BIGGLES GOES TO SCHOOL
Book First Published on 7th June 1951* - 193 pages
* This information is taken from a letter from A. P. Watt & Son to W. E. Johns in my collection
This story was first published, in six monthly parts, as BIGGLES AT SCHOOL in the Boy’s Own Paper Volume 73, issues 1 to 6, dated October 1950 to March 1951
The first edition dust jacket showing the original price of 6 shillings
The second edition dust jacket showing the original price of 7/6 shillings. Note there are three additional Biggles book titles on the rear flap and how the word ‘Biggles’ differs on the front flap
Click on any chapter for a summary of the events in that chapter or see the general story summary below
This book chronicles Biggles as a schoolboy (dust cover) at Malton Hall School near the town of Hertbury. The headmaster is Colonel Horace Chase and he remembers Biggles' brother, Charles, who previously attended the same school. (A footnote tells us that Major Charles Bigglesworth, D.S.O., M.C., was later killed in action in September 1918). Biggles immediately falls foul of the school bully, called Hervey and his sidekick Brickwell. He has various adventures, he recaptures an escaped dancing bear and on a mock army exercise, he captures the enemy's flag. After exposing a crook at the local fair and recovering a "stolen" diamond ring from a jackdaw's nest, Biggles and his best friend Smith (tertius) cause a local rumpus by making a fake treasure map for their own amusement. This sets all the locals off on what became known as the Hertbury Treasure Hunt. Biggles' most dangerous adventure is sparked off when he goes trespassing in Foxley Wood to gather conkers and he sees Hervey and Brickwell poaching and selling the stolen game to a local butcher. When the whole school is confronted with the incident, Biggles is the only one to own up to being present in the Wood but he refuses to name the two guilty boys. Things start to get out of hand when a ruthless poacher named Michael Dunnage kills the gamekeeper. Biggles is a witness having been given permission to help the gamekeeper in Foxley Wood. The police don't believe Biggles and he has to use his wits and cunning to find the evidence to bring Dunnage to justice. However, Dunnage avoids capture and Biggles is then in fear for his life because of what he knows. Eventually, Dunnage is captured by the police and hanged.
Biggles Goes to School
Subtitle - The Story of Biggles' early life and school days
Publication Details - published by Hodder & Stoughton
Click on the above to see it in more detail – Note it says on the title page “With Illustrations by Stead” then see below …
Proof Copy – Note that this book was originally going to be “Illustrated by Nicolson”. The letter dated 1st June 1950 below sheds some further light on this ….
There WAS a plan for “Nicolson” (his first name is unknown to me) to illustrate BIGGLES GOES TO SCHOOL to make it different – but for some reason it never happened.
I imagine W. E. Johns overruled it. He was a great supporter of STEAD illustrating all his books, even though it did cause some production and publication delays.