recognise him straight away! Biggles is contacted by Raymond via a spy and sent on a mission to Stavanger Airport to find out details of its defences and take the information to Fiord 21. This he does, where he finds Ginger waiting for him. Biggles is all ready to leave Norway as things are too hot for him but Ginger says that Algy has gone back to Boda to try to find him. Biggles knows he has to return to Boda. Returning to Boda, things are even more dangerous for Biggles because suspicion is mounting rapidly. Biggles is forced to speak to von Stalhein by telephone and he tries to disguise his voice. Convinced that von Stalhein will not be fooled, Biggles has to get away but only after locating Algy. Succeeding in this, both Biggles and Algy get back to Fiord 21 only to find a fleet of German Dornier flying-boats have now taken over and Ginger has gone! Ginger attempts to return and rescue both of them but things go wrong. Algy is taken prisoner whilst Biggles resumes his Gestapo identity. Biggles learns vital information that the British North Sea Fleet is about to sail into a trap. Biggles then bumps into Schaffer who is by now highly suspicious of Biggles and his activities but scared to arrest him because he is a Gestapo agent. Schaffer offers to fly Biggles back to Oslo and Biggles accepts and then hi-jacks the plane. Flying the German machine, Biggles is then attacked by Ginger but Ginger is shot down by some Messerschmitts. Biggles rescues Ginger from the water and gives him the vital information to take to the British fleet. Ginger then drops Biggles off to attempt to rescue Algy. Biggles tries to rescue Algy but walks straight into a trap set by von Stalhein. Fate has seen Ginger captured as well, but not before he delivered the vital message, so now von Stalhein has all three of them. Ginger arrives with an escort but Biggles and Algy are able to overpower the escort and leave in their place. Grabbing a Dornier they are at last able to return to England and safety.
Biggles Defies the Swastika
Publication Details - published by Oxford University Press
The spine and cover illustrations from the original Oxford first edition
The genuine unclipped first edition dust wrapper
Click on the above to see it in more detail