Worrals of the WAAF

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Worrals of the WAAF

Postby von Zoyton » 23 Feb 2014, 13:58

Currently (before I get the kind offers of books sent to me) I have 2 WEJ books, Baltic and Worrals of the WAAF which I was very lucky to get from the promotion of this new printing (seen elsewhere on the forum)

Finally got round to reading it. What a super book! On reading my last Biggles book I kind of thought all other WEJ output would be stale; but no!

You would assume WEJ would be no good at girls, after the chaps, and the cardboard women in the Biggles books, but not so. At no time am I thinking they are Biggles or the chaps or replicas thereof. What a genius the man was! These really are female characters. Further more he is so clever to make it girly but not too much; ie having horses and the like.

It is still a highly engaging adventure and WEJ so cleverly knows the exact skills of his leading characters. There is sexual discrimination but being WEJ he does not labour the point or overdo it. Further more the chaps who doubt them soon get mud in their faces.

Looking forward to the rest of the story!
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby kylie_koyote » 23 Feb 2014, 14:03

I quite like Worrals and Frecks. They're plucky chappesses.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 23 Feb 2014, 14:05

von Zoyton wrote:Currently (before I get the kind offers of books sent to me) I have 2 WEJ books, Baltic and Worrals of the WAAF which I was very lucky to get from the promotion of this new printing (seen elsewhere on the forum) Finally got round to reading it. What a super book! On reading my last Biggles book I kind of thought all other WEJ output would be stale; but no! You would assume WEJ would be no good at girls, after the chaps, and the cardboard women in the Biggles books, but not so. At no time am I thinking they are Biggles or the chaps or replicas thereof. What a genius the man was! These really are female characters. Further more he is so clever to make it girly but not too much; ie having horses and the like. It is still a highly engaging adventure and WEJ so cleverly knows the exact skills of his leading characters. There is sexual discrimination but being WEJ he does not labour the point or overdo it. Further more the chaps who doubt them soon get mud in their faces. Looking forward to the rest of the story!


I concur with you....very capable is young Joan Worralson! I quite like Worrals Flies East, although I am biased as it is the 2nd WEJ book I ever read [after Biggles Flies South].
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Tommy Smith » 23 Feb 2014, 14:16

Haven't read WAAFs. Horses? Very of it's time.
'Worrals of the Islands' steamed along at a cracking pace and I was far from disappointed.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby DrBiggles » 23 Feb 2014, 17:42

I found all of the Worrals books to be extremely good - except the last one, 'Worrals Investigates', which is very disappointing.
I personally think that Worrals Flies Again was one of the best books Johns ever wrote. Check out my Worrals web site at
www.worrals.com
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby von Zoyton » 23 Feb 2014, 19:19

DrBiggles wrote:I personally think that Worrals Flies Again was one of the best books Johns ever wrote.

Really? High praise indeed, I may have to check that one out, good on Indie books for resurrecting them!

DrBiggles wrote: Check out my Worrals web site at
http://www.worrals.com

splendid!! :yay: :yay:

I like that the original illustrations show Worrals as a young woman and not an older girl. After-all in those days people did look older. In the indie book she looks too young, like 12 not 18.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby SaintedAunt » 23 Feb 2014, 21:33

I have always found Worrals very difficult to get on with. But given the praise here, maybe I should try again :)
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Fairblue » 23 Feb 2014, 21:58

SaintedAunt wrote:I have always found Worrals very difficult to get on with. But given the praise here, maybe I should try again :)

That goes for me too, SA. I might give the girls a second chance. :D
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby SaintedAunt » 23 Feb 2014, 22:19

Fairblue wrote:
SaintedAunt wrote:I have always found Worrals very difficult to get on with. But given the praise here, maybe I should try again :)

That goes for me too, SA. I might give the girls a second chance. :D

I must admit she's not high on my list of priorities ;)
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 23 Feb 2014, 22:31

At our Brisbane get-together OzB put me on the spot and asked me which series apart from Biggles I though was the best. It was a very difficult choice but in the end I said Worrals because I think Johns did do a very good job with the books, much for the reasons already outlined. Gimlet's good but they could just have easily been Biggles stories, the space ones start out well but get progressively sillier, and Steeley isn't really written for children so I don't think you can make direct comparisons.
I certainly didn't receive unanimous support from the group, there were criticisms, again similar to what's been said here, but as we all know, it's an individual thing. Personally I think given the time he was writing them, Johns managed to pull them off quite well.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby SaintedAunt » 23 Feb 2014, 22:40

