Air Aces of World War One



Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest


Major Lanoe George Hawker V.C. England’s 1st Ace 1890/1916

The son of a Distinguished Military family, Hawker was born on the 30th of December 1890 at Longparish, Hampshire, England. He was educated at Stubbington House School and then at 11 yrs old to The Royal Navy College in Dartmouth, although highly intelligent and a keen sportsman, his grades didn’t reflect this and a Naval career seemed unlikely.

And so, he entered The Royal Military Academy in Woolwich before joining the Royal Engineers as an Officer Cadet. A clever inventor, Hawker developed a keen interest in all mechanical and engineering developments. During the summer of 1910 he saw a film depicting the Wright Flyer and after attending an aircraft flying display at Bournemouth.

He quickly gained an interest in Aviation, learning to fly at his own expense at Hendon Aerodrome. On the 4th of March 1913, he was awarded Aviators Certificate No.435 by The Royal Aero Club. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant in October 1913, he was posted to Cork Harbour with the 33rd Fortress Company. His request for attachment to The Royal Flying Corps was granted and he reported to the Central Flying School at Upavon on 1st August 1914.

Hawker was posted to France in October 1914, as a Captain with No.6 Sqn. R.F.C. flying Henri Farmans. The squadron soon converted to the B.E.2c and Hawker undertook numerous reconnaissance missions, into 1915 being wounded once by ground fire. On the 22nd Of April he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for attacking a German Zeppelin shed at Gontrode by dropping hand grenades at low level, below 200ft from his B.E.2c. He used a tethered German Balloon to shield him from enemy fire from the ground while he made successive attacks. During the 2nd battle of Ypres, Hawker was wounded in the foot by ground fire. For the remainder of the battle he had to be carried to and from his Aircraft but refused to be grounded until the battle was over.

To be Continued ……..

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 14

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 14

  As we three galloped away, I turned and looked over my shoulder, My Mother still stood outside the house following our progress. I wondered if I would ever see her again or was this truly goodbye, I felt a lump in my throat at the thought.

After all, I was travelling to a Foreign land to meet a Father who may disown me, to become a soldier. I knew that I was competent, even skilled with my weapons, but could I kill another man? I had vowed to kill Michael, but now he was my friend, why did life have to be so confusing?

We followed the route of the earlier immigrants, we took passage on a ship from the mouth of the River Shannon to the French port of Brest. It was quite an uneventful journey, although I wasn’t too keen on being aboard ship, I preferred land under my feet not the rolling sea.

Once we had disembarked from the ship. We stopped at an Inn on the outskirts of Brest for some food and were looked at most curiously by the native French. But then, we were a giant of a man 6.4, a tall ginger haired youth and a wiry little man. They must have thought we had escaped from a freak show.

Fortunately, no one made and comments, so there were no problems with the locals. Shamus made enquiries, to my surprise in fluent French. A language that I found both he and Michael spoke and understood. Once again I realised how little I knew about my companions.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 101 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 101 )

  Fred was just about to say more, when Lizzie joined us, she entered the room and went and sat at the piano, It appeared that as well as being fed, I was to be entertained. Lizzie went straight in to that well-known traditional song, ‘Greensleeves’ she was a competent pianist and surprisingly, to me at least, a pleasant tuneful voice.

All in all, she put in a very creditable performance, I wondered if there was to be more, Fred sat smiling proudly at his wife’s accomplishments, and so he should. Lizzie then much to my surprise and Fred’s embarrassment commenced to play and sing a Music Hall Favourite by Marie LLoyd with somewhat saucy lyrics. Lizzie did the sing proud and I could see by Fred’s face he took pride in her performance.

For my part, I had been given a most wonderful evenings entertainment, both in the company and quality of the food, drink and entertainment. I couldn’t begin to thank them enough, for I had truly enjoyed myself.

I made a point to invite the Abberline’s around to my house the following Saturday. I knew that Mrs McGinty would respond to the challenge of having guests for dinner. It was the very least I could do, considering the splendid evening that I had just enjoyed.

I took my leave of the Abberline’s and strolled home with a spring in my step. It was a crisp December night and all was well with the world. I had made no mistakes and had been accepted both as a guest and a friend. It felt good.

