Here are the characters you will come across when reading Biggles novels.
I have used images from the Biggles movie, but bear in mind the movie does not really represent the series of books.
Biggles (Capt James Bigglesworth)
Biggles was born May 1899 in India and a World War I fighter pilot. He didn’t have much of a sense of humour and usually berated his comrades for theirs, but you couldn’t help but laugh at the way he dealt with criminals. His acid tongue and barefaced cheek showed that he was a man to be reckoned with. He was a man who would never back down.
After World War I ended, Biggles started his own charter pilot business, with Algy. They were also joined by Ginger.
When World War II and the Nazis arrived, Biggles once again became a fighter pilot. This time he was given his own Spitfire squadron (666) to command, where he met Lord Bertie Lissie, one of the recruits.
After World War II , he and his friends joined the Special Air Police, where he would spend the rest of his career.
One weakness of Biggles' was his pride. If anyone issued a threat, he would do the opposite. This actually resulted in him taking on cases he at first refused
due to the danger and the likelihood of failure, simply just do defy those who made the threats.
Algy (Algernon Montgomery-Lacey)
Algy was a young gung-ho pilot who Biggles took a liking too during World War I. He was also Biggles’ cousin. Algy would often take major risks and at first had everyone thinking he was a “boob”, but it turned out that Algy’s recklessness was calculated and Biggles soon realized that. It made Algy a valuable man to have around.
He made his first appearance in the story "The Boob" which was printed in "The Modern Boy" magazine in 1932. This story was later printed in "The Camels are Coming" (1932) and again in "Biggles: Pioneer Air Fighter" (1954).
Algy matured as the series progressed, but Johns seemed to start fazing out his character in favour of Bertie and Ginger. However when readers complained, Algy was used more often.
Ginger was a streetwise kid who Biggles met after WW1 and took under his wing in “Biggles and the Black Peril” when he was only 16 years old. Ginger had a keen
tactical mind and could always be relied upon to think for himself and get out of tricky situations. As well as get his comrades out of tricky situations.
Ginger was brought into the books as Biggles and Algy were in their late 20s or early 30s, so Capt Johns decided that a new younger character was needed so it would continue to appeal to his target audience. Ginger in fact took center stage in some of the stories, with Biggles taking a secondary role.
Lord Bertie Lissie
Bertie often provided the comic relief for Biggles stories. He wore a monocle and used old fashioned English phrases like “Old Boy” and “I say” etc etc. He often said things that irritated Biggles and got him growled at on a regular basis. He often seemed rather bumbling and eccentric but as Von Stalhein once said of Bertie in “Biggles Works it out”: “One of Bigglesworth’s men talks more blah than anyone I ever met. As if that isn’t enough he fools about with a monocle. He looks and sounds the complete ass – but he isn’t.”
He first appeared in the World War II stories as a member of Biggles’ 666 squadron in “Spitfire parade” and would remain a regular in Biggles stories, from then on in.
Erich Von Stalhein
Von Stalhein, a German officer, was to Biggles as Moriati was to Sherlock Holmes. He made appearances in many Biggles books and was always thwarted by Biggles. The first book he appeared in was “Biggles Flies East”. The great thing about Von Stalhein is that he wasn’t evil. He was actually a gentleman who only sometimes resorted to extreme measures, usually due to what was required of him by the people he was accountable to. Later in the series the two of them became allies and then even friends.
Biggles commanding officer during the war and also in the Special Air Police. If Biggles was around retirement age in the later novels I wonder how old this guy would have been!
Biggles' mechanic. Only occasionally had roles that weren't just cameos.
Biggles French counterpart while in the Special Air Police