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In Biggles Buys a Watch, Flight Sergeant Crane was an ex-squadron mate of Biggles who got duped into buying a watch from smuggler Roderick McDew. Crane served in Biggles' squadron in North Africa (see Biggles Sweeps the Desert). After the war, he got a job as a doorkeeper at some big stores on the Strand. Meeting Biggles one day, he told Biggles about how he got duped into buying a watch for £5 from another ex-squadron mate, a corporal-rigger named Roderick McDew who apparently had been a "no-use scrounger" during the war and was still behaving as he always did. McDew had approached Crane for a loan of £5 but when Crane refused, he asked Crane to take his watch as security. When McDew did not come back to redeem the watch, Crane knew he had been "sold" the watch. Out of sympathy, Biggles bought the watch over from Crane, and being curious, set out to investigate McDew's watch racket.

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