List of works by W. E. Johns
|↙Publications in periodicals||57|
William Earl Johns (professionally known as W. E. Johns; 1893–1968) was an English writer and journalist. He wrote over 150 books and was, after Enid Blyton, "the most prolific and popular children's writer of his time". Most of Johns's work—102 books—consists of the stories of Biggles, a First World War pilot and, later, adventurer, detective and Second World War squadron leader. He also wrote science fiction stories, and two further series of war stories, featuring the characters Worrals of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and Gimlet, a British Commando.
Johns served in the army during the First World War.[a] In 1917 he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and saw action in Northern France. In September 1918 his aircraft was shot down and Johns, wounded, was captured by the Germans; he remained a prisoner until the end of the war, despite two attempts to escape. He remained with the RFC through its change into the Royal Air Force (RAF), and served with them until 1927.[b]
On leaving the RAF he became a journalist and illustrator. In 1932 he founded Popular Flying magazine and became its first editor. He used the magazine to publish his Biggles short stories. Johns described Biggles as "typical of the type of British airman I knew during the Great War. His chief characteristics are courage, loyalty and sportsmanship." He continued to publish his stories in periodicals and newspapers throughout his career. Six months after the first Biggles stories were published they were collected in book form in The Camels are Coming. During the Second World War, Johns worked for the Air Ministry; the ministry asked him to create a female character to boost recruitment into the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, which resulted in the publication of the Worrals stories and books. The character was successful and the War Office requested Johns introduce a soldier, which led to the introduction of Gimlet.
Johns also wrote eight non-fiction books, most of which related to flying and pilots, although a book on gardening and two children's books—The Modern Boys Book of Pirates and The Biggles Book of Treasure Hunting—were also published. In 1942 Johns also co-wrote two radio plays, which were broadcast on the BBC.
|Title||Year of first
|First edition publisher
|Wings: A Book of Flying Adventures||1931||J. Hamilton|
|The Modern Boy's Book of Aircraft||1931||Amalgamated Press|
|Thrilling Flights||1935||J. Hamilton|
|Title||Year of first
|First edition publisher
(London, unless otherwise stated)
|The Camels are Coming||1932||J. Hamilton||Biggles|
|Mossyface||1932||Mellifont||–||As William Earle|
|The Cruise of the Condor||1933||J. Hamilton||Biggles|
|The Spy Flyers||1933||J. Hamilton||–|
|Biggles of the Camel Squadron||1934||J. Hamilton||Biggles|
|Biggles Flies Again||1934||J. Hamilton||Biggles|
|Biggles Learns to Fly||1935||The Boys' Friend Library||Biggles|
|The Black Peril||1935||J. Hamilton||Biggles|
|Biggles Flies East||1935||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Hits the Trail||1935||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in France||1935||The Boys' Friend Library||Biggles|
|The Raid||1935||J. Hamilton||–|
|Biggles & Co||1936||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in Africa||1936||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Steeley Flies Again||1936||Newnes||Steeley|
|Blue Blood Runs Thin||1936||Newnes||–||As John Early|
|Biggles – Air Commodore||1937||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Flies West||1937||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Murder by Air||1937||Newnes||Steeley|
|Biggles Flies South||1938||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Goes to War||1938||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|The Murder at Castle Deeping||1938||J. Hamilton||Steeley|
|Desert Night||1938||J. Hamilton||–|
|Champion of the Main||1938||Oxford University Press||–|
|The Rescue Flight||1939||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in Spain||1939||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Flies North||1939||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Wings of Romance: A Steeley Adventure||1939||Newnes||Steeley|
|Det Forsvunne Bagboksblad (The Missing Page)||1939||Forlagshuset, Oslo, Norway||Steeley|
|Biggles – Secret Agent||1940||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in the Baltic||1940||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in the South Seas||1940||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|The Unknown Quantity||1940||J. Hamilton||–|
|Biggles Defies the Swastika||1941||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Sees It Through||1941||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Spitfire Parade||1941||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Worrals of the W.A.A.F.||1941||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|Biggles in the Jungle||1942||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Sweeps the Desert||1942||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Worrals Flies Again||1942||Hodder & Stoughton||Worrals|
|Worrals Carries On||1942||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|Sinister Service||1942||Oxford University Press||–|
