Ginger's part in the books

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Ginger's part in the books

Postby Inactive User 149 » 27 Feb 2014, 11:37

It must be quite frustrating for fans who do not like Ginger particularly in the earlier Air Police books and also most of the Air Police short stories because he does play a major part in quite a few books. I love his character myself - I think he is a sweetheart but I can imagine him being very annoying if you do not like that "Isn't Biggles wonderful?" attitude. I also think most younger readers today would think he was soft and too emotional.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Fairblue » 27 Feb 2014, 12:55

Jenny Rob wrote:It must be quite frustrating for fans who do not like Ginger particularly in the earlier Air Police books and also most of the Air Police short stories because he does play a major part in quite a few books. I love his character myself - I think he is a sweetheart but I can imagine him being very annoying if you do not like that "Isn't Biggles wonderful?" attitude. I also think most younger readers today would think he was soft and too emotional.

It's not so much a case of not liking Ginger, as WEJ's insistence on keeping him young. Ginger plays a vital role in the books and some of his one-liners crack me up. Being younger means he brings a different perspective to the stories. I don't think anyone could accuse him of being a cardboard cut-out character. Ok, he gets on my nerves a bit, but so do some people in real life. The main thing is he is an inextricable part of the team. His attitude towards Biggles can be a little grating, but I imagine WEJ created him as a conduit for putting forward aspects of Biggles behaviour which would be difficult to describe otherwise. For example, Ginger ponders on Biggles stamina. Thereby the reader gets to know about it. Biggles couldn't comment on this and for Algy to do so would have made him look ridiculous. Ginger is the perfect foil for this sort of thing.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Inactive User 149 » 27 Feb 2014, 13:04

Yes I agree with you there Fairblue. Towards the end of the Air Police books Ginger seems to get younger and younger and less and less able to take the initiative. In some of the earlier books he works things out and rescues Biggles and Algy etc. I never find him annoying in the early books when he was quite genuinely young and inexperienced.

One little scene I have always enjoyed is in Gets His Men when Biggles and Ginger are sitting in a tree waiting for the baddies to appear and Ginger is counting the wading birds he can see - a very gentle pastime but when the baddies come and whip the innocent victims he is determined that if he is discovered he will fight it out and kill the head baddie first. Ginger's character was definitely dumbed down in the later books.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby AusterAutocrat » 27 Feb 2014, 18:51

Mmm, yes. In some of the air police books I've read, it seems Biggles goes 'I'll take Ginger with me...', takes him with him, and then Ginger does, like, nothing.
I agree that Ginger can be rather sweet sometimes :) Poor boy. My love for Algy, admiration for Biggles and amusement at Bertie sometimes drown out the fact that he's always faithful and does his best. Sometimes one can even feel rather sorry for him. In one of the books I read awhile ago - I forget the name - Ginger gets sent to France to investigate a fraudulent air company (who, guess what, are smugglers) and he (Ginger, that is) ends up getting beaten up and his shirt all torn. Then the boys have to come and rescue him. *happy ending* Something like that :)
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby kylie_koyote » 27 Feb 2014, 19:28

AusterAutocrat wrote:Mmm, yes. In some of the air police books I've read, it seems Biggles goes 'I'll take Ginger with me...', takes him with him, and then Ginger does, like, nothing.
I agree that Ginger can be rather sweet sometimes :) Poor boy. My love for Algy, admiration for Biggles and amusement at Bertie sometimes drown out the fact that he's always faithful and does his best. Sometimes one can even feel rather sorry for him. In one of the books I read awhile ago - I forget the name - Ginger gets sent to France to investigate a fraudulent air company (who, guess what, are smugglers) and he (Ginger, that is) ends up getting beaten up and his shirt all torn. Then the boys have to come and rescue him. *happy ending* Something like that :)


Black Mask, I think. Love that one.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 27 Feb 2014, 20:04

You could interpret it as: Biggles took Ginger with him nearly always because somebody had t be trained to take over when Biggles and Algy retired :lol:
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby AusterAutocrat » 27 Feb 2014, 20:11

SaintedAunt wrote:You could interpret it as: Biggles took Ginger with him nearly always because somebody had t be trained to take over when Biggles and Algy retired :lol:


Oh dear, that is grim... Grimmer still - Ginger in charge!? :)
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‘He wouldn’t,’ replied Biggles bitterly.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Kismet » 27 Feb 2014, 20:59

How about, Biggles likes company and Ginger is always willing to go along for the ride?
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Fairblue » 27 Feb 2014, 22:38

Algy has to be left behind to mind the shop. Bertie's chatter would get on Biggles nerves. That leaves Ginger. Simple. ;)
Or. Ginger is a Ground Engineer and Biggles prefers not to have to walk anywhere if they break down. :lol:
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby kylie_koyote » 27 Feb 2014, 22:48

Fairblue wrote:Algy has to be left behind to mind the shop. Bertie's chatter would get on Biggles nerves. That leaves Ginger. Simple. ;)
Or. Ginger is a Ground Engineer and Biggles prefers not to have to walk anywhere if they break down. :lol:


He got ahold of Ginger early enough to mold him into the companion he wanted to have. Algy and Bertie were fully grown when they came along.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Fairblue » 27 Feb 2014, 23:24

kylie_koyote wrote:
He got ahold of Ginger early enough to mold him into the companion he wanted to have. Algy and Bertie were fully grown when they came along.

