SPORT! ACTION! ADVENTURE! ‘The Hornet’ was published by D.C. Thomson & Co. and ran from 14th September 1963 until 7th February 1976 before merging with ‘The Hotspur’. On 8th April 1972, Issue No. 448 featured Rodney Marsh on the front and back covers in its ‘Hornet Gallery of Sport’.
‘King Bernard’ is first up – Scrapland, the iron island in the North Sea that had been bought by general dealer and all-round sportsman, Bernard Briggs, for ¬£20, was taking a pounding. So was the “A & B”, a converted motor torpedo boat, used as a ferry between the fort and the mainland, a part of which also belonged to Bernard.
This is followed by ‘The Army of the Shadows’ – Imprisoned in a Japanese prison camp in Malaya during the Second World War, Sergeant “Bendigo” Baron and Corporal Joe Latimer dug their way out – through a gold mine! With the gold, they were able to set up and supply a secret army – the Army of the Shadows. But the Japs were on the trail of the army.
‘Jonah’ is next – H.M.S. “Warhorse” had survived all the perils of the sea, the Battle of Trafalgar, the breaker’s yard – but there’s no escape from Jonah the jinx!
‘The Mud Plugger’ – “My name is Dusty Miller and I work for industrialist John Clewes who was, before being crippled in an air crash, a star motor-cycle scrambling ace or ‘mud plugger’. Searching for a young lad to train to be as good a mud plugger as he had once been, the Boss had chosen Timothy Turner, a tough youngster from the backstreets. ‘The Kid’ was an awkward customer – and I had the task of looking after him.”
The ‘Bernard Briggs Scrapbook’ was the letters section spread over two pages and if you wrote to Bernard you could win one of the following prizes; a ¬£1 postal order, football strip, track suit, rugby ball, tennis racket, football adventure kit, instamatic camera, cricket set, fishing kit, table tennis set, model kit, boy’s watch, compendium of games or a pack of model cars.
‘Flynn of the Fighting Horse-Doctors’ – For some unknown reason, all animals were attracted to Private Wilf Flynn of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the “Fighting Horse-Doctors”. For this reason he was posted to Burma during World War Two and put in charge of the animals of a jungle supply train. But Wilf couldn’t stand animals and was fed up with his job.
Next up is ‘Buffalo Boy’ – By the beginning of the century, hide-hunters had slaughtered almost all the buffalo of the American prairies. Only one small herd survived, under the protection of Keeper, a young Sioux, who had an old Indian map to guide them to safety in the Valley of the Buffalo.
Following on in a similar vein is: ‘Lords of the Plains’ (The Story of the Buffalo Part 2) – In the middle of the Nineteenth Century, when the railways began to spread over America, the buffalo of the plains began to be shot for food.
‘The Vengeance of the Sea Tiger’ – After two terrible years as a prisoner of the cruel Chinese pirate, Fu Fang, Dan Clanton, alias the Sea Tiger, was out for revenge. With a specially-armed junk, he had set sail to wipe piracy off the China Seas. Eventually he had captured Fu Fang and forced him to guide the Sea Tiger’s junk right into his lair.
An advertisement for a competition followed: ‘Score Goals the Way Derek Dougan Does! – 2,500 real hand-sewn match footballs must be won in the great new Kraft Cheese Slices ‘Go-for Goal’ Competition. If you’re keen on football, here’s one opportunity you won’t want to miss – the chance to enter the wonderful new Kraft goal-scoring competition. You’ve probably seen ace striker Derek Dougan talk about it in TV.
And Finally: ‘It’s Goals that Count’ – Chidsea were struggling near the bottom of Division One till Nick Smith, the international inside-left, and Arnold Tabbs joined them. Soon they were fairly safe in the league and had reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. Then Ted King, their trainer, fell ill.
Rodney Marsh had been transferred to Manchester City the previous month for ¬£200,000 after scoring 106 goals in 211 league games for the R’s. As the final caption above states, ‘Rodney will (always) be remembered by QPR fans as the maestro with magic in his feet.’