|Biggles – Charter Pilot||1943||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles in Borneo||1943||Oxford University Press||Biggles|
|Biggles Fails to Return||1943||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Worrals on the War-Path||1943||Hodder & Stoughton||Worrals|
|King of the Commandos||1943||Hodder & Stoughton||"Gimlet" King|
|Gimlet Goes Again||1944||University of London Press||"Gimlet" King|
|Worrals Goes East||1944||Hodder & Stoughton||Worrals|
|Biggles in the Orient||1945||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Worrals of the Islands: A Story of the War in the Pacific||1945||Hodder & Stoughton||Worrals|
|Biggles Delivers the Goods||1946||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet Comes Home||1946||University of London Press||"Gimlet" King|
|Sergeant Bigglesworth CID||1947||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet Mops Up||1947||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Comrades in Arms||1947||Hodder & Stoughton||"Gimlet" King, Biggles, Worrals|
|Worrals in the Winds||1947||Hodder & Stoughton||Worrals|
|Biggles' Second Case||1948||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Hunts Big Game||1948||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Takes a Holiday||1948||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet's Oriental Quest||1948||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Worrals Down Under||1948||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|The Rustlers of Rattlesnake Valley||1948||Thomas Nelson||–|
|Biggles Breaks the Silence||1949||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet Lends a Hand||1949||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Worrals Goes Afoot||1949||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|Worrals in the Wastelands||1949||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|Biggles Gets His Men||1950||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet Bores In||1950||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Worrals Investigates||1950||Lutterworth Press, Lutterworth, Leics||Worrals|
|Doctor Vane Answers the Call||1950||Latimer House||–|
|Another Job for Biggles||1951||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Goes to School||1951||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Gimlet off the Map||1951||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Biggles Works It Out||1952||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Takes the Case||1952||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Follows On||1952||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles – Air Detective||1952||Marks & Spencer||Biggles|
|Gimlet Gets the Answer||1952||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Biggles and the Black Raider||1953||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles in the Blue||1953||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles in the Gobi||1953||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles of the Special Air Police||1953||Thames Publishing Co.||Biggles|
|Short Stories||1953||Latimer House||–|
|Sky Fever, and Other Stories||1953||Latimer House||–|
|Gimlet Takes a Job||1954||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||"Gimlet" King|
|Biggles Cuts It Fine||1954||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Pirate Treasure||1954||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Foreign Legionnaire||1954||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Pioneer Air Fighter||1954||Thames Publishing Co.||Biggles|
|Kings of Space: A Story of Interplanetary Exploration||1954||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Biggles in Australia||1955||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles' Chinese Puzzle||1955||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Return to Mars||1955||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Adventure Bound||1955||Thomas Nelson||–|
|Biggles of 266||1956||Thames Publishing Co.||Biggles|
|No Rest for Biggles||1956||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Now to the Stars||1956||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Biggles Takes Charge||1956||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Makes Ends Meet||1957||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles of the Interpol||1957||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles on the Home Front||1957||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|To Outer Space||1957||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Adventure Unlimited||1957||Thomas Nelson||–|
|Biggles Presses On||1958||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles on Mystery Island||1958||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Buries a Hatchet||1958||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|The Edge of Beyond||1958||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Takes Charge for Murder||1958||Hodder & Stoughton||–|
|Biggles in Mexico||1959||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles' Combined Operation||1959||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles at the World's End||1959||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|The Death Rays of Ardilla||1959||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|The Man Who Lost His Way||1959||Hodder & Stoughton||–|