I had not realised that the following Saturday would fall In the period of Christmas, I must check that they have made no previous arrangements. I have been so tied up in my work that I didn’t realise the months were flying by.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

voss 2
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Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 2

  On the 10th of March 1916, Voss was posted to Kampftstaffel 20 (Tactical Bomber Squadron 20) of Kampfgeshwader IV (Tactical Bomber Wing IV) where he served as an observer before he was allowed to fly as a pilot. In accordance with German custom, he received his Pilot’s badge on the 28th of May 1916 after flying on actual combat missions.

Finally commissioned as an Officer on the 9th of September 1916, he transferred to single-seater scout aircraft and was posted to Jagdstaffel 2 (Fighter Squadron 2 on 21st of November 1916. Here Voss began a lifelong friendship with another young pilot in the Squadron, Manfred von Richtofen, who would soon gain fame as The Red Baron. They would later exchange family visits when on leave, and Richtofen would host the Voss family at his Squadron’s airfield. The friendship grew from Voss flying as Richtofen’s wing man in combat, and disregarded the disparity in their family backgrounds.

Voss, a keen motorcyclist had a love of machinery which led him to consort with his enlisted mechanics, Karl Timms and Christian Rueser, He was even on a first name basis with them. In time, they would transfer Squadrons to stay with him. Voss often contravened uniform regulations and could often be found in the hangar with his mechanics working on his aircraft wearing a grubby old jacket. His care extended to his aircraft’s exterior, He adorned his Albatros D.III which both a swastika inside a laurel wreath and a red heart for good luck. And although he was a casual dresser around his home airfield, when flying he would be well dressed with a white silk shirt under his aviator’s gear. He joked that he wanted to be presentable to the girls of Paris if he should be captured, However the shirt’s silk collar protected his neck from chafing while he swivelled his head around watching for other aircraft during combat.

Voss scored his first aerial victory on the 26th of November, and added his second on the afternoon flight. The two victories earned him the Iron Cross Second Class, awarded on the 19th of December 1916. His first victory of 1917, over Captain Daly, inadvertently taught Voss the knack of deflection shooting. Voss later visited Daly in hospital on two occasions. Voss continued to score rapidly between February and March 1917, Of the 15 victories accredited to his Jasta, during March, 11 had fallen to his guns. For his feats he was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Swords of the House of Hohenzollern on the 17th of March 1917.

To Be Continued……………..

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story (Excerpt 100)

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 100 )

  After we had consumed the dessert, Lizzie suggested that Fred and I go through to the parlour for a smoke, chat or whatever, whilst she tidied up and washed the pots, she would join us shortly.

I was surprised as I was ushered in to the parlour by Fred, The first thing that caught my eye was a beautiful upright piano. Fred noticed my surprise and said, ‘That’s Lizzie’s pride and joy, that piano, but credit due to her, she can play it.’

Tonight was indeed turning in to a night of surprises. I knew well Inspector Fred Abberline, but I realised that of Fred the man, without the title, I knew very little. I had always respected him, now I was finding that I rather liked him too. He was a good man in every respect.

We made small talk, Fred offered me a cigar, but said, ‘Personally, I prefer my pipe, it helps me to think, Lizzie says I look a regular little Sherlock Holmes when I’m puffing on my pipe and lost in thought.’

I accepted the cigar, and Fred lit it for me, we sat for a moment in silence, Fred puffing contentedly on his pipe and me enjoying the aroma of my cigar. In my life I can honestly say I have not enjoyed many moments as fine as this one.

Then Fred said, ‘I am sorry to bring work up, at a social occasion, But have you had any more thoughts on our man?’ ‘He appears to have stopped, which suggests to me that Mary Kelly was his main victim, the others merely decoys. He may have just vanished back in to obscurity. But he was enjoying the fame and the celebrity status, I fear he must kill again, his ego will betray him.’

So, The nightmare is not over yet?’ Queried Fred. ‘If I am correct in my assumption, I am afraid that the answer is no, He will kill again!’

(C) Damian Grange 2018



Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 39

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 39

  Then Samira came up to him, kissed him on the cheek and said, ‘Hello Daddy, did you miss me? I was fine, the Mayor was taking care of me, we are friends.’ Sanjay looked even more stunned, all the colour had drained from his face, he looked on the verge of a heart attack. Samira’s statement had rocked him to the core. she had been his favourite daughter and now it seemed she was his enemy’s plaything.

What had he done wrong, he was always good to her, she was probably too spoilt if anything, was that the problem, had he made her too independent. Did she now think that she could dishonour her family and do as she intended, whatever that was?

He didn’t understand women, he had always been the master in his own house, or so he thought, but now he was beginning to have doubts. Had he driven his daughter away, and if this be the case, how had it happened?

