Jack the Ripper – A Love Story – ( Excerpt 26 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 26 )

  Mary Jane Kelly’s diary 11th April 1886

Well now I’ve gone and done it!, I was made an offer that I couldn’t refuse and here I am, I have my own room as Doctor Jack’s guest. He says he wants nothing from me, but sooner all later all men want something from a girl like me, but to me that wouldn’t be a problem, Jack is kind and generous, what more could a girl like me want. the girls have all given me lots of advice, but I am happy just being here with Jack. He is such a good man, I have no wish to abuse or hurt him, no matter what they say. If truth be known, they are probably jealous, ’cause I’ve found a cushy berth.

As I made notes in the cellar about my current experiment, my thoughts kept wandering to my lodger, Mary Jane Kelly. She wasn’t the lady like Isabelle, but what little she lacks in manners, she more than makes up for in personality. She has a totally wicked sense of humour and had me in fits of laughter over dinner. With her around life will certainly not be dull.

I have no doubt in my mind that she is something of a rough diamond, but all diamonds start in the rough. In different clothes and different surroundings, I feel sure she could shine with the best of them. But its early times yet, we shall see.

I shall see her again at breakfast and dinner, she enhances my life and my table, all that matters to me is her happiness, and that I might somehow share in it. It sounds such a simple thing, but I feel she, like me has been sorely used. I want to be her friend and protector. But for now, one small step at a time.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 3

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 3

  After a couple of days of rioting the Russian tanks moved in to the city, destroying everything in their path. They had every intention of teaching us a hard and lasting lesson about the cost of rebellion.

Once the people had been cleared off the Streets, it became more of an occupation with Russian troops posted on Street corners and Intersections. These posts were generally managed by a handful of soldiers.

Our group held a meeting, and decided on a strategy to obtain more weapons. The two girls in the group were both young and attractive, so we decided to set a honey trap for the Russian soldiers.

We carefully chose secluded posts, where support would be delayed. The girls would approach and make eyes at the soldiers on sentry duty, it took lots of smiling and posturing but the Russians eventually got the message. They laid down their weapons and advanced grinning towards the girls.

This was the signal for myself and Taras, the two biggest men in the group to come out of the shadows and garrotte the Russians, the girls would collect their weapons and ammunition and hand them over to the waiting men who formed the remainder of our group.

They would then throw a petrol bomb at the post, anyone exposing themselves would be shot with their own weapons. Once the onslaught was over, we would swoop in, salvage whatever weapons and ammunition we could. Then as quick as possible return to our hideout. The cellar of a derelict factory on the outskirts of the city.

The first time we attempted this, it worked beautifully, we walked away unscathed with three rifles, two handguns, several grenades and a decent amount of ammunition. All taken in to account, it was a rewarding nights work. Maybe not a major event in terms of the Rebellion, but little acorns and all that, it was a good start.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

boelcke aaHauptmann Oswald Boelcke – The Father of German Air Fighting – Part 4

  Boelcke started his squadron in the space vacated by FFA 32 in the Velu woods. As of the 27th of August the fledgling Jasta had on its strength Three Officers and 64 other ranks, but no aircraft. But by the 8th of September there were eight pilots aboard and several aircraft. On the 16th of September the Jasta received five new Albatros D.Is and for Boelcke himself, the new and improved Albatros D.II.

Boelcke promptly put his unit in the air, in the first attempt to gain Air superiority. At 1300hrs on the 16th of September, Boelcke and five of his pilots took off. They intercepted a British Bombing raid on Marcoing Railway Station, while Boelcke watched his trainees bounced a British formation of 14 planes, broke it up and shot down two, Boelcke himself added another. The new Jasta had been blooded.

Boelcke shot down 10 British aircraft in his first month with Jasta 2, He would fly a solo mission in the morning then return to his trainees, who would ask if he had scored again, his reply was, ‘Is my chin black?’ which basically meant if there were cordite stains on his chin he had fired his machine guns, signifying another victory.

Boelcke set out for his sixth sortie of the day with Manfred von Richtofen and Erwin Bohme, his two best pilots and three others. the Patrol eventually became embroiled in a dogfight with British DH2s. A collision that occurred during this fracas was to cause Boelcke’s death.

Erwin Bohme, described the collision, Boelcke and I had one British plane evenly between us, when another opponent chased by Richtofen flew directly in our path, as fast as lightning Boelcke and I both took evasive action. Boelcke suddenly appeared a few metres on the right from me, his machine ducked, I pulled up hard, but nonetheless we touched, me…Only half of the undercarriage torn away, him the outermost part of the left wing. I had to watch as he could no longer set it down evenly and I watched him crash close to a battery position. People rushed to help but he had died on impact.

Bohme was so struck with the enormity of the tragedy, that he wanted to take his own life, but his fellow Officers convinced him not too. Boelcke’s tragic death could have been avoided if he had not broken his own rules: Dicta 8: If attacking in Jasta strength make sure that not many comrades fall on a single enemy. If either he or Bohme had left it to the other there is a good chance the accident wouldn’t have occurred.

