In The Man Who Lost His Foot, Nobby Donovan was a wartime colleague of Biggles who became addicted to heroin.

During the war, Nobby had served in 241 Squadron. He had been wounded during the Battle of Britain and one of his feet had been amputated, a procedure which resulted left him in constant pain. One day after the war, he had been struck by a bout of pain. Not having his pills with him, he entered a chemists shop near Paddington and asked the chemist if he had something for the pain. The chemist, a Greek named Valesid, said he had, and gave him a white powder. Nobby was impressed by the effectiveness of this medication that he kept returning for more. By the time he discovered it was heroin, he had already become addicted. Valesid, knowing this, began to raise his prices.

Over time, Nobby was impoverished by his habit and, out of money and options, went to tell Biggles that he intended to throw a stone at a shop window and get sent to jail as a way of curing his addiction. Biggles, however, had a better idea, and sent Nobby on a sea voyage to Fremantle, Western Australia. Biggles reasoned that Nobby would be unlikely to find drugs on board the ship, and if he could endure the six week voyage, he be cured of the addiction. At the same time, Biggles set about to destroy the drug ring which did such harm to his friend. His investigations, beginning with the chemist Valesid led eventually to a drug ring operated by an Egyptian-Greek merchant named Arbram Nifar who actually grew his poppy and produced his drugs in a farm in Devon. With the assistance of Gaskin, a trap was laid which resulted in Nifar and his entire network of drug distributors being rounded up.

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