|Biggles and the Leopards of Zinn||1960||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Goes Home||1960||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Poor Rich Boy||1960||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|To Worlds Unknown: A Story of Interplanetary Exploration||1960||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Adventures of the Junior Detection Club||1960||M. Parish||–|
|Where the Golden Eagle Soars||1960||Hodder & Stoughton||–|
|Biggles Forms a Syndicate||1961||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Missing Millionaire||1961||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|The Quest for the Perfect Planet||1961||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Biggles Goes Alone||1962||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Orchids for Biggles||1962||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Sets a Trap||1962||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Takes It Rough||1963||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Takes a Hand||1963||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles' Special Case||1963||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Plane That Disappeared||1963||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Flies to Work||1963||Dean & Son||Biggles|
|Worlds of Wonder||1963||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|The Man Who Vanished into Space||1963||Hodder & Stoughton||Science Fiction|
|Biggles and the Lost Sovereigns||1964||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Black Mask||1964||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles Investigates||1964||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Looks Back||1965||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Plot That Failed||1965||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Blue Moon||1965||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Scores a Bull||1965||Hodder & Stoughton||Biggles|
|Biggles in the Terai||1966||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Gun Runners||1966||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Sorts It Out||1967||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Dark Intruder||1967||Knight Books, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Penitent Thief||1967||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea||1967||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|The Boy Biggles||1968||Dean & Son||Biggles|
|Biggles in the Underworld||1968||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Little Green God||1969||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles and the Noble Lord||1969||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|No Surrender||1969||George G. Harrap and Co.||–||With R.A. Kelley|
|Biggles Sees Too Much||1970||Brockhampton Press, Leicester||Biggles|
|Biggles Does Some Homework||1997||Norman Wright, Watford||Biggles|
|Biggles Air Ace: The Uncollected Stories||1999||Norman Wright, Watford||Biggles|
Johns wrote a great number of short stories under his own name and the pseudonym William Earle; no complete list of these works exists. He was also a prolific contributor to articles, columns and news articles. He was the author of "The Passing Show" column for the My Garden magazine between 1937 and 1944 and a columnist for The Modern Boy, Pearson's Magazine, The Boy's Own Paper, The Girl's Own Paper and the ATC Gazette.
|"The White Fokker"||April 1932||Popular Flying|
|"The Packer"||May 1932||Popular Flying|
|"J-9982"||June 1932||Popular Flying|
|"The Balloonatics"||July 1932||Popular Flying|
|"The Blue Devil"||August 1932||Popular Flying|
|"The Boob"||September 1932||Popular Flying|
|"The Battle of Flowers"||October 1932||Popular Flying|
|"A Flying Start"||November 1932||Popular Flying|
|"Biggles and the White Fokker"||7 January 1933||The Modern Boy|
|Stories from The Camel is Coming||14 January – 15 April 1933||The Modern Boy|
|"The Professor"||January 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Joy-Ride"||February 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Bridge Party"||March 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Bottle Party"||April 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Trap"||May 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Gold Rush"||July 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Maid and the Mountains"||August 1933||Popular Flying|
|"The Blue Orchid"||September 1933||Popular Flying|
|"Fair Cargo"||October 1933||Popular Flying|
|Stories from The Camel is Coming||14 – 21 October 1933||The Modern Boy|
|"Beauty and the Beast"||November 1933||Popular Flying|
|"Bob's Box"||December 1933||Popular Flying|
|"Savages and Wings"||January 1934||Popular Flying|
|"Coffee for Two"||4 January 1934||The Daily Express|
|"The Oriental Touch"||February 1934||Popular Flying|
|"Encounter"||17 February 1934||The Daily Express|
|"Down in the Forest"||March 1934||Popular Flying|
|"Three Weeks"||April 1934||Popular Flying|
|"Biggles Learns to Fly"||April 1934||The Modern Boy|
|"The Sheikh and the Greek"||May 1934||Popular Flying|