Yes, house trained, so to speak. :lol:
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 27 Feb 2014, 23:26

Fairblue wrote:Ginger is a Ground Engineer and Biggles prefers not to have to walk anywhere if they break down. :lol:

Yes - I'll buy that one FB :lol:
kylie_koyote wrote: He got ahold of Ginger early enough to mold him into the companion he wanted to have. Algy and Bertie were fully grown when they came along.

Not really KK - ALgy was about 17 when he first met Biggles who wasn't much older :) I'd say Biggles and Algy grew up together. If you want to think of it in terms of war experience rather than age, Algy was just starting out when Biggles was already a flight commander, and Biggles tried to look after him, for example, Biggles' feelings of responsibility for Algy as expressed in Flies East.

Ginger now… was he the companion Biggles wanted to have ???? Moulded??? Hmm… definitely not sure about that one… Don't forget Ginger was there long before Bertie, so Ginger already had his place in the cockpit, so to speak, which was most likely just Biggles feeling responsible for Ginger as he had for Algy so many years before.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Inactive User 149 » 28 Feb 2014, 10:24

Ginger does do quite a lot in the Air Police books, of course he gets lost and captured quite often but Biggles gets captured too and Ginger rescues him. There are a lot of instances when Ginger sees someone about to kill Biggles and just shoots them or yells a warning and fires a warning shot so he saves Biggles but the scene is over in a minute. In Gets His Men Ginger is left to rescue the prisoners while Biggles goes to speak to EVS. Ginger takes an active part in most of the books he is in supporting Biggles and watching his back. Ginger is also important as a lot of the books are told from his point of view. I do not think WEJ would want any sidekick to be as good as Biggles after all Biggles is the hero and has to take centre stage. In Second Case Ginger saves Biggles with the harpoon gun, in Sgt. Bigglesworth Ginger escapes from the plane when he is being shot at and walks into the desert to find Algy and Bertie, in Mystery Island he gets Biggles and Marcel out of jail, in Cuts It Fine he finds the gun emplacements etc. etc.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 28 Feb 2014, 10:45

Jenny Rob wrote:Ginger does do quite a lot in the Air Police books, of course he gets lost and captured quite often but Biggles gets captured too and Ginger rescues him... etc. etc.

Off the top of my head, to add to your list, Ginger saves Biggles in Baltic, Ginger saves everybody in Flies North, he gets Biggles and Algy out of jail in In Spain, he saves them from being shot in Goes to War, he saves them from being burnt to death in Africa, from the centipedes in Hits the Trail, and then as you say etc. etc.

So really it's not Biggles the Hero but Ginger the Hero :lol:

In Black Peril, Ginger saves Biggles when Blackbeard is about to shoot him, and when they are a bit safer and Biggles finds out everything this young teenager has done to find him and rescue him, he says "I'll buy you an aeroplane one of these days for pulling me out of that scrape."

Promises, promises, Biggles! I always remember that one because as far as we know, Biggles never did... :(
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Inactive User 149 » 28 Feb 2014, 10:48

Biggles is the hero and Ginger watches his back ;)
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SopwithCamel » 28 Feb 2014, 10:49

I think someone once mentioned on the old forum that Biggles always took Ginger with him because he was the one that Biggles was most worried about, being younger and a bit rash and all that sort of thing. Bertie and Algy, being older and more experienced (even if they were crazy at times as well), were more capable than Ginger at handling things.

Biggles and Ginger seem to be made of the kind of material which makes them rather more emotional and excitable--in WWI Biggles is upset very easily and flies off the handle a lot, and Ginger always gets panicky and stuff when he gets lost or has to deal with things on his own. Bertie and Algy seem more balanced (if one leaves out the Flowers incident for Algy)--they're hardly ever all that excited or emotional about stuff as Biggles and Ginger seem to be.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Inactive User 149 » 28 Feb 2014, 11:10

Yes I totally agree with that. I think WEJ included Ginger in a lot of the books for the young readers he was writing for.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Tommy Smith » 05 Mar 2014, 10:44

C'mon Jenny. Respond, Ginger needs you. ;)
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 05 Mar 2014, 12:35

SopwithCamel wrote:Bertie and Algy seem more balanced (if one leaves out the Flowers incident for Algy)--they're hardly ever all that excited or emotional about stuff as Biggles and Ginger seem to be.

Hmmm...give me time and I have a sneaky suspicion that I could quote other instances where Algy gets excited - prime example being after Biggles saves him from being decapitated in Delivers the Goods, and then there's the time he was floundering around in the swamp with the crocodiles in Air Commodore and was so scared he let out quite a scream - Biggles thought he was singing... :lol:
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 05 Mar 2014, 12:37

Tommy Smith wrote:C'mon Jenny. Respond, Ginger needs you. ;)
Carrier pigeon? Postcard? Hastily scribbled note in a cigarette case?