Boelcke was buried with full military honours at his Aerodrome in Cambrai. The Royal Flying Corps dropped a wreath over Jasta 2’s Airfield which read To Captain Boelcke, a brave and chivalrous foe. Germany had lost a great airman and leader.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 27

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 27

  On my way home I called Kat, to see if she had, had any joy with the plans for the Hunting Lodge. Her, reply was in the affirmative and she would be at my flat at 8p.m.

This was excellent news, at least now we could get a basic plan together, of course there were a hundred and one things that could and might go wrong, but at least we could have the basic framework of a plan. Knowing the lay of the land was an advantage.

Kat arrived just before eight, I let her in, she kissed me on the cheek as she passed me mmm… this is something new, she must be looking forward to our little winter holiday.

Whilst I made coffees, Kat unrolled the plans of the Hunting Lodge on to the table, so that we could both study them and offer suggestions. With the intention that by both offering suggestions, we could form the basis of a plan for disarming the Warheads.

‘First!’ stated Kat, ‘We have to address the Warheads, they will have either a Uranium or Plutonium core. Uranium is not a major problem, but plutonium is something else, it is radio-active so that we would require sealable containers to place it in we would also need protective suits, this is highly volatile material to handle.’

‘Assuming the Warheads were stolen from the Russians, what is the core likely to be?’ I enquired, I was getting a bad feeling about handling these things. ‘If they are older, Cold War period they will most certainly be Uranium, if they are relatively modern, they could be either. But there are technicians too hand, so protective suits will be available on site.’

Everything she said made perfect sense, but I was far from being convinced, the terms frying pans and fire kept running through my mind.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 25 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 25 )

  I reminded her quite firmly that she was an employee, with less than perfect references, so from the moment she arrived Miss Kelly was to be treated as a guest, nothing more, nothing less. She be-grudgingly accepted my instructions but I fear mainly because I left her no choice, but time will tell.

When I arrived home, Mary was in her room, getting settled in. Mrs Mc Ginty announced that dinner would be served in fifteen minutes, I went to my own room, freshened up a little and then knocked on Mary’s door.

Mary opened it immediately, ‘You don’t have to knock, its your house just walk in, I’ve nothing to hide!’ she said smiling. ‘That may be all well and good, but I don’t want to lower your esteem in the eyes of my servants,’ And as an afterthought I added, ‘When we are in my home, please address me as Jack, not Doctor, I want us to be friends.’

‘But I hope we are friends, Lord knows, I already owe you so much I didn’t know where I would sleep tonight and thanks to your friendship and charity, I have a room and a nice warm bed,’ Mary replied and made me feel so much better.

‘Shall we repair to the Dining Room, Dinner is about to be served, I think you will appreciate Mrs Mc Ginty, she is a wonderful cook,’ I suggested taking her arm in mine.

We made small talk throughout the meal and I found Mary to be entertaining company, she was treated with grudging respect by Mrs Mc Ginty, who had obviously heeded my warning. We ate and drank together in a wonderfully informal atmosphere.

Mary had me howling with laughter with anecdotes of when she worked in a Milliners shop. She can be slightly coarse, but I find her company quite refreshing, quite the breath of fresh air that my life needed. After dinner we parted, Mary to her room and me to my experiments in the cellar.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 2

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 2

  I told my father of my intentions, He hugged me to him and said he was so proud of my decision, and that I was a true Magyar! He begged me to keep myself safe and return to the farm when the conflict was resolved.

And so, the following day with the good wishes of my family ringing in my ears and tears running down my cheeks. I left to make my way to Budapest to join the Revolution.

The Russians had in July 1956, to try and appease the Hungarian people, removed Rakosi, our Pro-Russian President and replaced him with the popular Imre Nagy who was very keen  to see a free Hungary. Free from the Russian tyranny and their rule which was enforced by tanks and other weaponry.

Understandably the Russians were none too pleased about this and began to move their armoured forces to our borders in a show of force. It just made the Hungarian people more determined to defy them.

On arriving in Budapest, I found the city in uproar, the students and workers had joined forces in protesting in the streets in favour of President Nagy and his reforms and the breaking of the yoke that the Russians held on our country.

Although not truly one of them, I threw in my lot with a group of students, This group included two girls Irina and Zorcha and five more males beside myself, a total of eight. The only weapons we had were two rather ancient pistols, but we were Magyars, we would defeat the Russians barehanded if necessary, such is the confidence and folly of the young, But after all we had Atilla’s blood in our veins.

 

(C) Damian Grange 2018

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Photograph – Courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 26

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 26

  ‘You can take bets on it, Abramski won’t be able to talk his way out of this one,’ Replied Kat. ‘Amen to that, it couldn’t happen to two nicer people!’ I stated and meant it.

Kat and I arranged to meet the following evening. Hopefully she would have plans of the hunting lodge, If we have knowledge of the layout, It would make life so much easier.

But before then I had to report to Schultz and Mayhew for more tuition in Russian, and possibly a little more information, who know’s? I certainly don’t.

After something of a restless night, spent considering how many different scenario’s could end up with my head on the block. I felt a little better after a hot shower and a full breakfast.

