Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

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Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Aug 2014, 15:45

1. The opening scene is very cozy. Ginger and Bertie are playing chess, Algy is reading a book, Biggles is lost in thought in front of the fireplace. Biggles has a 10:00pm bedtime when he’s not out chasing baddies around the globe and saving the world. For some reason I find this adorable.

2. Timeline suggests that it is mid-1960s, as Corporal Miller’s son is in his late teens or early twenties and Biggles has never met him before.

3. We’re introduced to yet another airman who served under Biggles at some point during the war. Gosh, there were a lot of them. And I love that they hold Biggles in such high esteem – and that Biggles is always willing to help them. :love:

4. We go to Canada and meet up with the Mounties! Again! Yay, Mounties! (Must be all that good work Algy did for them when Biggles was off in Greece with Eddie Ross.) 8-)

5. While stranded on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, Ginger is still wearing his necktie, as he straightens it after an unfortunate encounter with Angus Campbell, the fox farmer whose land they’re on. I’ve only worn a necktie once for a school play, but I would think ties would be the first thing to go when stranded on a deserted island. Way to keep it classy, Ginger!

6. At the very end, Biggles and Co. send and receive annual Christmas cards from both Angus the Fox Farmer and Jack the Mountie. I also find this incredibly adorable. :love: Does Biggles keep in touch with everyone he’s met along the way? It must take most of November to address the envelopes, unless he outsources this (to Ginger).
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Kismet » 15 Aug 2014, 15:51

Ties are just a habit. I had to wear one as part of my school uniform. My children do too. Men of my father's generation would probably go without their trousers as readily as they'd go without a tie.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Frecks » 15 Aug 2014, 15:53

I expect Ginger was still wearing his flying helmet too :lol: I find this book very strange because the authorities declared Angus Campbell dead without going over to the island to look for him but of course we must not expect too much reality in the books. Ginger calls Bertie his "half-section" but I am never sure what that actually means. Bertie is a Sgt. to Ginger's constable so he is above him in rank.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby kylie_koyote » 15 Aug 2014, 15:59

I wondered about the term "half section" also, having never heard it elsewhere, so I looked it up here: http://www.encyclo.co.uk/define/Half-Section

"Half-section was British army Second World War slang for a companion, a single soldier."

That explains it. Thanks, internet. :lol:
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Frecks » 15 Aug 2014, 16:03

and thanks KK for looking it up.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Kismet » 15 Aug 2014, 16:03

kylie_koyote wrote:I wondered about the term "half section" also, having never heard it elsewhere, so I looked it up here: http://www.encyclo.co.uk/define/Half-Section

"Half-section was British army Second World War slang for a companion, a single soldier."

That explains it. Thanks, internet. :lol:

Biggles uses the term in Gun Runners, I think.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Frecks » 15 Aug 2014, 16:04

I have not read Gun Runners but I did not think the others were in that book. Who was he referring to?
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Kismet » 15 Aug 2014, 16:53

Frecks wrote:I have not read Gun Runners but I did not think the others were in that book. Who was he referring to?



The other pilot he was flying with.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Fairblue » 15 Aug 2014, 17:01

Frecks wrote:I expect Ginger was still wearing his flying helmet too :lol: I find this book very strange because the authorities declared Angus Campbell dead without going over to the island to look for him but of course we must not expect too much reality in the books.

That was reality at the time, Frecks. He went out one day and didn't come back. It was assumed his boat had capsized, or he'd ran into fog. He could have been anywhere. As that sort of thing was not uncommon it was a natural assumption to make. They had no reason to suspect foul play.
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Re: Biggles and the Penitent Thief – some thoughts

Postby Kismet » 15 Aug 2014, 17:26

6. At the very end, Biggles and Co. send and receive annual Christmas cards from both Angus the Fox Farmer and Jack the Mountie. I also find this incredibly adorable. :love: Does Biggles keep in touch with everyone he’s met along the way? It must take most of November to address the envelopes, unless he outsources this (to Ginger).


Biggles seems to have been a proficient networker since World War One. I imagine a complex system of card sending, ranging from a simple printed card from the Air Police to all the Flying Clubs, to one containing a handwritten letter for close friends like Mahoney and Mullen in South Africa.
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