Algy Flies Alone

By Sopwith

Disclaimer: I do not own, or claim to own, any of the Biggles series characters used in this work. This fan fiction was written for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered part of the official storyline.

Biggles landed his Camel on 266 aerodrome and jumped quickly from the cockpit. “Has Mr. Lacey gotten back yet?” he demanded of the NCO who had come running up to meet him.

“No, sir,” was the reply.

“What’s the matter, Biggles?” called Mahoney, as Biggles began striding toward the squadron office. “What’s happened to Algy?”

“I think he’s down,” replied Biggles grimly. “We ran into a dogfight by the Lines and when it was over, I saw him gliding down with his prop stopped.”

“If you were close to the Lines, perhaps he managed to get down,” suggested Mahoney hopefully.

“That’s what I thought,” agreed Biggles. “I’m just off to ask Wat if he’s heard anything.” They had reached the office by then, and just as Biggles put his hand out to turn the handle, the door flew open and almost hit the two airmen in the faces.

“Where’s Bigg—” began Wat Tyler, the RO. “Oh, there you are, Biggles, I was just looking for you.”

“Here, hold hard,” protested Biggles. “What’s all the excitement about?”

“It’s Algy,” explained Wat. “He’s just been on the phone to say that he managed to land on 287.”

“Is he all right?” asked Biggles quickly.

“Yes; but he’s afraid that his plane might be a write-off. He’s going to see if the mechanics can do anything about it. If it’s serviceable, he’ll fly himself back, or, if it’s not, he’ll borrow a tender from someone. He won’t be back just yet though; Wilks has invited him to lunch.”

“Oh, good,” said Biggles, feeling his tense muscles relax at the news that Algy was all right. “Well,” he went on, turning to Mahoney. “I think I could do with some lunch myself. Let’s get along to the mess.”


A bullet zipped through his propeller, and it stopped turning. Then his engine began a low whining screech that set his teeth on edge. Algy saw Biggles’ Camel pass by next to his, and he waved to show that he was going to go down.

The dogfight had been close to the Lines, and he had no doubt that he would land safely on his own side of the Lines. In fact, he had enough height to choose his landing ground with leisure.

287 Squadron loomed up in his sights and he made for it like a homing pigeon.

Algy skidded to a halt at the edge of 287 and leaped inelegantly from the cockpit of his Camel, landing in a heap a few feet away. He saw the ambulance start out toward him, and he jumped quickly to his feet, waving his arms to let the driver know that he was all right.

A crowd had gathered around his plane by this time, Wilks among them. “What have you been doing, Algy?” he jeered. “Playing tag with the Huns?”

Algy snorted, retorting hotly, “That’s more than you SE chaps can do!”

Wilks turned to the group of pilots around him. “Did you hear that, lads?” he asked mockingly. “The man just insulted us!”

Parker, of Wilks’ Flight, stepped forward and looked at the tail of Algy’s Camel, which had all but been shot off. “How you can land in a kite of this condition beats me!” he declared. “It isn’t an airplane—it’s a bundle of rags!”

Algy stared glumly at his Camel—or what was left of it. “Do you think you can fix it?” he asked one of the NCOs on the scene.

“We can try, sir,” was the dubious reply.

“Right,” said Algy. “See what you can do with it, will you? I’d better see about getting back.”

“What’s the hurry?” asked Wilks, stepping forward and taking Algy by the arm. “You can stay to lunch, can’t you?”

Algy hesitated, but, thinking of nothing in particular that he had to do, acquiesced. “Just let me ring up my squadron and tell them I won’t be straight back. I can fly back after lunch if the Camel is ready.”

“We’ll find you a tender or something if it isn’t,” promised Wilks. “Cheerio. Don’t be long.”


Algy, satisfied that his Camel was once more in good condition, climbed into the cockpit and took off. He started to head for 266, but then, musing to himself that he had nothing better to do, spun the Camel around on its axis and headed for the Line.

“I’ll just take a quick look,” he muttered. “Shouldn’t take too long. And after all, they’re not expecting me back for a bit.”

