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4.5 out of 5 stars18
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on 4 January 2008
This was the first biggles book i ever read. Formerly Biggles of the Camel Squadron this book has not changed, even though i expected that they would use more up to date language. They Haven't, this book has been unaltered since it was first published. It shows how much strain fighter pilots are under and brings out the heart of the book.
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on 21 July 2011
To complete the WW1 collection of Biggles short stories - when published in the 60s, they were collected together as Biggles Pioneer Air Fighter, Biggles of 266 & Biggles of the Camel Squadron.

As ever, these are more of the best Biggles stories, striking a wonderful balance between the very deadly real dangers of fighting above the trenches versus an air of levity, adventure and comradeship.

If you enjoyed any of the other stories set at the same time, you have to complete the set. They're so addictive.
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on 12 March 2013
`Biggles of the Fighter Squadron' was first published in 1934 under the name of `Biggles of the Camel* Squadron'. Comprising 13 short stories, it recounts the early days of James Bigglesworth's career when he was a young pilot in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) at the latter end of The Great War.

Like all of the best entries in this mammoth series of action-adventure yarns, it is full of excitement and incident. In a forward by W.E. Johns, we are told that - no matter how far-fetched they may appear to be - the stories are all based upon genuine incidents of madcap airborne heroics. Thus, we must accept that a pilot could survive flying underneath a too-narrow German-held bridge, losing his wings in the process of dropping an all-important bomb. Likewise, the terrifying `reality' of lethal phosphorous-fuelled clouds must be taken at face value. Indeed, Johns instils his tales with such energy and credibility that comes from knowing the HE WAS THERE, that the reader cannot help but be mesmerised by the described events.

Although ostensibly a `children's' book, `Biggles of the Fighter Squadron' doesn't shirk from some of the grim realities of warfare. Although there is a shoot-`em-up feel to some of the aerial passages, the loss of a fellow pilot is truly FELT by Biggles. Similarly, in one terrific story ('Biggles Finds His Feet'), our hero crash lands in No Man's Land and finds himself caught up in the grim theatre of trench warfare. Finally, `Scotland Forever!' (the last tale) offers up a wild, bloody showdown inside a British aerodrome with the Germans launching a fierce, futile closing onslaught at the end of the conflict.

What is perhaps most interesting about `Biggles of the Fighter Squadron' is the fact that this young Biggles (he could only have been in his late `teens in 1917-1918) is a far more raw and therefore credible character than the more sterile `stiff upper lip' air ace that he would later become. So much so that this Bigglesworth is not averse to some pointed sarcasm and mickey-taking aimed at his fellow flyers, notably the geeky maths-mad `Professor'. This is far-removed from what might be described as `banter', reflecting what would have been taut nerves and strained relationships among the men during the waiting for take-off.

Thus, to conclude, `Biggles of the Fighter Squadron' is an engaging and exciting read. Owing to the inevitably variable quality of its baker's dozen of stories (`Biggles Day Off' for one over-presses the, "Trust me, this could happen." button), it does not score as highly as some of the stronger novels in the serious, notably the truly-brilliant, `Biggles Defies The Swastika'. Nevertheless, `Biggles of the Fighter Squadron' undoubtedly hits more than it misses and offers far more highs than lows.

Barty's Score: 8 / 10

* Don't be confused folks. There are no desert-dwelling, even-toed ungulates here. A `Camel' is the nick-name of a British plane!
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on 13 January 2001
This is a great book it's about Biggles and Algy's adventures during World War 1. they find themselves dicing with death as they fly around France shooting down the Germans. They become very good friend's with a clever pilot which they nickname the 'Professor'. Biggles saves the 'Professor' many times and it makes a great story.
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on 14 April 2014
It is very difficult to get our son (11 years) to read. He loves this book and is now reading more in the series. A hit for a recalcitrant reader - it is well written and introduces new vocabulary.
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on 23 November 2014
I find the Biggles books a great read, even if they are not strictly factual, especially the ones on the First World War. I read a lot of them when I was a boy and are now rereading them as a 70+ year old. They still hold a fascination for me.
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on 11 June 2014
A number of the stories in this book also appear in other Biggles First World War books.
This does not detract from the enjoyment of reading them.
See my other reviews of W E Johns Biggles Books
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on 12 February 2013
First Biggles book bought for 10 year old grandson who enjoyed it and wants to read more. Good to see Biggles is still going strong!
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on 7 April 2014
as soon as my dad introduced me to
this book-series I loved it so much. I am so happy and
Will read lots more
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on 6 January 2016
Very entertaining. If you read it outloud to people you find other people edging closer and listening in!
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