Captain W. E. Johns (William Earl Johns) | First Editions

1893 - 1968

William Earl Johns (5 February 1893 – 21 June 1968) was an English pilot and writer of adventure stories, usually written under thepen name Captain W. E. Johns. He is best remembered as the creator of the ace pilot and adventurer Biggles. 

Johns' early ambition was to be a soldier, being a crack shot with a rifle. In 1913, while working as a sanitary inspector, Johns enlisted in the Territorial Army as a trooper in the King's Own Royal Regiment (Norfolk Yeomanry). The regiment was mobilised in August 1914, and was sent overseas in September 1915. This was the start of a very successful military career, which was to inspire his Biggles series. Later, Johns became a flying instructor and aircraft bomber. After leaving the RAF, Johns became a newspaper air correspondent, as well as editing and illustrating books about flying. At the request of John Hamilton Ltd, he created the magazine Popular Flying which first appeared in March 1932. It was in the pages of Popular Flying that Biggles, first appeared. In his 46-year writing career (1922–68) he penned over 160 books, including nearly one hundred Biggles books, and scores of magazine articles and short stories. Johns also wrote eight other books of juvenile fiction, twelve books of fiction for adults, and eight factual books, including several books on aviation, books on pirates and treasure hunting, and a book on gardening.

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