Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Worrals of the WAAF
I listen to BBC Digital Radio 7, which shares radio programs both new and old (but mostly old) over and over again. And although I'm much less of an anglophile than I used to be, I had heard of Biggles before - a fictional British character, a young pilot who goes out and has aventures around the world. (They air a dramatized version of a Biggles story.)
The same author also wrote a series of books featuring a woman pilot, named Worrals. This during World War II, when women pilots were part of the Air Transfer Auxiliary in England, ferrying all sorts of planes around the country - including Spitfires and Hurricanes -- and, unlike their counterparts in the USA, were actually paid the same amount for their services as men were. (In the States, the WASP made 70% of the pay of the men performing similar duties.)
THere were 11 books in the series, five of them appearing after the end of the war. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if any of these books have been released as paperbacks - I'd love to read them but not for $50 per book, which is the best price I could find...
The author, William Earl Johns (5 February 1893 - 21 June 1968) was an English pilot and writer of adventure stories, usually written under the name Captain W. E. Johns. A prolific writer, he wrote 98 Biggles books, 11 Worrals books, and dozens more featuring other characters.