"Malcolm throws his soaking wet shirt over his bare shoulder and leads the way to the railway station like a Boy's Own hero"

The Boy's Own Paper was a British story publication aimed at boys which was published from 1879 to 1967. It was first conceived as a way of inspiring young boys to lead a Christian life. While this objective receded into the background, the paper was always somewhat moralistic and worthy - it seemed at times almost like a companion to the Boy Scout movement with its emphasis on a clean, healthy and hearty lifestyle. Its staple content was adventure stories, mixed with 'how to' articles on such activities as lighting a camp fire, and features on hobbies such as stamp collecting and keeping pets. Many well-known names wrote for the publication over the years, including Arthur Conan Doyle, RM Ballantyne and the cricketer WG Grace.

The paper was still popular in the 1950s. The air hero Biggles was featured. As well as the short stories there were serials which in the Fifties included  'Jackals of the Sea' by Arthur Catherall and 'Majorca Moon' by Jack Cox, the editor of BOP during this period. Ronald English was the cycling expert, and George Graham wrote about astronomy. In addition to the BOP there was a Boy's Own Companion, a sort of handbook for the adventurous and curious, published annually.

In British popular culture even today the phrase Boy's Own stuff is used to describe daring or improbable ventures, while a person performing adventurous feats would be a Boy's Own hero; hence the expression used in this story.

Boy's Own Paper, October 1953
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBoy's Own Paper, October 1953 - Credit: Jim MacKenzie
Boy's Own Paper, November 1955
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBoy's Own Paper, November 1955 - Credit: Jim MacKenzie
Boy's Own Paper, December 1956
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBoy's Own Paper, December 1956 - Credit: Jim MacKenzie