Biggles and the Dark Intruder

Biggles and the Dark Intruder by Captain W E Johns (first published by Brockhampton Press in 1967 as a paperback, this hardback edition published in 1970)

Introduced by Henry Sotheran’s, London

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biggles.jpgCaptain William Earl Johns (1893-1968) led an extraordinarily full and adrenaline-filled life.

His early career was as a sanitary inspector in Swaffham, Norfolk until he enlisted in the Territorial Army as a trooper in the King’s Own Royal Regiment, Norfolk Yeomanry, fighting in Gallipoli.

He then joined the Machine Gun Corps and contracted malaria in Macedonia. On recovery he was commissioned to the Royal Flying Corps. After training he was appointed Flying Instructor and later Recruiting Officer, in which capacity he famously turned down T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)’s application for submitting a false name.

As a pilot he had a host of hair-raising adventures writing off three planes by crashing them into the sea, into sand, and into a fellow officer’s back door. He also managed to shoot off his own propeller, twice!

As a writer he was prolific, producing 160 novels, most famously involving the flying ace Biggles whose exploits were described between 1932 (in ‘The Camels Are Coming’) and 1968, when Johns died.

A couple of books appeared posthumously such as this title, published in 1970, which is one of the rarest of the later titles and very valuable in this condition. Look out for it at your local car-boot!


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Biggles and the Dark Intruder was first published in April 1967 (uniquely as a paperback). It was then published as a hardback in February 1970. Unlike many of the Biggles stories, it was never serialised elsewhere.

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Henry Sotheran’s, founded in York in 1761, is the world’s oldest trading antiquarian bookshop, located at 2 Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London W1. Click here to read more about their story.

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The Story of Books is developing plans for a dynamic working museum dedicated to all aspects of books. See the Project Blog for updates.

One thought on “Biggles and the Dark Intruder

  1. That I had read all the Biggles books before the age of five is a family myth but I do remember his adventures as I confused them with my Father’s Time in the RAF during the war – not that he talked about it much. The two heros became inexorably linked in my fresh mind and the language stayed/stays with me. They portrayed villains and danger – and merged with war memories simmering in our consciousness but I knew that Biggles would make everything alright in the end. And he did. I’m not sure how I’d feel about them now: do I want to lose that dream of hero-worship …

    Liked by 1 person

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