AND OTHER UNCOLLECTED STORIES
First published in paperback by Norman Wright in 2001 - 187 pages
INTRODUCTION (a short passage about W. E. Johns as a short story writer by Norman Wright)
INTRODUCTION TO THE STORIES (a guide to where the 15 stories were originally published)
FORTUNE OF WAR
This is the true story of what happened to W. E. Johns the night before he was shot down in France on 16th September 1918 and how he met a beautiful French girl called Marcelle. Marcelle was to become the inspiration for the character of Marie Janis, the love of Biggles' life in the Biggles stories.
This story was originally published in “The National Graphic” on 14th July 1932 (issue number 3265) and was then later republished in “Popular Flying” in October 1936
A FLYING START
Mary and Rex Laken go on a flying honeymoon and argue on the way. As a result, Mary goes out and attempts to climb the Seshalhorn Mountain on her own. When Mary gets into difficulties on a narrow ledge, Rex has to use their aeroplane to save her.
This story was originally published in “Popular Flying” in November 1932
COFFEE FOR TWO
Almer Waine joins a gentleman's club and gets chatting to a man about indiscretion and divorce. The man tells Almer his views about the best way to conduct a secret affair. When the man's lover drives past and signals to him, Almer Waine informs the man that the woman concerned is his wife.
This story was originally published in the “Daily Express” on 4th January 1934
This story, written in the first person, concerns a man who has broken down in a remote area south of Grenoble. Going to a lonely house, he meets a man called Edward Frayle. Frayle tells our hero the story of a certain Lady Morella Wyntersen and the fate of her previous husbands. The story is of particular interest to our hero.
This story was originally published in the “Daily Express” on 17th February 1934 – Click here to see part of that original publication
This story was later rewritten by W. E. Johns and published in 'Short Sorties' in 1950 as 'Intercepted' with a flying angle added.
WHEN THREE HAD FAILED
Ellison Westerley has sent three agents on a secret mission and all have failed to return. Roger Livvock, who was the father of the last agent to go, is an old friend and colleague of Westerley's and he asks for a chance to go on the mission. This he does but I have to confess that I don't understand the enigmatic ending of the story! If anybody does, please e-mail me and explain it!
This story was originally published in the “Pearson’s Weekly” on 5th January 1935
THE STORY TELLER
An American sits in the clubroom of a flying club and tells the story of his escapades with his old friend, Dick Sylvester, known as 'Pug'. The story is one of impossible and unbelievable heroics. What the American doesn't know, is who is in his audience.
Dick Wilde Junior makes his way through the Australian backwoods and comes across an aeroplane that has landed and been hidden in the forest. Dick takes the opportunity of sheltering in the cabin of the plane and he is awoken the following morning by the sound of conversation. Dick is astonished to hear two people discussing how they murdered an old man who has struck gold in the locality. Dick puts sugar in their petrol tank to ensure the men are unable to fly away from justice. When the men do take off, their plane is forced to land and it is easy for the police to arrest them. Dick has a particular interest in bringing the men to justice. The man they murdered was his father.
This story was originally published in the “The New Book of the Air” in 1935
In the pilots' room of an airport, after hours, the pilots exchange stories. The narrator tells the story of the time his was asked to bring some strange freight into the country and not land at a customs airport. His passenger had been attacked by a leopard in Africa and wanted to bring back the dogs that had saved his life. When the narrator has finished his tale he has a big surprise coming.
This is a true story from when W. E. Johns was a First World War bomber pilot. When his usual gunner is out of action, Johns has to take a raw recruit up, who shows a distinct lack of moral fibre. Johns gives the lad a chance to redeem himself but the lad fails. However, the tale has an unexpected and astonishing end that proves that the truth really can be stranger than fiction.