|"Biggles' Xmas Box"||22 December 1934||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles' Christmas Tree"||22 December 1934||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles and the Joker"||2 February 1935||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles' Night Out"||31 August 1935||The Modern Boy|
|"Winged Justice"||1935||The New Book of the Air||As William Earle|
|"Biggles on the Spot"||1936||The Modern Boy's Book of Adventure Stories|
|"Biggles Takes the Bait"||1937||The Modern Boy's Annual|
|"Haunted Treasure"||26 June 1937||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles Goes to War"||February 1938||Boys' Friend Library|
|"Biggles on the Treasure Trail"||19 February 1938||The Modern Boy|
|"Wings Over Spain"||21 January 1939||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles' Fledgling"||7 June 1939||The Modern Boy|
|"Biggles' Second Case"||February – September 1946||The Boy's Own Paper|
|"Sausage and Mash"||March 1940||Air Stories|
|"Worrals Works it Out"||September 1947||The Girl's Own Paper|
|"Worrals Takes a Hand"||1948||Children's Gift Book|
|"The Badge"||January 1950||The Strand Magazine|
|"Biggles in Arabia"||February – November 1950||Collins Magazine for Boys & Girls|
|"Biggles at School"||October – March 1951||The Boy's Own Paper|
|"Biggles Works it Out"||April – September 1951||The Boy's Own Paper|
|"Biggles Follows On"||April – September 1952||The Boy's Own Paper|
|"Biggles Buries a Hatchet"||March – September 1953||The Boy's Own Paper|
|"Biggles Works it Out"||October 1953||The Silver Jacket||Published over eight issues|
|"What is the 'Secret of Biggles?'"||27 March 1960||TVTimes|
|"Living up to Biggles"||8 May 1960||TVTimes|
|"Biggles – Air Ace Number 1"||March 1963||Look and Learn|
|"Biggles and the Lost Sovereigns"||August – September 1963||Look and Learn|
|Title||Year of first
|First edition publisher||Notes|
|The Pictorial Flying Course||1932||J. Hamilton||With Harry M. Scholfield|
|Fighting Planes and Aces||1932||J. Hamilton|
|The Air VCs||1935||J. Hamilton|
|Some Milestones in Aviation||1935||J. Hamilton|
|The Passing Show: A Garden Diary by an Amateur Gardener||1937||My Garden|
|The Modern Boys Book of Pirates||1939||Amalgamated Press|
|The Biggles Book of Heroes||1959||M. Parish|
|The Biggles Book of Treasure Hunting||1962||M. Parish|
Several of Johns's works have been adapted for radio and television by others; the following is a list of works by Johns only.
|Title||First performance||Date of first performance||Type of work||Notes||Ref.|
|The Machine That Disappeared||BBC Radio||19 June 1942||Radio play||With G.R. Rainier|||
|The Charming Mrs. Nayther||BBC Radio||15 August 1942||Radio play||With G.R. Rainier|||
- Johns was with the Norfolk Yeomanry at the start of the war, serving in the Gallipoli Campaign, before he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps for service in Salonika.
- Johns was the recruiting officer who signed T. E. Lawrence into the RAF. Although Johns wanted to reject the application because of the obviously false name given by Lawrence, he was ordered to accept the former soldier.
- Williams & Berresford Ellis 2008.
- Schmidt 1995, pp. 128–29.
- "W(illiam) E(arle) Johns". Contemporary Authors. Gale. Retrieved 15 September 2015. (subscription required)
- "Capt W. E. Johns". The Times. 22 June 1968. p. 10.
- Wright 2001, pp. 4–5.
- Cadogan 1990, p. 5.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, p. 307.
- Schmidt 1995, p. 128.
- Cadogan 1990, p. 10.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 293–307.
- Schmidt 1995, pp. 124–28.
- Doggett 1987, pp. 13–14.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 308–09.
- Wright 2001, pp. 16–18.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 309–10.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 308–10.
- Wright 2001, pp. 19–21.
- Wright 2007, p. 42.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 307–08.
- Berresford Ellis & Schofield 1993, pp. 301–12.
- "The Machine That Disappeared". BBC Genome Project. BBC. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "The Charming Mrs. Nayther". BBC Genome Project. BBC. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- Berresford Ellis, Peter; Schofield, Jennifer (1993). Biggles! The Life Story of Capt W. E. Johns. Goodmanstone, Dorset: Veloce Publishing Plc. ISBN 978-1-874105-26-8.
- Cadogan, Mary (October 1990). "The Worrals Books of Capt W. E. Johns". The Book and Magazine Collector. Diamond Publishing Group (79).
- Doggett, Peter (September 1987). "The 'Biggles' Books of W. E. Johns". The Book and Magazine Collector. Diamond Publishing Group (42).
- Schmidt, Gary D (1995). "Captain W. E. Johns". In Schmidt, Gary D; Hettinga, Donald. Dictionary of Literary Biography: British Children's Writers, 1914–1960. Detroit: Gale Research. ISBN 978-0-8103-9355-4.
- Williams, Piers; Berresford Ellis, Peter (2008). "Johns, William Earl (1893–1968)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34199. Retrieved 16 September 2015. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Wright, Norman (July 2001). "'Biggles' in Magazines and Comics". The Book and Magazine Collector. Diamond Publishing Group (208).
- Wright, Norman (May 2007). "Biggles: The World War I Stories". The Book and Magazine Collector. Diamond Publishing Group (281).