One Third of British Teenagers Think Biggles Was A Real Person

Over here. I think this is splendid. For some suitable banter, go here.

(The Telegraph covers the story here in a bit more detail, but inexplicably omits the all-important Capt. W. E. Johns-related statistic.)

6 thoughts on “One Third of British Teenagers Think Biggles Was A Real Person”

  1. When I used to read Biggles as a kid I always used to have real problems working out his age. Clearly he did get a bit older but it seemed to be at only about one quarter of the passage of real time.

  2. But he did get older? Unlike, say, William Brown, whose adventures take place at various times between the 1930s and the 1960s while he remains perpetually 11.

    Are there pre-C20th examples of this phenomenon?

  3. But he did get older?

    I think so, though I don’t believe any ages are given. He is older in later stories (and I didn’t read them in chronological order) and started holding important posts, spending more time at least somewhere near a desk, that sort of thing.

  4. He starts off flying Camels in WWI and ends up flying decommissioned WWII planes in, I would guess, the mid 50s. So in theory he could do it at normal aging speed from about 20 to about 60. The problem is allowing him to fly combat in WWII. I had a great uncle about that age in the RAF during WWII and the only time he left the ground was in the passenger seat of a transport. I suspect Biggles’ age actually went into reverse from 1939 – 1945.

  5. Completely unrelated to the post (which is, I own, quite funny), I wanted to ask if you would check out an essay I put up on my blog (, on Waldron’s God, Locke, and Equality. It is basically a response to it, arguing for a naturalistic theory of egalitarianism, and I’d very much like your thoughts, comments and criticisms. Cheers,


  6. I’d be surprised if those teenagers had heard of Biggles; they probably guessed he was real because they imagined that the unknown name would be an unknown historical figure…

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