In the 1920s and 1930s, British schoolboys devoured every word they could find about their favorite comic book heroes, like Biggles and Dick Barton, Special Agent. In Sir Henry Birkin Bt, however, they had a real live, walking, talking hero and they idolized him all the more. He was passably handsome, heir to a wealthy family, drove a series of dramatic racing cars, won big deal races and was one of the Bentley Boys. What chance did Biggles or Dick Barton have against that?
Birkin himself was a kind of “son of comic book,” because his schoolmates christened the super-energetic Sir Henry ‘Tim’ after the Julius Stafford Baker comic book character Tiger Tim. And it stuck. So Birkin was Tim to all his adoring fans. And they were legion.