Biggles Foreign Legionnaire by W. E. Johns was first published in 1954 by Hodder and Stoughton. It was the 50th Biggles book to be published. There have been nine subsequent editions in the English language. The events in the book take place in the early-1950s in North Africa and the Middle-east.
Unknown aircraft are dropping bombs at political hotspots around the world. Are these the work of terrorists or fanatics? Biggles' French colleague, Marcel Brissac thinks not. There is a war-mongering syndicate at work. Someone seems determined to prevent peace and keep wars going in order to sell arms at higher prices to both sides. Nobody knows who they are but the syndicate seems very wealthy and organised. There is a slender lead--one of the syndicate's pilots has been captured and he is a deserter from the French Foreign Legion. And many of the recent deserters of the Legion seem to have aviation backgrounds. So Marcel, Biggles and Ginger become legionnaires on the trail of the war-mongers.
Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) has an extended summary of the narrative in the book
The Special Air PoliceEdit
- Air Commodore Raymond
- Bertie Lissie
Allies and FriendsEdit
- Sir George Graham - British Charge d'Affaires in Cairo. Mentioned by Air Commodore Raymond.
- Assorted agents and men of the gang
- Breguet light bomber - probably a Breguet 693
- de Havilland Comet - Raymond rides one from the U.K. to Cairo.
- Hawker Hart - used by the Royal Iraqi Air Force during the raid of the Valley of the Tartars. Actually, the Iraqis used a variant of the Hart called the Hawker Audax also known in Iraq as the Nisr.
- Silvanus - yacht belonging to Nestor Janescu. Cy Lindsay kills him oboard the yacht.
- Sidi Bel Abbes, Algieria
- Zebrit - fictional town in Algeria, location of Foreign Legion training centre
- Chella - village. Biggles and Ginger end up there after their stolen Breguet crashes
- Maison Blanche Airport - Biggles and Ginger board a regular service to Alexandria
- Aladdin's Lamp night-club, Stretta Albani
- Hotel Continental, North Crescent Square
- Hotel Napoli, North Crescent Square
- Alexandria Airport
- Kirkuk - navigation waypoint on the way to Valley of the Tartars
- Valley of the Tartars, Iraq - in Kurdistan, fictional location of the secret squadron
- Mosul - Algy heads there after his reconnaissance and concluding that Biggles and Ginger must be dead.
- Maude Hotel - an actual hotel where the team rested at the end of the mission and where all the explanations were made. Von Stalhein takes his leave from here.
- Inagua - mentioned in Chapter 1 that Von Stalhein had been "chucked out" after the Inagua affair--see Biggles in the Blue.
Other Research NotesEdit
(see also table at Timeline of the Biggles Stories)
- After 1952. Cy Lindsay's mention of his brother dying in the Korean War places the events after 1950. Raymond caught a Comet flight. These entered service in May 1952.
- Before 1954. The Canal Zone is still in existence in Egypt, which places the events before 1956. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the Legionnaire camp at Zabrit and also among the French settlers which Biggles met, so obviously the Algerian War of Independence has not begun, which places the events before November 1954.
- The next Air Police book, Biggles in Australia is likely to be in early 1953. Thus "Legionnaire" is more likely to be 1952 rather than later.