It struck him that he could have simply joined the pilots of 287 on their afternoon patrol, but it seemed foolish to turn back now that he was already in the air.

He crossed the Line, and instantly was bombarded by black bursts of archie. As usual, he ignored them, turning his head this way and that, and squinting into the sun to make sure that there were no enemy planes lurking there.

The sky in all directions was clear. Algy whistled as he circled in place for the second time, still scanning his surroundings for Huns. In a moment of daring, he took his Camel low over the archie battery and thumbed his nose at the gunners below in the time-honored tradition before zooming rapidly away.

He was just preparing to go back over to his own side of the Lines, when another machine appeared in the sky beside him. At first, Algy tensed, thinking it was an enemy plane, but then he relaxed as he saw that it was an SE5.

Its pilot waved a cheerful greeting, which Algy returned. The two planes fell in side by side for another circuit of the sky.

As they drifted back to their original positions, Algy felt a sudden prickling feeling go down the back of his neck, and he knew instinctively that something was wrong.

He made a lighting right hand turn, and it was a good thing that he did, for if he had not done so, he would have been killed by the deadly hail of lead that spat out at the spot where he had been only a second ago.


Algy pulled the Camel out of its turn and began firing without even thinking about it. His eyes scanned the sky, and he was astonished to discover that his attacker was nowhere to be seen.

Realization did not dawn on him gently; rather, it struck him all at once, as he suddenly wondered why there were no archie bursts following the SE he had just met.

And then the other plane, spluttering twin streams of tracer, turned to face him.

Algy bit his lip as the bullets tore into his machine. The SE had shown its true colors by firing at him, and he had no doubt that the anti-aircraft gunners below were in on the scheme, otherwise they would have been in on the action as well.

But somehow he faltered at the thought of shooting at a plane that carried nationality markings that matched his own. It felt…wrong, somehow.

The momentary hesitation almost cost him his life, for the pilot of the SE had no such qualms. He dived down on Algy’s tail, and fired again.

And all at once, Algy felt blazingly angry. He lost his temper. He lost his head. He lost all reason. Swinging the Camel around on its own axis, he zoomed wildly forward.

The only thought in his head was to ram the other pilot. “You skunk,” he muttered. “You hound.”

The SE pilot must have seen, or perhaps sensed, Algy’s fury, for he scrambled quickly out of the way, allowing the Camel to pass it by. But Algy was back in a flash, guns chattering. He raked the SE from end to end, feeling a savage satisfaction as the tail unit broke off, and then the right wing. After that, the result was a foregone conclusion, and he turned away just before the remains of the SE hit the ground.

He saw tiny figures dashing from the archie battery towards the machine. Whether they managed to get the pilot out or not, he did not see. A moment later, the archie bursts started up again, and he made for the Lines, feeling slightly sick.


Biggles, leading the afternoon patrol in Mahoney’s absence, was surprised, but not particularly worried by, Algy’s non-appearance. He supposed that Algy was waiting for his Camel to be fixed, or perhaps was talking to Wilks or some of the other pilots.

He found Cowley and Thomas waiting for him by their Camels, and he quickly climbed into his own plane and took off.

Biggles snatched a look behind him to make sure that there were two planes at his wingtips, then settled down for the patrol.

He was flying at five thousand feet when he crossed the Lines. Black specks, growing rapidly in size, came into his line of vision. Shaking his wings, he sped on, and soon he could see that the black specks were actually five albatrosses.

He fired a quick burst to warm his guns, and then dived down at the five Huns. At the last possible second, some instinct made him turn his head, and he was horrified to see at least half a dozen enemy planes coming down on the tail of his formation.

He had flown into a trap.


Biggles went cold all over, and, looking to his right, he saw, as if in slow motion, Thomas’ Camel collide with the leading Albatross. A sheet of flame burst up where the two machines met.

“Thomas is gone,” he thought to himself. That made it ten to two.

