THE TWO BOOKS W.E. JOHNS SIGNED “FOR NICHOLAS”
The two books below were signed for Nicholas, the great nephew of a friend and neighbour of W. E. Johns,
when he lived at Park House, Hampton Court, Kingston-upon-Thames.
Nicholas sold them to well respected book shop “Jonkers Rare Books” in Henley-on-Thames.
I subsequently bought them both.
They are signed copies of “Biggles and the Penitent Thief” and “Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea”.
When the Biggles books were published, Johns was usually sent six copies.
I can establish that fact with the opening paragraph of this letter to W. E. Johns from Peter Watt dated 5th December 1947
Examples of multiple copies of his Biggles books can also be seen on Johns’ book shelf in this photograph here:-
Bill Johns is holding this open at page 85 – click on the photo for more info
I like to imagine that when Johns’ neighbour mentioned his great nephew’s birthday or maybe asked about the possibility of a signed book,
Bill Johns went into his house to get two different copies of his books – the previous two books of his to be published – and signed them there and then.
Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea was only published in February 1968, so this must have been signed in the last four months of Johns’ life as he died on 21st June 1968. Signed copies of Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea are effectively unheard of. I certainly know of no other.
This must have been one of the last books W. E. Johns actually signed and I like to believe it is from his own personal collection.
BIGGLES AND THE PENITENT THIEF
BIGGLES AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA