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BEN BLOGGS

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Full Name: Ben Bloggs
Series Name: Ben Bloggs - Extra Special Agent
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1960 - 1960

ABOUT THE SERIES

Ben Bloggs is an agent of MI5.

Except he is not! Well, there is a Ben Bloggs who is a highly respected and experienced operative with that British intelligence organization but he is NOT this Ben Bloggs. Obviously, this requires some explanation.

The year is 1940. The War with Germany has just recently begun and one of the many men showing up to volunteer for military service was our Ben Bloggs. He was rejected because he had flat feet. Still, he was told there were other ways of serving his country and two options were presented: work on a farm to help produce food for the troops or work in a factory to help produce war supplies. He chose the former so a little farm near Shrewsbury received his assistance.

So it is that Bloggs, described as a "big, amiable-look" fellow who did not look in the least like a secret agent, possessing "broad shoulders, mighty hands, and a round, pleasant face, went to the countryside to do his part for the war effort.

To say the farmer there was pleased with the help would be less than accurate. "Bloggs needs constant supervision. Given a job to do, he goes at it with a will but he lacks the ability to make his own decisions." After a few months, the farmer suggested that a transfer was not a bad idea so came the orders to move to a different farm, a bigger place near Warwick. It would be this switch that brought our Bloggs into the cloak and dagger world.

In the compartment on the train that Bloggs took to his new location was another man though because our Bloggs was a shy individual, the two did not speak. A bomb from a German plane would cause trouble for the train and in the resulting crash the car carrying the two men derailed and chaos was felt. The other man was knocked out. Our Bloggs was bounced a bit but otherwise alright. He grabbed his coat and his suitcase and climbed out, alerting the arriving authorities. And that's when the confusion happened, if you have not seen it coming already.

The other fellow was Benjamin Bloggs, highly valued and respected and experienced operative with MI5 heading to his new staging point for his next mission. It was that Bloggs whose coat our Bloggs grabbed and in its pocket his warrant card. Back then there were no pictures to prove the bearer was the owner. And when our Bloggs honestly and correctly identified himself, the authorities looking at the warrant card he had handed over without looking himself saw he was an important man and immediately contacted the higher-ups who whisked the wrong man to the wrong place.

Suddenly our Bloggs was on a plane heading for a night landing in France to join the Resistance to fight the Germans. And the slowly reviving other Bloggs was given 'his' instructions to continue on to work for a while on a farm. Many requests for clarification would bring the same response - just keep doing what your doing, all is fine.

Now one very important fact to mention here about our Bloggs is while he is admittedly not the brightest bulb in the chandelier and definitely not someone who would take initiative, he is an expert in one field and that is languages. He has a terrific knack for them and speaks French almost like a native and German as if he had lived there his whole life. This will prove extremely useful in the adventures that he has.

And those adventures are funny! The things that Bloggs is asked to do, each of which he has no idea at all how to accomplish, are varied and interesting and the way that he remarkably and usually unintentionally pulls off are delightful to read.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1960

       The Rover was a very impressive British boys magazine with an incredible longevity, running from 1922 to 1961 for a total of 1,855 issues.
       [Please note that while that awesome run came to an end in 1961, a new sequence began with issue #1 of Rover and Adventure which ran for 142 issues before returning to the title The Rover for 5 issues before becoming Rover and Wizard for 301 issues before going back to The Rover before disappearing into The Wizard at issue 626 in June of 1970. So, Rover-ish titles numbered 2,481 in all.]
       In The Rover, the adventures of Ben Bloggs had the title of Big Ben Bloggs - Extra Special Agent. The 8 stories ran in consecutive issues quite near the end of the main run, starting on August 27, 1960 with #1835 and going until October 15, 1960 with #1842.
       The adventures were retold in the pages of The Victor five years later in a near-sequential order, running from November 27, 1965 to February 12, 1966 and appearing in issues #249, #252, #254, #255, #256, #258, #259, and #260. The title for each of these was Ben Bloggs - Extra Special Agent. Apparently he was no longer considered Big.


Note that there were no titles given any of these adventures so I furnished them myself. Any blame for them goes to me.

1 The German Fortification Situation The German Fortification Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1835, Aug. 27, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #249, Nov. 27, 1965.
Ben Bloggs is ordered to fly by secret plane to France where he is given the instructions to infiltrate a German fortification and learn its physical specifications. Dumbfounded as to how he would do such a thing, he is told in jest he should just walk right up and ask. So he does. And succeeds, to his astonishment. Of course, being dressed like a Gestapo agent does help sometimes.
Click here to read the story.

2 The German Ammunitions Dump Situation The German Ammunitions Dump Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1836, Sep. 3, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #252, Dec. 18, 1965.
When told his next mission is to blow up a munitions dump, Ben Bloggs' first question was how did one go about doing such a crazy thing. He is told he must get by with scant resources so all he has to work with are six match-box bombs, though Bloggs has no idea what those are.
Click here to read the story.

3 The Germen Counter-Espionage Situation The Germen Counter-Espionage Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1837, Sep. 10, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #254, Jan. 1, 1966.
When Moulin receives word that a fellow Resistance leader has likely perished, he knew that the man had been in possession of vital messages to and from London. It was imperative that Ben Bloggs locate that team's number two man to see if he knew where the messages were hidden. That second in command, named Gaugine, happens to live in an apartment right next to the regional German counter-espionage group.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Panzer Tank Division Situation The Panzer Tank Division Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1838, Sep. 17, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #255, Jan. 8, 1966.
A request has been received from London to be given to Ben Bloggs which is asking the impossible from one man. The German 2nd Panzer Tank Division had recently and secretly arrived in France from Italy. It was currently hidden in the wooded region near Caen, awaiting a suspected invasion from England. The desired was for a British bombers to destroy them but to do that the location must be clearly marked which meant that someone had to find a way to start a fire in the middle of the tank position on the right night at exactly the proper time.
Click here to read the story.

5 The German Coastal Defense Headquarters Situation The German Coastal Defense Headquarters Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1839, Sep. 24, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #256, Jan. 15, 1966.
In 1944, the fact that the Allies were going to land 'any day now' was common knowledge; where, of course, was a closely guarded secret. One of the many things London was concerned about was a German general named von Keppel who had his headquarters in the Pas de Calais. The orders were to eliminate Keppel and destroy any anti-invasion plans he may have come up with. To do this, it was decided that a large amount of nitroglycerin would need to be secreted into the HQ and then exploded. It would be Ben Bloggs' job to find a way in.
Click here to read the story.

6 The German Phony Group-Captain Situation The German Phony Group-Captain Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1840, Oct. 1, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #258, Jan. 29, 1966.
A Group-Captain of the RAF was shot down over the area of France where Ben Bloggs and his Resistance associates were operating. It fell to them to help get him to the coast to be returned to England but with someone of that high a rank, the urge to boast is strong and soon the Germans know of the operation. When the local Abwehr leader decides to round up the whole group, it makes Bloggs' part so much more dangerous.
Click here to read the story.

7 The Mass Resistance Capture Situation The Mass Resistance Capture Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1841, Oct. 8, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #259, Feb. 5, 1966.
The year is 1944 and the luck for the Resistance group lead by Moulin had run out. In a quick raid, many key members were taken prisoner by the Germans and with D-Day rapidly approaching, the damage was severe. Luckily, in the minds of both London and the few free members, Ben Bloggs had not been snared as well so they all looked to him to find a way of doing the impossible and freeing their colleagues.
Click here to read the story.

8 The Too Many Ben Bloggs Situation The Too Many Ben Bloggs Situation
Written by Unknown
Copyright: 1960

First appearing in The Rover #1842, Oct. 15, 1960. Reprinted in The Victor #260, Feb. 12, 1966.
Shortly after D-Day, Benjamin Bloggs finally convinced his CO that he was the real agent and that the fellow busy in France was an imposter. Fearing Ben was a mole, the CO sent word to the Resistance to capture the phony Bloggs and send him back to London. Meanwhile, Benjamin Bloggs leads a team to France to make sure the fake was captured. Things get very confusing from there.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

Keeping in mind that these handful of stories were written for tween and teenage boys, with a fair share of young men joining in, these stories are a hoot. The authors, whoever they were (most likely just one person), had a lot of fun with them. A good job was done as there was never a time that the irony of the situation was not kept in mind and played up beautifully.

Plausible? Nah, not at all. Especially after the length of time from the first adventure, circa 1942 to the last one, just before D-Day. The truth would have come out. But where is the fun in that? Actually, the last story discusses that and it is indeed fun.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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