Author of numerous adventure stories, particularly Ace Pilot and adventurer Biggles; his pseudonym was Captain W.E. Johns.
His childhood dream was to be a soldier, and a stint in the Army earned him an assignment to the Royal Flying Corps.
He became a journalist after leaving the RAF, writing extensively about aviation and eventually publishing his own magazine devoted to it.
His father was a tailor, and his mother grew up in a butcher's family.
His Biggles character was unsuccessfully adapted for a 1986 film titled Biggles: Adventures in Time, which starred Peter Cushing as Air Commodore William Raymond.