Somewhat darker than the other World War I short stories

Biggles of the Camel Squadron - William Earl Johns

I'm not sure if I can say all that much about Biggles after reading this book. For some reason I simply could not get into it the same way that I got into the other WWI Biggles books that I read. Okay, he does crash a couple of planes, and does deal with the Germans a couple of times, but for some reason this book seemed to be a little ho-hum, and also a little darker as well. Okay, a number of the stories were a little light hearted, but when the Professor's plane went down I felt that Johns was being a little more serious.

The first one was interesting though because a professor comes along to the squadron telling them how they should use mathematics to help them become better pilots. While the theory may have been sound, he is reminded that one cannot simply perform advanced mathematical functions while they are flying a Sopwith Camel with a bunch of Germans trying to shoot them out of the sky. He decides to go and prove them wrong, and as can be expected, Biggles ends up proving the Professor wrong.

There were a few other stories in here as well, particularly since this is a collection of short stories, but as I said previously, I really could not get into this book all that much. Anyway, much of what I have said about the World War I fighter pilot experience I have already mentioned elsewhere in another collection of Biggles short stories, so there is no real need to cover the same ground again.

Oh there is an interesting story about spies. Basically they capture a German plane and Biggles decides he wants to go for a joy ride in the plane to see what the plane is like. However, while he is in the air he meets up with some other Germans who think he is a German, so he has to fly with them, but he cannot use it to his advantage because of this fear that if people started changing uniforms and pretending to be the enemy then all hell would break lose and order will pretty much collapse. Personally, that is a tall order coming from World War One where, basically, civilisation had already collapsed and in effect chaos reigned.