Thanks SS. Very useful - confirms my thinking that Worrals can wait! I would quite like to read the Steeley stories next. So far I've only read 'The Missing Page'.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 24 Feb 2014, 07:50

Sizzling Sausages wrote:At our Brisbane get-together OzB put me on the spot and asked me which series apart from Biggles I though was the best. It was a very difficult choice but in the end I said Worrals because I think Johns did do a very good job with the books, much for the reasons already outlined. Gimlet's good but they could just have easily been Biggles stories, the space ones start out well but get progressively sillier, and Steeley isn't really written for children so I don't think you can make direct comparisons.
I certainly didn't receive unanimous support from the group, there were criticisms, again similar to what's been said here, but as we all know, it's an individual thing. Personally I think given the time he was writing them, Johns managed to pull them off quite well.


I agree that Worrals is the best 'children's' series that WEJ did after Biggles & the team [my personal opinion]. I may be biased, given that I read Worrals Flies East directly after my 1st Biggles book [Flies South] when I was only 10. It was many yrs later that I read a Steeley book [Murder By Air], & with the benefit of hindsight now, I can say that Steeley is for a more mature audience, however Worrals was 2nd on my list of priorities for all of my early WEJ reading. :| :yay:
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Miss Carstairs » 24 Feb 2014, 14:17

I've just read some Worrals books and I have to agree 'Flies Again' is a corker - it really stands out to me in the haze of many WEJ adventures - that is, I can remember it :P
I think the female characters and good and I think WEJ did well not trying to make them too blatantly different to his male characters - if that makes any sense.

I wasn't so gone on 'Of the WAAF' and found 'Worrals Down Under' a bit awful, but I know Aborigines were perceived as pretty much inhuman back then :( so I try to forgive WEJ his cringey portraits of them.

I hate the illustrations in the new books, sigh. Worrals looks like a crazy boarding school kid a la 'Mallory Towers.' but they do indeed look a lot more like the cartoon covers you see in the libraries these days, and if it gets kids reading them...
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Spitfire666 » 24 Feb 2014, 15:12

Miss Carstairs wrote:I hate the illustrations in the new books, sigh. Worrals looks like a crazy boarding school kid a la 'Mallory Towers.' but they do indeed look a lot more like the cartoon covers you see in the libraries these days, and if it gets kids reading them...

We did query the new illustrations at the book launch. We were told this is how they are now. I do think Worrals and Frecks look like schoolgirls in them. The stories were written to encourage girls to join the WAAF, so presumably aimed at those about 17 - 18, although they were read by younger girls.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby von Zoyton » 24 Feb 2014, 19:08

When I have a spare £10 I shall get Flies Again, it is on Amazon quite cheap :)
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 25 Feb 2014, 08:27

Sizzling Sausages wrote:I certainly didn't receive unanimous support from the group, there were criticisms, again similar to what's been said here, but as we all know, it's an individual thing. Personally I think given the time he was writing them, Johns managed to pull them off quite well.

I think I was one of those who agreed with you, SS. I particularly enjoyed the WWII Worrals' books and having recently acquired "WAAF" - which I hadn't previously read - was quite stoked to read it. My personal favourite out of them all is "Flies Again". Great story and had me unable to put it down as a girl, and one of my favourites to revisit :D

Miss Carstairs wrote:I...found 'Worrals Down Under' a bit awful, but I know Aborigines were perceived as pretty much inhuman back then :( so I try to forgive WEJ his cringey portraits of them.

Have to agree with you Miss C. I only read it once many years ago and it didn't endear itself to me, but neither did "Biggles in Australia" for precisely the same reason. This was one area where wej didn't do his homework :roll:

Apart from that (and I've not read "Worrals Investigates"), I thoroughly enjoyed Worrals. To be honest, in my own years in the WRAAF in the 60's, I heard more than one female officer and senior NCO talking just like Worrals :D
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 25 Feb 2014, 22:24

RAAF Spitfire Girl wrote:
Miss Carstairs wrote:I...found 'Worrals Down Under' a bit awful, but I know Aborigines were perceived as pretty much inhuman back then :( so I try to forgive WEJ his cringey portraits of them.

