W E JOHNS

Great War Dust Jackets

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Captain William Earl JOHNS

1893 - 1968

 

Joined the Territorials as a Private in 1913. Went to Gallipoli with the Kings Own Royal Regiment of Cavalry. Transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, served in Salonika. Commissioned as a 2nd. Lt. in the RFC then to France with 55th Bombing Squadron flying De Havilland DH 4’s. Shot down & captured towards the end of the War. Published numerous works of both fact & fiction, although chiefly remembered today for his many ‘Biggles’ books. The small selection shown here are all Great War related.

A comprehensive selection of all Johns & Biggles material can be seen at Roger Harris’ excellent site.

My grateful thanks go to Renzo Paganuzzi for supplying the images for this page.

on the left

John Hamilton 1932. Jacket by Howard Leigh. With illustrations by Johns. The first appearance of Biggles in these short stories drawing on Johns’ own wartime experiences.

 

On the right

John Hamilton 1932. Jacket by Howard Leigh. A history of the war’s flying aces.

John Hamilton 1933. Johns’ only WW1 novel not featuring Biggles. Captain Lovell & his observers daring wartime adventures

Some post-2nd World War Biggles books concerning the Great War
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John Hamilton March 1934. Jacket by Howard Leigh.

13 further ‘Biggles’ stories

John Hamilton March 1935. Jacket by Howard Leigh. Narratives of those officers & Airmen of the RAF who have been awarded the Victoria Cross in the War

John Hamilton April 1935. Jacket by Howard Leigh. Contains 1 Biggles WW1 story ‘The Ace of Spades’

John Hamilton June 1936. Jacket by Howard Leigh. Ed. By Johns, containing the personal experiences of 20 WW1 flyers including Strange, Johns & Tremellin.

O.U.P. August 1935. Jacket by Howard Leigh. Biggles meets his arch enemy Erich von Stalhein. The first Biggles book to be published by OUP.

Boys Friend Library 7th Nov.1935. Not subsequently published until 1993 by Red Fox as a paperback.

O.U.P. May 1939. Here the Fortymore brothers are the central characters leaving Biggles & Co in the background!

Kingston Library, Thames Publishing 1954.

Contains stories from ‘The Camels are Coming’ & ‘Biggles of the Camel Squadron’ (edited for a Juvenile audience!)

Kingston Library 1955. Stories from ‘Biggles in France’ & 2 from ‘Biggles Learns to Fly’ edited as before.

Norman Wright 1999. Pbk. Limited to 300 copies. Illustrated by Andrew Skilleter. Contains 8 previously uncollected Biggles WW1 stories. The last true Biggles 1st.

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Oxford 1938

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Wings Flying Adventures Hamilton 1931 (above) The first book edited by Johns who also provided the splendid wraparound jacket illustration. Wings Flying Stories Hamilton 1935 (alongside) with jacket by Howard Leigh. The later book is a  compilation of the first 4 issues of the quarterly magazine which carried both full length novels as well as short stories (shown below) Pub. Hamilton. Summer, Autumn & Winter 1934 & Spring 1935

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Norman Wright 2008, 2009 & 2010. All illustrated by Andrew Skilleter. Each limited to 300 copies.

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Boys’ Friend Library 7th March 1935. Not a jacket but as this was not published in book form until the Brock Books edition of 1955 I’ve included it for completeness. Bit of a rarity, I’m told!

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John Hamilton 1936. Jacket by Stanley Orton Bradshaw. Contains stories by Johns, Rochester, Whitehouse, Long & ‘Vigilant’ with illustrations by Johns, Leigh & Bradshaw.

1st Hardback edition published in 2009. 300 copies printed

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John Hamilton 1937. Jacket by Stanley Orton Bradshaw. Companion volume to the one alongside with tales by Johns, Vigilant, Whitehouse & Rochester. Illustrated by Bradshaw & Johns.

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