On arriving at the Office, I was given my usual gushing welcome by Mayhew and the usual non-committal shrug from Schultz, who I’m sure was also pleased to see me. Nothing was venture and Olga was summoned and I resumed my tuition.

I didn’t mind, Olga had a sense of humour and made my learning as much fun as she could, bearing in mind that Schultz and Mayhew were never very far from us. We took our usual break for lunch, Olga was as usual sent for coffee and sandwiches, I tried to work on Mayhew while Olga was out of the Office. but while Schultz was around he would say nothing.

Olga returned with lunch, we made a little small talk over our coffee and sandwiches, then it was back to work, if you choose to term it that way. At around 4.30 Mayhew said to call it a day, and he would see us both again in the morning.

He informed me that tomorrow was my last day, so my Russian must be faultless, they would be testing me. It came as something of a shock, but in all reality I should have expected no less. They had to be sure I wouldn’t compromise the operation.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story (Excerpt 24 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 24 ) 

 ‘ Well!’ I said, still procrastinating, ‘I would like to offer you a room in my house, before you misunderstand my offer, I want nothing from you but the occasional company at mealtimes. You will live rent free and be treated as if you were a paying guest until such time as you can fend for yourself.’

She looked a little surprised by my offer, I have no idea what she had been expecting, maybe some sort of proposition, she is after all an attractive young woman. I’m sure that many men in my position would have tried a much coarser approach.

‘I’m flummoxed, Jack! you have me totally at a loss for words, of course I most gracefully accept, you are such a good man, A real prince!’ Replied Mary.

‘I will instruct Mrs Mc Ginty to prepare a room ready for your arrival, will you need a carriage for your belongings,’ I enquired. ‘I’ll be fine, I’ve only one battered old suitcase and I can manage that. Are you going to give me your address, then I can be all settled in when you return from the Infirmary.’

‘That’s wonderful, I’ll let Mrs Mc Ginty know to expect you!’ I replied. Mary left, with a smiling face and I returned back to my duties, I wondered had I done the right thing, once again I had let my heart rule my head. Then I thought of sharing my mealtimes in the company of Mary and my doubts soon evaporated.

I decided to pop home at lunch time and inform Mrs Mc Ginty of the situation, She didn’t take it at all well, I have no idea what her problem is with Mary, or whether she was merely trying to protect me from my own folly.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

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Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke – Father of German Air Fighting – Part 3

The Dicta Boelcke

( 1 ) Secure the benefits of Aerial Combat, Speed, Altitude, Numerical Superiority and Position before attacking, Always attack from the sun.

( 2 ) If you start the attack, bring it to an end.

( 3 ) Fire the machine-gun up close and only if you are sure that you are targeting your opponent.

( 4 ) Do not lose sight of the enemy.

( 5 ) In any form of attack, an approach to the opponent from behind is required.

( 6 ) If the enemy attacks you in a dive, do not try to dodge the attack, but turn to the attacker.

( 7 ) If you are above the enemy lines, always keep your own retreat in mind.

( 8 ) For Squadrons: In principle attack only in groups of four to six. If the fight breaks up in to noisy single battles, make sure that not many comrades pounce on a single opponent.

These basic principle of Air fighting are still referred to even now.

In mid 1916, Boelcke was given permission to choose his own pilots, for a newly – formed Fighter squadron. From among the interviewees he selected both Manfred Von Richtofen and Erwin Bohme. Boelcke was appointed Commander of his hand-Picked group of pilots on the 30th August 1916.

There were Three Fighter Squadrons formed initially, Jasta 2 ( Boelcke ) being by far the most successful. It ended the war, with a total of 20 Aces, 336 Victories, with only 44 casualties. This was mainly due to the encouragement and training that Boelcke as the leader instilled in his novice pilots.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

 

 

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 1

The Darkness Within – Excerpt 1

  I was born in Hungary in 1938, my father was away, fighting in the war my eldest sister assisted with the birth, or so I was told, years later. I grew up as one of a large family with siblings of both sexes. As I was the youngest at that time, I was teased mercilessly  by my older siblings.

Just before bedtime they would delight in telling me the goriest of tales about Vampires and Werewolves and other creatures of our folk lore. As a small child I wouldn’t sleep in the dark, these stories had me so frightened. And, even now as a full-grown man I try to keep out of the dark, or all the old memories come flooding back to haunt me.

As a child I had an idyllic life on the farm, all of us siblings pulled together to make light work of it. And when the work was done we would play, just as hard. We would get home, eat our suppers and then stumble in to our beds.

This was the part of the day, that I personally dreaded, when my siblings recounted their own versions of our countries traditional tales. These tales of blood sucking Vampires and ravenous Werewolves and other legendary monsters. My siblings were fascinated by them, not me, the very thought of them terrifies me, even now.

But, then in 1958, just after my eighteenth birthday, everything changed, there were rumours of discord and rebellion. Hungary was at that time, a satellite of the Soviet      Union, but there were rumblings of discontent, of rioting in the streets.

To you, the reader, this may sound ridiculous, But I was Hungarian, O.K. just an ill – educated farm boy. But if we had to fight for our freedom, I was a patriot, so be it, I would fight for my country!

(C) Damian Grange 2018