Have to agree with you Miss C. I only read it once many years ago and it didn't endear itself to me, but neither did "Biggles in Australia" for precisely the same reason. This was one area where wej didn't do his homework :roll:

I know it's obviously to do with being Australian myself, but this is the one area where I find it hard to defend Johns against the racism allegations. Most of his depictions of other races give them at least some redeeming features (unless they're the baddie, of course!), but his portrayal of Aborigines in both these books is absolutely dreadful. Sadly, though, he possibly did do some basic homework - in Australia at the time, although attitudes were slowly starting to change, there were still plenty of people who did think like that (even more sadly, I suspect there are still some around today). It wasn't really until the 1960s that there was a marked change on a wider level in the way Aborigines were regarded. So it is still possible to include Johns' treatment of them in the 'reflecting the attitudes of his time' defense, but I have to do so through gritted teeth.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 26 Feb 2014, 10:16

Sizzling Sausages wrote:I know it's obviously to do with being Australian myself, but this is the one area where I find it hard to defend Johns against the racism allegations. Most of his depictions of other races give them at least some redeeming features (unless they're the baddie, of course!), but his portrayal of Aborigines in both these books is absolutely dreadful. Sadly, though, he possibly did do some basic homework - in Australia at the time, although attitudes were slowly starting to change, there were still plenty of people who did think like that (even more sadly, I suspect there are still some around today). It wasn't really until the 1960s that there was a marked change on a wider level in the way Aborigines were regarded. So it is still possible to include Johns' treatment of them in the 'reflecting the attitudes of his time' defense, but I have to do so through gritted teeth.

I would have to (equally as sadly) agree with your assessment, SS. My first opportunity to exercise my vote was in the 1967 Referendum which finally accorded Aboriginal people citizenship and official recognition as Australians!!!! (I still struggle with those two books, though...)
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby von Zoyton » 26 Feb 2014, 10:30

I have to say that I was a little disappointed with 'of the WAAF' , but then WEJ was just finding his feet with it. Looking forward to reading 'flies again' someday though
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby DrBiggles » 19 Nov 2017, 18:04

If you want to see the illustrations from the French version of this book - called WORRALS DE LA R.A.F - just click here ...

http://www.worrals.com/Worrals%20de%20la%20RAF/
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Kismet » 20 Nov 2017, 00:17

I rather like these. Worrals looks like a sweater girl in them and I like her dresses and skirts. I'm pleased to see she paid attention and developed her rope climbing skills in the school gym. I recognise the technique.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Wanderer » 20 Nov 2017, 01:01

These are miles better than the French Biggles and companions...
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby kylie_koyote » 20 Nov 2017, 14:44

She has an alarmingly small waist in the first image. Is she wearing a corset? Bit tricky to fly in one, I should think.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Tommy Smith » 20 Nov 2017, 15:53

But she is doing the standard pilot hand thing.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Tracer » 20 Nov 2017, 17:23

Tommy Smith wrote:But she is doing the standard pilot hand thing.



Yes: I really liked that.

The waist is downright scary :shock:
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Tommy Smith » 20 Nov 2017, 18:19

Having Googled Worrals the 'Girls Own' black and white images are rather good, full of life.
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby DrBiggles » 21 Nov 2017, 23:43

Tommy Smith wrote:Having Googled Worrals the 'Girls Own' black and white images are rather good, full of life.



You can see them all at my Girl's Own web site here
http://www.girlsown.info
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Spitfire666 » 22 Nov 2017, 11:38

DrBiggles wrote:
Tommy Smith wrote:Having Googled Worrals the 'Girls Own' black and white images are rather good, full of life.

You can see them all at my Girl's Own web site here
http://www.girlsown.info

Very nice, DrB! And to think our Queen used to look like that (April 1943).
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Re: Worrals of the WAAF

Postby Tommy Smith » 22 Nov 2017, 12:15

Very classy images of capable women.

I did enjoy WEJ article from July '41 http://www.girlsown.info/10/01/ His description of his chum 'Taffy' made me wonder if he was written in as a bit of a cameo/WEJ joke in the books.

It's good to hear his thoughts, the articles are very much his style.
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