December 1938

Volume 7 Number 9  (81 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 429 to page 480 (52 pages)


Page 430 – Contents Page

(The contents page is by an advert for Player’s Airman Navy Cut tobacco)



Page 432 – A (fake) photograph of Forty Hawker Hurricanes – “This is how we want them”




Page 433 – The Editor’s Cockpit – W. E. Johns

(Subtitled – “On Peace in Our Time …” - Johns writes his most powerful editorial yet.  Criticising the Government, the Air Ministry, Ramsay MacDonald (Prime Minister until 1935, who died in 1937) and Lord Londonderry.  Johns goes on to describe in detail how Hitler will be like a snowball, gathering strength as he goes on and outlines the history of Alexander the Great and how his ambitions increased with his successes.

It is very likely that this is the editorial that got Johns sacked – or at least, it was the straw that broke the camels back.  Certainly it is the case that Johns was sacked as editor of POPULAR FLYING’s counterpart magazine, “FLYING”, the following month.  His last editorial for “FLYING” appeared in issue 43 of that magazine, dated 21st January 1939.  His sacking as editor of “POPULAR FLYING” would soon follow a few months later)


Page 436 – Father Mickle Finds His Wings – Douglas Ross

(The author writes of his meeting with Father Robert Geoffrey Mickle from New York who is a priest from New York visiting Costa Rica.  There a woman steals his gold pen and later he finds her with a very sick baby.  The reason she needed the money from the pen.  He performs a Baptism whilst they are travelling to hospital by air and the resulting headlines are “New York priest officiates at first aerial Baptism”)


Page 440 – Brooklands – The Pioneers’ Workshop – Robert Polendine

(A fascinating history of Brooklands (near Weybridge in Surrey) – initially a Race Track opened in 1907 but not particularly successful, so in 1909 permission was given for aeroplanes to be “exercised”.  But even before then, Brooklands had sheltered pioneers before actual flight had been achieved in Britain.  Sir Alliott Verdon Roe (AVRO) flew his 9 hp triplane here – the first British built aeroplane to achieve free flight.  The old race track now houses (in 1938) Brooklands School of Flying)



Page 442 – Japan Spreads Her Wings – Harrison Forman

(“From San Franciso to Japan in four days will soon be a reality …………”

The author writes about the Japan Air Transport Company and his trip from Tokyo to Formosa.  Without being able to speak a word of Japanese)


Page 445 – Russia – The Red Sphinx of the Air – by “Vigilant”

(“We still know little or nothing about the land of the Soviet Union.  Our ignorance of Russian aviation is, therefore, colossal”)


Page 448 – The Moles of Holzminden – H. V. Caunt

(An account of the escape from Holzminden Camp, Hanover, when on 23rd July 1918, 29 men got out)


Page 451 – What’s Going On? – by “V. R.”

(“Note. – Since the following was written another machine has disappeared, and been presumed “lost” – Ed.”  This article is about R.A.F. pilots disappearing without trace on cross-country flights.  How is it that in this day and age (1938) that a man can be allowed to vanish over England?)



Pages 452 and 453 – (This would normally be on the Centre Pages!) – British Aviation at the Close of 1938 – Seven black and white aviation photos



Pages 454 and 455 – The Centre Pages – An Advert by the De Havilland Aircraft Co., Ltd for their “MOTH MINOR” – Price £575


Page 456 – Flying Wires – Air News from all points of the compass

(One interesting item of news is that “A new height record was claimed by Italy when Commander Mario Pezzo reached a height of 55,490 feet”)


Page 458 – Great Britain & U.S.A. Outbid Each Other for a 20-Dollar Islet! – Harvard Wall

(“The importance of privately owned Tomis Island to Transpacific air-lines” – Mr. N. Edwards’ father bought the island off the

American Government in 1900 for about twenty dollars.  Now his son won’t accept less than £75,000 for the island)


Page 460 – ‘Planes and Personalities – By “Observer”

(One Heading is “Flying Faster than Sound” and says “Aeronautical scientists having more or less unanimously agreed upon the impossibility of an aircraft ever exceeding the speed of sound, an American engineer now announces his completion of designs for a 900 m.p.h. aeroplane, 120 m.p.h. faster than the speed of sound and twice as fast as man have ever flown”)


Page 462 – Model Topics – by “Airfoil”

(“To Streamline or not to Streamline?”)


Page 464 – Modern Aircraft – C.A.G. Special – The Moth Minor


Page 465 – Under the Windstocking

(“Readers’ Correspondence, conducted by the Editor”.   A letter from R. H. Henderson about a photograph on him in the September 1938 of POPULAR FLYING confirms that he had not crashed but had made one of the best landings in his career in hazardous circumstances)


Page 466 – A New Book

(One book is reviewed – “Through the Overcast” by Assen Jordanoff)


Page 469 – An advert for Shell – “Pioneers of Modern Aviation” – featuring Louis Paulhan (who won the first actively contested air-race in history)




Page 475 – An advert for the ‘Biggles’ Books by Captain W. E. Johns

(Just published – Biggles Goes to WarBiggles Flies South and then four further books are listed in “new and cheaper” editions)


Page 480 – The Buyers’ Log

(This carries the same Royal Air Force advert for vacancies for air observers and for pilots as set out in previous months)


Inside Back Cover – Adverts for Greys Cigarettes – “It’s a way they have in THE NAVY … to have a whiff in every port”


Back Page – An Advert for M.G. Cars


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