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THE SPY WITH FLIPPERS

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Full Name: Captain Webb
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1966 - 1966

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Captain Webb is an agent with British Naval Intelligence.
       This is in itself interesting because Webb is a captain in the British Army, not the Navy. Specifically he is a member of the Royal Engineers having been a civil defense engineer prior to signing up.
       The time in which his recorded adventures take place is 1941, two years into World War II though a few months before America would join the conflicts. Webb would come to the attention of the Navy when he took it upon himself to assist in a matter that used not only his engineering expertise but also his personal hobby of underwater diving.
       It was after a German bombing attack on London in which an unexploded bomb became lodged underwater at the base of a vital rail bridge. Webb had heard a radio report of the problem and had raced to the area to see if he could be of assistance. Using the diving equipment he had created himself, he had located the exact position of the explosive and soon figured out how to disarm it.
       [It is important to note here that historically this would be taking place one year before Jacques Cousteau's breather apparatus would be unveiled and more than a decade before the more modern concept of SCUBA gear would come to be. Of course, this adventure was penned in 1966.]
       Two weeks would pass before a meeting of the Deputy Chiefs of the various armed forces would take place to discuss a problem removing a German aqueduct. In that meeting it was felt that a Naval Intelligence operative was needed to go into enemy lands and see to the destruction personally since bombing runs had so far failed. Since that person would need to have a good understanding of how to optimally set the explosives, it was the navy Admiral who would recall reading of Webb's achievement and suggest him. Suddenly the civil engineer turned Army captain was onboard a submarine heading to Germany.
       We learn after a time that one of Webb's areas of engineering expertise was in underwater structures which explains his knowledge of working in that environment and his self-designed and self-made equipment. Webb, described as a "tall, broad-shoulder man with keen features", enjoys his time beneath the surface, though likely not as much when having to deal with enemy frogmen or submarines.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1966

     The few adventures we have of Captain Webb, the Spy With Flippers, come to us from the British publication The Victor, a weekly magazine designed largely for teenage boys with a mixture of text stories, graphic stories, and articles.
     The publishers were constantly through the magazine's 30+ years adjusting its contents, adding new series frequently while dumping older ones that were no longer seeming of as much interest.
     Most of the stories, text or graphic, were told in serial format with a few pages in each issue. In the case of The Spy With Flippers, one story lasted two issues while the others tended to go up to six issues. Each issue would have three to four pages of text each, although many of those pages were combined with ads or other articles.


[Note: the adventures were untitled so I have created titles on my own.]

1 "The Dortmunster Aqueduct Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #268-#272, April 9 - May 7, 1966.
Having been noticed by the Royal Navy for his underwater skills, Captain Webb is asked to head by submarine into Germany to find a way to disable the Dortmunster Aqueduct to severely hamper the supply of raw material to a large number of factories.
Click here to read the story.

2 "The U-Boat Pen Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #272-#273, May 7 - May 14, 1966.
On the heels of his previous adventure, Captain Webb is asked to help the Royal Navy discover what a strange construction is along the coast of France near Lorient. With the aid of French Resistance, he will discover a previously unknown U-boat resupply facility in need of being eliminated.
Click here to read the story.

3 "The Battleship Tirpitz Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #274-#275, May 28 - June 4, 1966.
The German battleship Tirpitz is in dry dock but ready to be released back into the war. The British have a plan to take it out but it requires intimate knowledge of the gates to the facility, especially underwater. Captain Webb is asked to parachute near the place and conduct inspections to report back to HQ.
Click here to read the story.

4 "The High-Speed Railway Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #278-#281, June 18 - July 9, 1966.
The Direttissima is a high-speed railway line linking Rome and Naples. It is being used that April of 1942 to move large number of German troops and their supplies south to buttress Rommel's maneuvers. It is the job of civil engineer and surveyor Captain Webb to "find out the most effective means of cutting the railway for a long time" as the British did not have enough bombers to make repeated raids.
Click here to read the story.

5 "The Dams of the Ruhr Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #282-#283, July 16 - July 23, 1966.
The Nohme Dam and the Rede Dam on the Ruhr River were supplied much needed power to the German factories building armaments for the war effort. Simply dropping bombs on them would likely cause little real damage. More precise action was needed which required more detailed informaiton and that called for the underwater skills of Captain Webb.
Click here to read the story.

6 "The Construction In Calais Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #285-#287, August 6 - August 20, 1966.
British Military Intelligence is very interested in the new facility being readied in the area of Calais. Thinking it was possibly a U-boat station, they decide to send Captain Webb to investigate, knowing his underwater experience would be useful. What he finds, though, is a major site for the German version of the E-boat.
Click here to read the story.

7 "The Trouble With The Elsa Matter"
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1966

Published in The Victor #288, August 27, 1966.
Needing to get to a ride to Calais for his next mission, Captain Webb decides to make use of the German cargo vessel, the Elsa. Of course, being discovered on an enemy ship would not be a good thing.
[Note: this one-issue story probably should have come before the previous one. I could have my info wrong.]
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

     Once I got past the, well, odd name of this series, I found I actually enjoyed these stories quite a bit. I liked the uniqueness of the concept of an avid diver joining the Army only to find his underwater skills being called for by the Air Force and the Navy.
     We get very little information about Webb himself but the writer(s) threw in a lot of good intel from the War, all told in a way meant to understood by the target audience of teen boys. This made it easier for an old man like myself to grasp it.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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