In Biggles in the Gobi, Mr Bates was one of the refugee missionaries whom Biggles was sent to rescue from Western China. With 10 other colleagues, he had been hiding in the caves of Nan-hu oasis.

Bates, an American, does not appear in the book in person. He had been badly wounded in the crossfire when the troops of Colonel Ma Chang attacked a group of Kirghiz horsemen who were sheltering at Nan-hu and died of his wounds two days later. He was buried under some willows at the oasis together with Mr Carter, another missionary who had been killed.

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