Air Aces of World War One

 

 

Hawker
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

Air Aces of World War One

Major Lanoe George Hawker V.C. Englands 1st Ace 1890/1916 – Part 3

  Following an initial Air victory in June, On 25th July 1915, when on patrol over Passchendaele, Captain Hawker attacked three German aircraft in succession, Flying Bristol Scout C 1611 after his earlier mount 1609 had been written off, his custom built machine gun mount was transferred to 1611. The first victory of the day occurred when Hawker emptied a full drum from his Lewis gun into it, it went spinning down out of control. The second was driven to the ground, damaged and the third an Albatros C1 Burst into flames and crashed to the ground killing both the pilot and observer. For this feat Hawker was awarded the Victoria Cross, the third airman to receive it.

This particular sortie was just one of many that he flew, during a year of almost constant flying and fighting. He claimed at least three more victories in August flying various Aircraft. Hawker was posted back to England in late 1915 with some 7 victory claims, 1 captured, 3 destroyed, 1 out of control and 1 forced to land making him the first British flying Ace and a figure of considerable fame within the ranks of the RFC.

It has since been argued that shooting down three enemy aircraft in one sortie was a feat repeated many times later in the War, and whether Hawker actually merited his Victoria Cross. However in the context of air fighting in Mid 1915 it was unusual to shoot down one enemy aircraft, let alone three, and the V.C. was awarded on the basis that all of the enemy planes were armed with machine-guns.

To Be Continued ………….

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story – ( Excerpt 50 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 50 )

  ‘Could you be available this evening, at say 7.30p.m. at the Whitechapel Mortuary, both of the cadavers are there. I’d like your opinion, call it a test if you so wish? I want to see how much your opinions vary from those of your learned colleagues,’ the emphasis he placed on learned sounded just a tad sarcastic, I was beginning to warm to Abberline. I just had to watch my words around him.

‘Yes! that shouldn’t be a problem, unless I’m called to a medical emergency, but if that should occur I will inform you. Hopefully I will join you there as arranged.’ I replied.

Now this was getting interesting, especially from my own point of view, but I would have to tread warily one thing was blatantly obvious, Abberline was no fool. Was he trying to lure me in to giving the game away, or did he just want his own tame physician, it was hard to read the man?

I arrived at the Mortuary as we had arranged, Abberline was waiting outside smoking a cigarette, ‘Excuse my vice, Doctor but I like one before I go in there, it’s not my favourite place and I visit it far too often,’ he remarked sombrely.

‘It’s not a problem, Inspector, I know that in your line of work you must encounter some grisly sights, the terrible things we humans inflict on each other!’ I said in sympathy.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 13

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 13

  The Mayor, himself was just pulling up his trousers in the projection booth of the Cinema he owned, after giving Mavis the usherette the sexual frolics he had promised her. The Mayor never reneged on those promises, despite the sometimes difficult consequences. He was once again late for the Council meeting, he would cite unavoidable delays, satisfying the needs of the local populace.

The needs of course, that only his worship the Mayor was aware of, he never confided in the rest of the council, although they all had an inkling that he was up to no good. If he wasn’t philandering he was involved in some other double-dealing.

Ten minutes later he rushed in to the meeting, full of apologies for his absence, ‘Council business, don’t ‘ya know had to be dealt with urgently!’ no one bothered to query what the business was because they knew they would be met by a string of excuses all more farcical than the one before. So now no one bothered to ask. They just sat resignedly until he was ready.

‘Can we get down to business?’ said an irate Sanjay ‘ If this is to go ahead, I need to be clear on the dates.’ ‘I think! stated the Mayor, ‘That it needs to be in the school holidays, so that we can attract families, that way everyone gets a bigger slice of the pie!’ and surprisingly the council agreed that for once the Mayor made perfect sense.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Cursed Through The Generations – Excerpt 6

Cursed Through The Generations – Excerpt 6

  He would offer her a reasonable amount of money to take herself away to another area, away from scandal and prying eyes. Trying to do the right thing and thereby avoid confrontation. He met Jane and offered her money to leave the area, she was furious, they argued and she threw the money in his face. In retaliation he punched her, Jane fell backwards and hit her head on a rock, splitting it open, blood was oozing from the cut and her breathing had become laboured.

