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W.E. Johns
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    (February 5, 1893-June 21, 1968)
    Born in Bengeo, Hertford, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was William Earl Johns
    Pilot and author
    Best known for his series of 98 'Biggles' adventure books for young readers
    Without divorcing his first wife, he lived with Doris Leigh and presented her in public as 'Mrs. Johns.'
    As an RAF recruiting officer, he rejected T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) for applying using a fake name.
    He originally began writing as William Earle before reverting to his initials.
    He was credited on his book jackets as 'Capt. W.E. Johns,' despite never having reached the rank of Captain.
    As the readership for his books skewed younger, his earliest Biggles books were edited to remove references to alcohol and swearing.
    He served with the infantry during World War I until he contracted malaria.
    He then became a flight instructor and survived three crashes caused by engine failures on three successive days.
    He then became a bomber pilot, was shot down over Germany (suffering a leg wound in the air battle), and was a POW for the rest of the war.
    He was removed as editor of the magazine 'Flying' for writing an editorial attacking the government policy of appeasement that criticized several politicians by name (1939).
    His Biggles books stressed the importance of bravery, honesty, and fair play.

Credit: C. Fishel

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