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