Biggles Cuts It Fine by W. E. Johns was first published in 1954 by Hodder and Stoughton. There have 3 editions in total in the English language, all by Hodder & Stoughton. The events in the book take place in the mid-1950s in the Southern oceans.


Intelligence sources have discovered that highly trained personnel from behind the Iron Curtain have been departing on board long-range submarines. In some cases, the submarines have returned without them. There is a suspicion that they might be setting up secret bases on remote islands with the intention of disrupting vital air and sea lanes in time of war. Biggles and co. are given a roving commission to explore the British and French territories in the South Indian Ocean for signs of "unwelcome tenants". With their friend Marcel Brissac, they fly to some of the most desolate places in the world: tiny islands frequently more than a thousand miles from their next nearest neighbour. 


Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) has an extended summary of the narrative in the book


The Special Air PoliceEdit

  • Air Commodore Raymond
  • Biggles
  • Algy Lacey
  • Ginger Hebblethwaite
  • Bertie Lissie

Friends and alliesEdit


  • Captain and mate of the Lady Alice - told Biggles Alf Robinson had borrowed money off the captain and then disappeared. Mate last saw him with two strangers in a dockside pub.
  • Chief Inspector at Cape Town - told Biggles about attempted murder of Alf Robinson.



  • Kittiwake
  • Lady Alice
  • Unnamed Russian submarine



  • French Southern and Antarctic Lands
    • St. Paul Island
    • Amsterdam Island
    • Kerguelen
    • Crozet Islands
      • Hog Island (today called Pig Island)
      • Possession Island
      • Penguin Island
  • Marion Island
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Cape Town
    • Marine airport
    • Airport Hotel
  • Western Australia


Other Research NotesEdit

Raymond's discourse on remote islands is largely accurate.

  • Dougherty Island was first mentioned in Biggles' Second Case.
  • Kerguelen--Biggles recalls his visit there in Second Case.
  • Clipperton Island--Raymond does get it quite right. There were some survivors. Here he lectures Biggles about Clipperton. In Biggles and the Deep Blue Sea, Biggles lectures him about it.
  • Heard, Saint Paul, the Crozets all exist
  • Swains Island in the South Seas is owned by the Jennings family. It was in the news around the time the book was written because of a labour dispute involving the landowners and indentured labour
  • Rose Island, or Rose Atoll in American Samoa was bought in 1870 for a five-dollar bill but details of this are hard to find.

The island details in chapter 2 are also accurate.

  • A lobster cannery was attempted on St. Paul Island but this was in 1929 and it closed in 1930. So it was old news for Marcel.[1]
  • The Meridian did get shipwrecked at Amsterdam Island in 1853. Most of the crew and passengers survived and were rescued after 12 days.[2]

References to the pastEdit




  1. Wikipedia article on Oubliés de île Saint Paul (the forgotten of St. Paul)
  2. See this article on the Meridian wreck for example

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