‘Come on Sanjay.’ Cried the Mayor, beckoning to him, ‘Let’s get this show on the road!’ So saying he cut the riband that signalled the start of the Zombie’s Parade, if parade is the right word to describe a mass of staggering blood-spitting Zombies.

The Zombies started to stagger down the Main Street, Sam Parry’s spies immediately rang and informed him of their numbers and whereabouts so that the trap could be set. ‘It was all or nothing!’ announced Sam Parry, ‘None to escape, no prisoners to be taken, this was war to the death against the undead!’

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 14

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 14

  My Mother thanked them both, for their assistance in making a man out of her boy. She asked to be excused for a moment, then returned with my Father’s sword, which she told me to wear with pride and make her proud of me! She took a ring off her finger and placed it in my hand saying, ‘Wear this on a cord around your neck, when you meet your true Father, give him this and a letter which I will give you, both will identify you to him, and prove your true status.’

I was almost in tears, I knew this was goodbye, my boyhood was over, from now on I would be expected to think and behave like a man, was I up to the task?. ‘In the stable,’ said my Mother,’ You will find three good horses, each with a musket and two pistols, you may not need them, but better safe than sorry.’

‘Three horses?’ I queried, ‘I knew Michael was going with me, he was the only one who could identify the man, supposedly a Dillon, who had paid him to assassinate my Father. ‘To be sure!’ piped up Shamus, ‘You don’t think I’d trust you two to find Europe without me guiding you, do you?’

The boy, Conor, with exercise and training had now grown in to a man. He was tall, straight and although he would probably cringe at the thought, he had grown in to a handsome youth, he had florid red hair, green eyes and a few freckles which I suppose denoted his youth.

He may look youthful, but he was a man in every sense of the word, and definitely not a man to be underestimated. He was deadly with musket or pistols, an accomplished swordsman and deadly with a throwing knife.

And most unusual for a gentleman, for that was how he would be classed. He could hold his own in a rough and tumble. He was quite handy with his fists and knew lots of dubious tricks thanks to the teaching of his compatriots, Black Michael and Shamus.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 99 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 99 )

  ‘Take care,’ said Fred, ‘she has that look in her eye, she won’t rest until she has you married off, you mark my words!’ warned a smiling Fred Abberline. ‘Now there you go, Fred  Abberline, trying to frighten poor Jack, I’m sure he wouldn’t object to a little female company over dinner, would you Jack?’ Asked Lizzie.

‘Of course not, but I warn you, My manners are a little rusty, Its been a long time since I met a single woman socially,’ I stated, lying through my teeth and trying hard  to conceal my embarrassment. But I had quite taken to Lizzie, so I would play along, who knows, I might even enjoy it? ‘You’ll be fine, our friends are like us, no airs and graces, just plain speaking,’ said Lizzie.

‘I feel for you, Jack, you’ll be getting inundated with spinsters of this parish, if they become a nuisance let me know and I’ll send one of my Constables round to sort it!’ was Fred’s contribution to the conversation.

‘When you men have done making problems, where there are none, are you ready for dessert?’ Queried Lizzie. ‘Its my favourite, Jack, Spotted Dick with thick Creamy Custard, I hope you enjoy it?’ Intoned Fred Abberline. ‘I’m sure that I will, Mrs Abberline is a gifted cook, The food has been a delight!’ I replied and meant every word.

I was correct in my assumption, the dessert was a delight, despite my earlier concerns I was really beginning to enjoy my evening as a guest of the Abberline’s, and wondered what further delights lay in store for me?’

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Air Aces of World War One

Werner Voss
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917

Werner Voss was born in Krefeld, Germany on the 13th of April 1897. He was the first of three brothers. his Father owned a dye factory. Young Werner was expected to continue the family trade as he grew into his heritage. However even before World War One burgeoned, he was already drawn toward patriotic service. When he finished his schooling at Krefeld’s Moltke Gynasium, he joined the Krefeld Militia.

In April 1914, disregarding conscription laws On the 30th of November , the underaged Werner Voss joined Ersatz Eskadron 2. As war erupted, Voss qualified as a motorcyclist and a motorcycle mechanic. He received his “Certificate of Graduation” as a motorcyclist on the 2nd of August 1914, subsequently his parents would give him a 3ooc.c. Vee-twin Wanderer motorcycle for his eighteenth birthday. After Germany entered World War One, he spent August and September 1914 as a civilian volunteer driver for the German military. the militia Ersatz Eskadron 2 had been set up to f.eed recruits to Westphalia’s 11th Hussar Regiment. On the 16th of November 1914, Voss became one of these recruits despite being only 17yrs old. On the 30th of November 1914, the Regiment was ordered to combat duty in the Eastern Front.