Robert panicked, he thought that she was dying, so to ensure her death he picked up a rock and smashed her around the face and head with it. It was a frenzied attack bought on by panic, when it was over he knew she was dead. He staggered away, breathing raggedly, he had done some dastardly things in the past in order to survive. But this was different, this was murder, albeit necessary, but murder none the less. He lifted her body and dropped her in a ditch by the side of the road. It might be months before she is found and by then no one will connect her to me.

The following day, he had almost forgotten her existence. The plans for the wedding were proceeding smoothly. Two more days and his problems would be over, he was Marrying the key to the Maltraver’s fortune. He would soon be a very rich man.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 49 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 49 )

  ‘You are taking a great deal of time, and telling me nothing, shall we cut to the chase?’ I asked, one thing I was certain of this man was anything but the simple copper he made out to be, nor was he a country bumpkin, straight out of the fields.

‘Well, the thing is, Doctor, I wondered if you would consider working with me on this case as my advisor on the Medical aspects of this case. The learned gentlemen we get from Harley Street won’t lower themselves to speak to a mere Inspector of Police and the reports I receive from them might as well be in a foreign language for what sense I can make of them’ He stated.

‘I’ll be pleased to assist you, but why me?’ I was curious to ascertain if this were some sort of ploy to bring me out in the open. ‘Although we have never met, your reputation precedes you, I know of the hours that you put in at the Infirmary and I know how much you have improved the lives of a lot of working people here in Whitechapel, although you may not be aware of it, you are very highly thought of locally!’ was his reply.

‘I just get on with it, and do what is necessary, to be honest I’ve never thought of things in that way. But, yes, I’ll be happy to assist you, If only out of a sense of morbid curiosity.’

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

Air Aces of World War One

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

Returning to 6 Squadron after hospitalisation, the Squadron now had received several single- seat scouts and some early F.E.2 Pushers. One of the aircraft received was a Bristol Scout C, with RFC s/no. 1609, it was this aircraft that Hawker with the help of air Mechanic Ernest Elton ( who later became an Ace in his own right ) equipped with their own design of Lewis Gun Mount, this enabling the machine gun to fire forward obliquely at an acute horizontal angle to the axis of flight, thereby missing the propeller arc.

Whilst serving with No.6 Squadron in 1915, Captain Hawker was a comrade of Captain Louis Strange. The squadron became pioneers in many aspects of Military Aviation at the time, Driven largely by the imagination of Strange and the engineering talent of Hawker. Their combined talents led to various mountings for Lewis guns. One of which won Hawker the Victoria Cross, and the other which nearly cost strange his life.

Hawker’s innovative idea’s at this time, were of great benefit to the still fledgling RFC. He helped to develop the Prideaux disintegrating link machine gun belt feed and also initiated the practice of putting fabric protective coverings on the wing tips of propellors. he also designed a primitive rocking fuselage for target practice on the ground. In 1916, he also developed with W.L. French, the increased capacity, 97-round double drum for the Lewis machine gun, it was issued for trials in July and after some modifications was issued generally to the R.F.C and R.N.A.S

To Be Continued……

(c) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 48 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 48 )

  The man walked in to my office, unannounced, he was obviously a man who was used to getting his own way. ‘Good Morning Doctor, he said by way of introduction, ‘I am Inspector Frederick Abberline of ‘H’ Division, which of course takes in Whitechapel. ‘Are you here in some sort of official capacity or is this merely a social call?’ I chose my words carefully, I had heard of Abberline, he might be a fitting adversary.

‘Actually I’m here to ask you a favour, we have never met, but I of course know you by repute and the good work you have been doing locally, you may or may not know, but I am one of the Investigating Officers of the so-called Ripper Murders’ he stated. I smiled and said light-heartedly, ‘I trust I’m not a suspect?’

