BIGGLES – AIR ACE
by Captain W. E. Johns
First published, as a paperback in May 1999, then as a hardback, in April 2008
(Page references are for the paperback first edition, followed by the hardback second).
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: by Norman Wright (Page 11/Page 13)
INTRODUCTION – BIGGLES OF THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS
by Jennifer Schofield (Page 12/Page 15)
I. BIGGLES’ XMAS-BOX! (Pages 17 – 30/Pages 19 – 32)
This story was originally published in “Modern Boy” number 358 – dated 15.12.34
“Biggles was deep in thought as he picked his way through a thin layer of fine snow towards the officers’ mess …. Happy Christmas, everybody!” he announced. Biggles says he is not flying today as it is Christmas and he is a “firm believer in the old motto Goodwill Towards Men – and all that sort of thing”. “But this Goodwill Towards Men stuff doesn’t include the enemy,” declared Mahoney. “Certainly it does. Even Germans, when we are at war with ‘em, are human beings. And Peace on Earth is the program for to-day”. MacLaren jokes that Biggles will be talking about sending the Germans a Christmas-box next. Biggles takes him seriously and decides to send them ten pounds of sausages. Biggles says he will land at a German aerodrome, dump the sausages over the side and then take off again. Biggles flies off, despite the weather, to carry out his self-imposed task and he sees, and is attacked by, a German Fokker D.VII on the way. Biggles tries to fire back but his guns jam. Pretending to spin down through the cloud Biggles recovers control and waits at the bottom of the cloud layer. The German plane comes down to see if Biggles has crashed and Biggles is able to approach within 20 feet of the unsuspecting German and throw his package of sausages at him. To his great surprise, Biggles not only hits the plane but sends it crashing down. The German pilot is unharmed when he hits a snowdrift. “Fancy having to admit you were shot down with a packet of dead pig” says Biggles. “Funny,” he thought to himself, as he flew on, keeping an alert eye on the skies in case any more enemy planes hove in sight. “I came out on a friendly mission, and it’s only by the biggest fluke imaginable that I haven’t lost my life or killed somebody else”. Back at his aerodrome, Mahoney finds it hard to believe that Biggles has “knocked a Hun down with a parcel of sausages”. Biggles decides to order a tender to go over and fetch the pilot. If he saved the sausages they could give them to him as a gesture of Goodwill.