November 1936

Volume 5 Number 8  (56 of 88)


This issue of Popular Flying magazine features NO “Biggles” story.  The last “Biggles” story was published in the May 1934 issue



This issue runs from page 385 to page 440 (56 pages)


Page 386 – Contents Page

(The contents page is by a advert for cigarettes but does not have the usual aircraft related photograph with it)


Page 388 – The More We Are Together – Bulldogs of the Bristol breed flying “on the sunny side” near London during the recent air operations


Page 389 – The Editor’s Cockpit – W. E. Johns

(Subtitled – Here and There – “My wife maintains that the most dignified way of arriving at a place is by private yacht – always assuming, of course, that there is a drop or two of water handy.  She may be right.  I have never arrived anywhere by private yacht ……….”  Johns talks about the speed and efficiency of air travel and his three week holiday.  He has visited the grave of Richard the Lionheart and asks “How many people in the land for which he fought could name his grave?  Not on in ten thousand.  No, I’m not going to tell you where it is”.

NB - For the curious, I understand that his brain was buried at the abbey of Charroux in Poitou, his heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy and the rest of his body was buried at the feet of his father at Fontevraund Abbey in Anjou

 Johns goes on to talk about women.  “I know very little about women.  There have been times when I thought I should like to know more.  That I ought to know more, in fact ……There are many things a woman can do and still remain what poets have so often told us women are.  Flying is one of them.  Go to it, madam.  We’d sooner be left guessing about what is underneath your Sidcot than have it flaunted, mud bespattered, in our faces.”


Page 391 – Facts about the Record and Equipment

(“On 28th September (1936) Squadron Leader F. R. D. Swaine of the Royal Air Force established a new World’s altitude record with a height of 49,967 feet”)


Page 392 – The Johannesburg Air Race – Charles W. A. Scott (Aviation Editor of the “News Chronicle”)


Page 395 – Air Fighting in Spain – Charles Kennett

(“who has just returned to England after fighting for a month in the Spanish Air Force”)


Page 397 – Aviation as a Career – From a Woman’s Point of View – Pauline Gower

(The author explains why it is “a career to which are temperamentally suited.  Piloting needs little physical strength, and indeed is the better for a light hand.  I would add here that a woman who knows herself to be excitable, hysterical or nervous should never take up aviation; and a word to the absent-minded would not be out of place.  A moment’s mental aberration may cause not only inconvenience, but loss of life”)


Page 399 – Modern Aircraft – The A. S. 6 “Envoy” Series II


Page 400 – The Growth of Civil Aviation in India – I. G. P. Singh


Page 404 – The British Burnelli Aeroplane – William Courtenay


Page 406 – Shooting the ‘Chute – Parachute Jumping as a Sport – H. and B. von Roemer (adapted by Carmichael Earl (John’s son)

(This article about parachuting and using trainer towers abroad has the ominous sentence “With the increasing number of large-capacity troop-carriers available in all the major air forces of the world, the parachute landing of troops in enemy territories is becoming every year a more practical proposition ……….”)


Page 408 – Would You Believe It? – Nigel Tangye

(This article is about the development of Civil Aviation since 1919)


 Page 411 – Pick Your Stars – Shots from the new films

(The shots are from “The Sky Parade” and “It’s in the Air”)




Pages 412 and 413 – The Centre Pages – Official Squadron Crests of the Royal Air Force


Page 414 – Heinrich Gontermann – Pour le Merite – A German Balloon Specialist – John Hook


Page 416 – My Most Thrilling Flight – Flight-Lieut W. E. Knowlden

(This account was not published in 1936 in the book ‘Thrilling Flights’)


Page 418 – Flying Wires – Interesting News from All Quarters

(Still no mention of the Spitfire)




Page 419 – More Memories – The Coward – W. E. J(ohns)

(This is Johns account of how a new recruit – Seeley – is too scared to fight as John’s rear gunner and is eventually sent home.  But later Johns recalls seeing him in hospital – dying -  and he finds out how Seeley had returned to the front and fought in an aircraft with extreme bravery.  Was Seeley his real name?  If so, was the name the inspiration for Johns character “Steeley”? (two “Steeley” books were published in 1936 and the following three books in the series were published in 1937, 1938 and 1939).  This incident is certainly the inspiration behind the short story “The Funk” published in ‘Biggles of the Camel Squadron’ in 1934 where “Harcourt” is the coward who later fights like a demon.)


Page 422 – The Air Mail – Francis J. Field




Page 423 – A “Shell” Advert celebrating “9 ½ Miles Up” – the World’s Height Record Using Shell Lubricating Oil”


Page 424 – Under the Windstocking

(“Readers’ Correspondence, conducted by the Editor”)




Page 432 – The Aviation Bookshelf

(Four books are reviewed – including “Biggles in Africa” by W. E. Johns

“In his latest Biggles story W. E. J. has taken his popular hero, and his companions, to the Dark Continent – as may be gathered from the title.  Harry Marton sets off on a record-breaking flight to the Cape, but fails to arrive, and mystery surrounds his fate.  A year later Biggles is commissioned by Mr. Marton senior to find his missing son, or the wreck of his machine.  Biggles goes, and quickly finds himself involved in a much grimmer undertaking than he expected.  He was prepared to find adventures in Africa, but not quite so many as he actually encountered.  Biggles fans will welcome this rattling good story, which is well up to the standard of the previous ones.   J.C. E.”)  (John’s son)


Page 437 – News Items

(This refers to the Three Countries Air Race at Hereford on the 18th September amongst other items)


Page 440 – The Buyers’ Log




Back Cover – An Advert for “Men Only” “By Men! For Men!  About Men!

(This is a magazine to which W. E. Johns regularly contributed but in the 1930’s did not feature the naked ladies that the title tends to bring to mind)


Click here to see a much larger picture of the cover artwork – the artist is Howard Leigh