BIGGLES PIONEER AIR FIGHTER
First Published in November 1954* - 216 pages
*My thanks go to Australian collectors Gary Krohn and Kim Miles for their research and this information
The first edition has either red or blue boards (it appears both coloured boards were issued in November 1954) a colour frontispiece and says “Kingston Library” on the spine.
The book title is in gilt. Internally, the book lists six W. E. Johns’ titles and then book titles from “Son of Black Beauty” to “The Little Countess”. See pictures below.
The dust wrapper has “Kingston Library” and “The Thames Publishing Co. London” on the spine
This contains thirteen short stories, eleven of which were originally published in THE CAMELS ARE COMING (1932)
and two of which (The Thought Reader and Biggles Finds His Feet) were originally published in BIGGLES OF THE CAMEL SQUADRON (1934).
(And by clicking on those original books titles you will find full and detailed descriptions of these stories and their origins)
The stories are:-
ABOUT PIONEER AIR COMBAT (a short essay by W. E. Johns)
HOW BIGGLES WAS "BORN" (a short essay by W. E. Johns)
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THIS BOOK
Biggles' propeller kills a carrier pigeon but Biggles finds the message and goes to rescue a spy.
SPADS AND SPANDAUS
Biggles and his squadron join up with some Americans for a major air battle with the Germans.
THE ZONE CALL
A captured German pilot tricks Biggles, but he realises in time to foil a German attack.
When Biggles loses one of his pilots to a German trick he goes all out to get the plane responsible.
Biggles first meets a new pilot who happens to be his cousin and whose Christian name is Algernon.
THE BATTLE OF FLOWERS
Algy takes revenge when a German raid on the Squadron's aerodrome destroys his garden.
Biggles discovers a German plane receiving secret signals from a spy using corn in a field.
BIGGLES FINDS HIS FEET
Engine trouble forces Biggles down in 'no-man's-land' where he has a taste of trench warfare.
Biggles attacks a heavily defended new German bomber and has to devise a way to shoot it down.
Biggles is forced to take leave but manages to shoot down 2 German seaplanes that bomb the UK.
Biggles gets lost in fog and is shocked to discover he has landed by a German gas supply dump.
AFFAIRE DE COEUR
Biggles meets the love of his life, Marie Janis, only to discover that she is a spy.
THE LAST SHOW
Biggles gets promoted to Major and is shot down only to discover the armistice has been signed.
With the exception of the frontispiece, there are no story illustrations in this book.
The dust cover of the book shows Biggles sitting in the cockpit of his plane holding binoculars.
Biggles Pioneer Air Fighter
Publication Details - published by the Thames Publishing Co.
Click on the above to see it in more detail
The book list in the first edition looks like this – only listing books to “The Little Countess”
The spine of the first edition has the titles in gilt
The date of the first edition – hidden under the front pastedown (in reverse) – using “rubbing alcohol” (and a mirror) you can just make out the “Printed November 1954”
and finally here is link to a hand written letter by W. E. Johns himself from November 1954 talking about the up and coming publication of this book!