In Biggles Cuts It Fine, Alfred Robinson was a castaway who was picked up by Biggles from Possession Island in the Crozets. Alf was from Wapping, London and had always wanted to go to sea. At 18, he joined a tramp steamer, the 1400 ton Kittiwake on his first voyage from London to Cape Town. At Cape Town, the ship took on cargo for Tasmania but the ship developed engine trouble six days out of Cape Town and struck an iceberg while adrift. Alf was thrown overboard. As the ship was sinking, he found a lifeboat hanging by the stern. He slashed the ropes with his knife and was fortunate that it hit the water the right way up. He climbed aboard but discovered it had no oars and so drifted for three days and nights before it went aground on Possession Island.
Alf found a food depot on Possession Island (often set up by passing ships to assist shipwrecked sailors) and managed to survived for a time. After about 4 or 5 months, he spotted a submarine off the island and he hurried to light a bonfire to send a signal but slipped on a rock and was knocked unconscious. When he came to, he found that the submarine had gone but a man, Willy had been left on the island. Willy, a German seaman, had been abandoned on the island by his Russian shipmates because he had consumption.
Alf looked after Willy for the six weeks before he succumbed to his illness. During this time, Willy, who was bitter about his shipmates for abandoning him, told Alf all about the voyage of the submarine. It had been doing survey work among the islands of the Magellan Straits at the Southern tip of South America. The submarine then proceeded to Hog Island in the Crozet group and did some more survey work there. It was then that the crew discovered Willy's consumption so the boat sailed for Possession Island to abandon him there.
When Biggles picked Alf up, he had been a castaway for 11 months. Alf's account confirmed for Biggles that there were indeed foreign powers surveying remote islands for possible use as military bases, as suspected by Major Charles. After Biggles flew Alf back to Cape Town, he reminded him not to say anything about the submarine, but neglected to prohibit him from speaking to the press altogether. As a result, Alf's account of being a castaway appeared in several Cape Town newspapers, and this resulted in a murder attempt being made on him. Some unknown assassins had knocked him unconscious and thrown him into the waters of the harbour. He was spotted and rescued just in time.
At the end of the book, Alf, who had recovered and who had earlier sworn off sailing on ships ever again after his experience, opted to join the Royal Navy.