‘I can assure you, that thought had never crossed my mind? he spoke with a slight Southern accent, I found out later that he originated from Dorset. ‘In that case, how can I be of service to you or the Police, depending on whether this is a personal or general matter?’ I queried trying to seek him out.

‘I take it that by now you are aware of the so-called Ripper Murders, now I’m an ordinary copper, I’m a thief taker and good at it, but I will admit to being a little out of my depth on this case. When the Nichols woman was killed, we had a local Doctor on the scene quite quickly due to one of my lads being on the ball, If we are to catch the Ripper, local knowledge will be the key, That’s why I need your help. We have a Doctor at Division but he already has more work than he can manage, So what do you say, can I count on your support?

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 12

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 12

  ‘On mine, or should I say, the council’s side, we are prepared to, based on the success of the weekend to pay you an additional bonus to use as you require and share as you see fit’ promised Sanjay, virtually offering a bribe.

Whatever Dave Knowles was, he was nobody’s fool and he was quick to grasp the concept of the of the back-hander that Sanjay was offering him. ‘Just leave it with me, Mr.Patel and confirm the dates once you have them and I feel sure that we can do business to both our benefits’.

‘I felt certain that you would see things my way!’ smiled Sanjay knowing once again that he had triumphed. Which was all very well for Sanjay, but not good news for the townspeople, who were lined up squarely against it. Time would tell us who would triumph, but my money is on the man in the street, his opinion will be made to count!

At the next meeting of the town council, Sanjay explained to the other councillors about the amount of progress he had made. He wasn’t gloating but he had certainly stole a move or two on the Mayor. All that needed to be agreed on was the actual date for the weekend. the only problem was that for it to be agreed on, all of the council had to be present, and once again the Mayor was conspicuous by his absence.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Cursed through the Generations – Excerpt 5

Cursed Through The Generations – Excerpt 5

  Women maybe laid back and thought of England when in sexual congress. Robert’s bedtime thoughts were all of money, money and his other women. Although promised to the plain and plump Adelina, Robert’s eyes and affections were centred elsewhere. He had a secret lover, who was to be kept secret until he had his hands on the Maltraver’s fortune.

Adelina was ecstatic, she was having the final fitting of her wedding dress, she had convinced herself that she looked beautiful, her Mother was simpering and strutting around telling how beautiful she looked.

Robert, the groom, was having serious second thoughts, Jane, his secret lover had just broken the news that she was carrying a child, and that it was without a doubt, his progeny.

His first instinct, was to cut and run, a thing he had done innumerable times before, but this time things were different. He had put almost a year of his time, in seeking out someone like Adelina, who he could bend to his will. That plan was now coming to fruition, He couldn’t leave now, there was to much at stake, He had to get shot of her !

He had loved her! he couldn’t deny it, but he loved the promise of the fortune that would one day be his to control, it was a pity but she definitely had to go, he really had no other choice.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 47 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 47 )

  Well, I had taken my first victim, but in truth it was a very unsatisfactory experience. Due to the Police and their patrols I had to rush it. I wanted to take pleasure in carving her up, but instead it was a rush job, very poorly done. It could have been done by a Butcher and I so wanted it to be a work of art, Incisions to take pride in.

The broadsheets were having a field day, I have been christened ‘Jack the Ripper’ or the ‘Beast of Whitechapel’ neither of them very flattering, but fair comment they have yet to see me at my best, maybe then their tone will change.

But then again, sensationalism sells newspapers, the truth never did, so I suppose I will just have to grit my teeth and get used to the idea, such is the price of fame or infamy. The newspapers are already taking sides, The more radical ones are blaming the Jews, of which there are many in Whitechapel, who will they blame next I wonder?

After reading the broadsheet over breakfast, I left for the Infirmary in a reasonably contented frame of mind. I was sat in my office, catching up on patient files when I had an unexpected visitor, one whose presence had me reeling!

(C) Damian Grange 2018