Bit quite without you. :(

Let me second that, Jenny. We're all missing you :(
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SopwithCamel » 05 Mar 2014, 14:30

RAAF Spitfire Girl wrote:
SopwithCamel wrote:Bertie and Algy seem more balanced (if one leaves out the Flowers incident for Algy)--they're hardly ever all that excited or emotional about stuff as Biggles and Ginger seem to be.

Hmmm...give me time and I have a sneaky suspicion that I could quote other instances where Algy gets excited - prime example being after Biggles saves him from being decapitated in Delivers the Goods, and then there's the time he was floundering around in the swamp with the crocodiles in Air Commodore and was so scared he let out quite a scream - Biggles thought he was singing... :lol:


I daresay that most people who are about to be beheaded are quite excited and would possibly be even more excited after they got rescued :shock:

As for Algy's reaction to the croc, again I feel that it's justified (considering that he would have been eaten). Algy's excitement over that is nothing compared to Ginger's excitement over seeing an eye in Breaks the Silence...

Is it Air Commodore that the croc was in? I thought it was Flies South but don't quote me on that.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Kismet » 05 Mar 2014, 14:38

Flies South is the crocodile in the sacrificial pool which nearly gets Ginger and Biggles is nearly sacrificed to.

Algy lost in the mangrove swamp with crocodiles and the tide coming in is Air Commodore.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 05 Mar 2014, 14:44

SopwithCamel wrote:...Is it Air Commodore that the croc was in? I thought it was Flies South but don't quote me on that.


Someone who has read the books more recently than me could clarify all the instances where crocs were featured, but I believe crocs appear in quite a few books, lol.
The one that springs most readily to mind [for me] is the episode in Flies South where Biggles is 'sacrificed' to the enormous crocodile....but, he digs up a petrol tin in the sand nearby, throws it at the croc, then blazes away with his pistol, following which we have the 'flaming crocodile scene'. :D

There is also a 'crocodile pool' mentioned in In Africa, Chapter 14 [Ordeal By Fire], page 218 in my "Pyramid' Oxford edition, which contains [my favourite ever Algy quote, :lol: ]:

“Frankly, if they take us to that crocodile pool I shall scream my head off”....fabulous! :laughspit:


Oops...posted over the top of you Kismet, we both had the same idea re Flies South! :yay:
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SopwithCamel » 05 Mar 2014, 15:12

Kismet wrote:Flies South is the crocodile in the sacrificial pool which nearly gets Ginger and Biggles is nearly sacrificed to.

Algy lost in the mangrove swamp with crocodiles and the tide coming in is Air Commodore.


Ah, yes, I'd forgotten about that croc. Was that the one where Algy got stuck up a tree? I seem to recall he screamed once and then tried shooting at it.
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Mar 2014, 16:43

Two things about Ginger's role I noticed in "Biggles in Australia" last night:

#1 - Biggles is still trying to protect Ginger from seeing dead bodies. They land on the islet and smell something foul. Biggles instructs Ginger to wait because he's sure whatever he's about to find won't be nice to look at.

#2 - The chaps have air mattresses now. They sleep on them in the cabin. Biggles thinks Ginger is fooling around in the middle of the night when it's really a decapod. :D
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 05 Mar 2014, 18:34

SopwithCamel wrote:Ah, yes, I'd forgotten about that croc. Was that the one where Algy got stuck up a tree? I seem to recall he screamed once and then tried shooting at it.

Yes he climbed into a tree because there were crocs in the water and to escape the water which was was rising with the tide. But up the tree he had problems with ants - poor Algy. The next morning while Biggles is drying himself on a thin strip of towel (you will remember that thread I'm sure :) ) Algy is anointing his ant bites. Very painful I should think. :(
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 05 Mar 2014, 18:38

kylie_koyote wrote: The chaps have air mattresses now. They sleep on them in the cabin

Really :o How advanced - but much easier to assemble than a camp bed. I wonder if they had to blow them up or whether they ran a 'blower-upper' off the plane. Can't see Biggles having much puff to blow with as a heavy smoker. :)
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Tommy Smith » 05 Mar 2014, 18:56

Has anyone ever added up all the times Algy has screamed like a girl? Don't remember the other chaps ever doing so....
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby SaintedAunt » 05 Mar 2014, 19:09

Well Biggles never screamed that I can remember. Don't remember Bertie screaming either. Neither really the screaming type. Ginger screamed from time to time - but I am not sure if WEJ described what sort of scream it was. There was the time in Air Commodore when he found he was in a tree grave and got hysterics… probably screamed pretty high then… [sorry unintended pun!]

Surely Algy didn't scream very often...
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Re: Ginger's part in the books

Postby Kismet » 05 Mar 2014, 20:36

Biggles doesn't scream. Biggles grips arms with a grip of iron. Quite frequently. I imagine all his friends / squadron members comparing the finger shaped bruises inflicted on them whenever he has to watch a dodgy landing.
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