An Albatross came speeding towards him, and Biggles’ grip tightened on the Camel’s controls as he resolved, that, whatever happened, he would not turn. “If I have to go, I might as well take one of them with me,” he muttered, pouring tracer into the oncoming black-crossed plane.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed, without much interest, a small black speck just under the Albatross formation, growing rapidly.

It was a solitary Camel, rushing up behind the enemy machines at reckless haste. Zipping through the two rearmost Albatrosses, it almost took off its own wing, but whether the pilot chose to ignore that fact, or if he simply didn’t notice, Biggles did not know.

The Camel tore up behind the Albatross that was drawing ever closer to Biggles’ machine, and Biggles saw twin spurts of tracer being fired at his antagonist in short, sharp bursts. The nose of the Hun machine jerked up, and he knew, without a doubt, that the pilot had been hit.

And still the newcomer Camel raced on, swerving around Biggles and continuing up to the planes that formed the trap.

As the Camel passed him by, Biggles recognized the machine. It was Algy’s!


Algy’s Camel zoomed up and almost rammed the leading plane head-on. In fact, it was only thanks to the quick reflexes of the Hun pilot that a crash was narrowly avoided.

As it was, one of Algy’s wings began to crumple up on itself, like a scrunched-up piece of paper, and Biggles looked on in wide-eyed horror as the Camel, trailing its useless wing, continued on into the enemy formation. Biggles could hear the high-pitched whine of Algy’s Camel over the drone of his own engine as Algy forced it to go on.

“The fool, the crazy lunatic!” he exclaimed to himself, dry-mouthed. “He’s going to crash in a minute—he can’t possibly stay up with only one wing.”

Almost before the words had finished leaving his lips, Algy’s plane made a sickening wobble and went into a wild spin that Biggles knew could only have one result.


It took Algy almost a minute to realize that he was spinning earthwards. It took him about half that time to discover that his Camel no longer had a right wing. Desperately, he tried to pull out of the spin, but the controls were slow to respond, and he had his heart in mouth as he cast an anguished look downwards, hoping for a place to land.

Fortunately, with his height, 287 could just be reached—if his plane would just hold up for a minute more.

It did—almost.

What Algy did on the aerodrome could not be called landing. He dropped out of the sky like a dead bird and flopped limply onto the runway like a fish out of water.

Even before the plane had stopped moving, he was unbuckling his straps, leaping wildly out of his seat.

He was just in time, too. As he dove headfirst onto the grass, the Camel went up in a sheet of flame behind him, and he could hear the bullets in his guns exploding.


Another Camel skated in and made a cross-wind landing. The pilot, Biggles, jumped down and hurried over to the crowd surrounding Algy—or what he assumed to be Algy.

Pushing his way rudely through the spectators, he was soon beside Algy. “Algy,” he panted, anxiously. “Algy, old man, are you all right?”

For almost a full minute there was no reply. Then Algy slowly turned to face Biggles. One look at the pale face, and Biggles feared the worst. He turned, desperately seeking the Medical Officer, or anyone else who could help, but Algy grabbed his arm and gasped out, “Not…hurt….winded.”

“What’s going on?” demanded Wilks in amazement. “Didn’t we just patch up your plane? Did you hit a balloon or something?”

“The young fool went for a picnic over in Hunland,” said Biggles. Briefly, he described the dogfight.

Presently, Algy was able to sit up, and, after ten minutes or so, he managed to get shakily to his feet. A quick inspection revealed no serious injuries beyond an elbow that had been skinned in his wild dive from the plane.

“I’ll get a tender to send you back,” announced Wilks. “I’d go with you, but the CO’s just got word of a joker operating just over the Line, and we’re all going off to try and get him.”

“What sort of joker?” inquired Biggles, curiously.

“An SE, apparently. It gets close to lone pilots and then turns on them when they aren’t expecting it. It’s been causing quite a headache for our chaps.”

“You needn’t bother,” said Algy, brushing himself off.

“Why not?”

“Because I got the blighter not twenty minutes ago,” said Algy, carelessly.


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© The Algy Chronicles
Maira Gall