Voss was  proficient in his military duties on the Eastern Front. he was promoted to Gefreiter on the 27th of January 1915, and raised to Unteroffizier, when barely 18yrs of age on the 18th of May 1915. His service earned him the Iron Cross 2nd class. He reported to begin Officer’s training at Camp Beckstadt on the 3rd of June 1915. Whilst there he was classified as a reservist, because of his flat feet and weak ankles. Voss graduated on the 26th of July 1915.

Voss transferred to the Luftstreitkraft (German Air Service) on the 1st of August 1915, joining Fleigerersatz – Abteilung 7 (Training Detachment 7) in Cologne. On the 1st of September he began learning to fly at Elgesberg airfield in his hometown of Krefeld. A gifted natural pilot, Voss made his first solo flight on the 28th of September. He was retained as an instructor at the training school after he graduated on the 12th of February 1916. On the 2nd of March as part of his progress toward becoming an Officer, he was promoted to Vizefeldwebel (a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) He was the youngest flight instructor in the German service.

To Be Continued…………..

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 98 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 98 )

  The main course was mutton stew, but so full of flavour that I had to congratulate Lizzie in her culinary skills. She almost blushed at my praise, Fred just smiled at her embarrassment. ‘All I will commit myself too, is that it’s the little additions that give it the taste, that and cooking it very slowly.’ confessed Lizzie.

‘Well, whatever you are doing, keep on doing it, This tastes wonderful!, I stated. This time she did blush, much to her husbands delight. ‘You are far too kind, I’m amazed that you are still a single man?’ said Lizzie, ‘Oh! I do hope I’ve not said the wrong thing, I can be so tactless.’

‘It’s fine, I’m not offended, I was married but we found that we wanted different things from life, so we parted, reasonably amicably, as these thing go,’ I replied. ‘And now,’ said Lizzie, ‘I’m going to be totally tactless, have you never considered marrying again?’ ‘Damn it, Lizzie! he’s a guest, not a suspect, so stop interrogating him!’

‘It’s alright Fred, I’m not offended, I’m rather flattered by your wife’s interest, most people just see me as a Doctor, Lizzie sees me as a person, it’s quite refreshing , I like it,’ I replied. ‘If, and only if, I met a woman who wanted the same things from life as myself, I may consider it, but I would have to think long and hard, The old adage, once bitten, twice shy, would certainly apply in this case,’ I replied in all honesty.

‘Well if you are to come here again, and I certainly hope you will?, I will have to attempt to provide some female company for you, a foursome would be much more fun,’ Stated Lizzie with a twinkle in her eye.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 38

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 38

  Plans are wonderful things on paper, but in the real world, someone will always throw a spanner in the works and this one was destined for just that.

Meanwhile in another part of the town, Paul Wilkins the Area Manager of the St.Johns  Ambulance was instructing his staff on their duties and responsibilities for the coming weekend. To his way of thinking it could go either way, so best be prepared.

It would either pass without a hitch, or they would be inundated with casualties, he was aware that feelings in the town were running high against the Zombies. His concern was that this may turn to actual physical violence against them.

With that thought in mind, he was organising his staff in to small mobile units, so that they could respond to several emergency’s at once if the situation dictated it. He hoped it wouldn’t be needed, but forewarned was forearmed and the local council had insisted he co-operate with them, by providing medical cover for the Weekend.

Sanjay Patel was talking to Dave Knowles at the starting point of the Zombie Parade, he was as usual waiting for the Mayor to show his face. There was a proliferation of Zombies of all sizes and descriptions. They were a colourful if slightly macabre collection.

The Mayor arrived, and to Sanjay’s surprise and dismay, Samira was arm in arm with him. She had been absent all night, and now she turns up on the arm of his enemy, what did the girl think she was up to, he was extremely annoyed with her and what was the Mayor’s part in all this?.

The Mayor, grinning like a Cheshire cat, slapped Sanjay on the back and said, ‘Shall we get this show on the road, then, Old Boy?’ Sanjay looked at the Mayor with a stunned expression on his face, what was all this bonhomie about, The Mayor and he had never been friends, just the opposite in fact.

(C) Damian Grange 2018