This story was originally published in “Popular Flying” in November 1936
WORRALS TAKES A HAND
Worrals investigates the disappearance of her friend Frecks. Worrals flies to Najula in East Africa and meets a man named Batson from Equatorial Airways. Frecks had previously flown out in her own plane to work for the company as they were advertising for pilots with their own planes. Batson has lost four pilots in three months shipping gold for the Nova Mining Corporation at Situri. Worrals agrees to fly for the company and flies out to Situri. Meeting a man called Lane, he insists on flying back with Worrals and two of his companions. One of them, Tyson, pulls a gun on Worrals in mid-air and forces her to land in the Maratovo Reserve. This is a diamond-bearing region owned by the Government, where nobody is allowed. Landing, Worrals finds that a local native, called Sam, is holding Frecks and two of the other pilots prisoner. Worrals puts water in the fuel tank of her plane to stop the villains escaping because Tyson is actually a pilot, even though he has a drink problem. Lane is going to shoot Worrals but a detachment of the African Rifles arrives and arrests the bad guys. Worrals had made arrangements in advance, before agreeing to fly for the company, and had arranged a signalling system to give her position.
This story was originally published in “The Children’s Gift Book” in 1946
A MATTER OF OBSERVATION
Cedric Lockwood and his sister Mary like to do a spot of bird watching on the remote Norfolk foreshore. They are suspicious of the regular landing of an aircraft by a remote abandoned windmill. Informing the local police, they are able to break a perfume smuggling racket.
This story was originally published in “The Children’s Wonder Book in Colour” in 1947
WORRALS WORKS IT OUT
Worrals is asked by Air Commodore Raymond to investigate the finding of a valuable diamond in a bird's nest. It was found by a schoolgirl called Alice Bates who takes Worrals and Frecks to the relevant location. Finding a miniature home made parachute in a tree, Worrals guesses that jewels have been dropped from an aircraft to evade customs. Two men arrive and commence a search, obviously looking for the jewels. It is a simple matter to have them arrested. This story was rewritten by W. E. Johns and published in 'Stirring Stories for Girls' in 1960 as 'Pearls and Primroses' with the two lead characters becoming police officer Margaret Robertson and her assistant Jill Peters - see the last story in this collection. Biggles fans will also recognise the same story, rewritten again and published in 'Biggles Flies to Work' in 1963 as 'The Case of the Early Boy'.
THE DINGO TRAIL
Alexander MacKail and his Aboriginal friend, Joe are out hunting dingoes when they find a dingo that has been killed by a strange piece of metal which has fallen off an aircraft. Their enquiries lead them to a company called Warcraft Disposals. This company is smuggling the metal by concealing it in the struts of aircraft. Alexander suspects the lead like metal is in fact, painted gold, but the truth is something much more sinister.
This story was originally published in “The Children’s Wonder Book in Colour No. 2” in 1948
Havaldar Tulsi Ram is a Hindu who once served in the British Army, in the Shikaris. When he is captured by Pakistan troops and threatened with execution, he has cause to be grateful to the fact that he always carries his old Army badge with him and the fact that Muslim soldiers also served in the Shikaris.
This story was originally published in “The Strand” in January 1950
PEARLS AND PRIMROSES
Police Officer Margaret Robertson and her assistant, Policewoman Jill Peters, go to investigate the story of a young girl called Prudence Grey. Prudence has been chased by a man in a local wood after finding a string of pearls. Investigating in the wood, a small home made parachute is found, as well as other jewellery that has been dropped from a plane. Prudence spots the man who chased her. He is present with another man and they are searching for something. After being shown the parachute and accepting they are looking for it, the men are arrested. As set out above, although this story was published in 'Stirring Stories for Girls' as 1960 as 'Pearls and Primroses', the original version was 'Worrals Works it Out' published in the Children's Gift Book in 1946. Biggles fans will also recognise the same story, rewritten again and published in 'Biggles Flies to Work' in 1963 as 'The Case of the Early Boy'.
This story was originally published in “Stirring Stories for Girls” in 1960
Winged Justice and other uncollected Stories
Subtitle - none
Publication Details - originally published by Norman Wright