fighting with enemy territory below. So, gambling on the Hun repeating
the tactics he had followed during the encounter of the morning, he deliberately spun. As he hoped, the other machine followed him. Twisting his
head round, he could see the Hun spinning down behind him. He counted
six turns, came out, and instantly spun the other way. This time, however,
he allowed the machine to make only one turn. He pulled it out into
a loop, half rolled on to even keel on top of the loop, and to his intense
satisfaction saw the Hun go spinning past him. The short spin had caught
him off his guard, and as he came out, Biggles thrust home his attack. He
deliberately held his fire until it was impossible to miss, and then fired
one of the longest bursts he had ever fired in his life.
The Hun jerked upwards, fell off on to his wing, and spun. Biggles was
taking no chances. He followed it down without taking his eyes off him
for an instant in case it was a ruse. But it was no ruse. The orange Fokker went nose first into the ground with its engine full on, and Biggles
stiffened in his seat as he watched that fearful crash. He circled for
a minute or two, looking for a suitable place to land; it was not his usual
practice to look at unpleasant sights too closely, but on this occasion an
idea had struck him, and he had a definite object in view.
He saw people hurrying towards the crash from all points of the compass, he put the Camel down in an adjacent field and joined the hurrying
His great fear was that the wreck would be removed piecemeal by souvenir-hunters before he could reach it, but he found an officer on the
spot when he got there, and the machine lay exactly as it had fallen.
It was five o’clock when he reported to the Squadron Office. Major Mullen
looked up from his desk as he entered. “Ah, you’ve brought your report,”
“Er — yes, sir.”
“Good. First of all, though, you had better read what I have said. Here
is the minute; I shall attach your report to it.”
Biggles took the buff sheet and felt his face go red with shame as he
read a eulogy of his conduct and exploits since he had joined the Squadron. The C.O., he knew, must have gone to considerable trouble in the
matter, for he had looked up a large number of combat reports – not all
his own – and pinned them to the document. Further, he had evidently
been in communication with Major Paynter, for a lengthy report from his
old C.O. was also attached. Biggles did not read it all through but laid it
on the C.O.’s desk.
“Thank you, sir,” he said quietly, “but I’m afraid I don’t deserve such
“That is for me to decide,” replied the C.O. Then, with a quick change
of tone, he added, “What on earth possessed you to behave like that this
morning, and before such an audience, too?” A slow smile spread over
“Well, the fact of the matter is, sir,” he said sheepishly, “I was in the
air without any ammunition. It sounds silly, I know, but I had arranged
to fight a camera-gun duel with Wilks – that is, Wilkinson, of 287, who
claimed that his S.E. was better than my Camel.”
“Then why, in the name of heaven, didn’t you tell that interfering old
fool – no, I don’t mean that – why didn’t you tell the General so?”
Biggles shrugged his shoulders. “I find it hard to argue with people who
form their own opinions before they know the facts.”
“Like that, was it?”
“Just like that, sir!”
“I see. Well, let me have your report.”
“I’m afraid it’s rather a bulky one, sir,” replied Biggles, struggling with
something under his tunic. The C.O. stared in wide-eyed amazement.
“What in the name of goodness have you got there?” he gasped.
Biggles slowly unfolded a large sheet of orange fabric on which was
painted a Maltese Cross and beside it an Ace of Spades. He laid it on
the C.O.’s desk. “That, sir, is the hide of the hound who made me bust my
Camel this morning. I chanced to meet him again this afternoon, and on
that occasion, I had lead in my guns. I think H.Q. will recognise that Ace
of Spades, and perhaps it will speak plainer than words. I’m not much of
a hand with a pen, anyway.”
First published in the book "THE COCKPIT" (August 1934) and later in
the book "THE RAID" (April 1935). Taken from the book "BIGGLES OF THE
SPECIAL AIR POLICE" (September 1953), where the Fokker D.VII type
was changed to Fokker D.VIII.
The blue and yellow Camel with this serial number was based on an
illustration for Johns' short story CAUGHT NAPPING, which does not
feature Biggles. In addition, it was slightly altered (blue instead of yellow
struts) as part of our fictional modifications. If You wish to have a "proper"
fictional Biggles Camel from the blue and yellow period of Johns' work,
simply omit the serial number on the vertical fin and give all the struts a
yellow color. That's it!
INFO Eduard - September 2021