Air Aces of World War One



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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

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 3

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 3

  The word had spread, more and more people were joining the revolt. It was no longer an organised protest, now just a discordant mob of miscreants that wanted blood and would settle for nothing less, some were alcohol fuelled, others by their thirst for revenge, but they all had a common goal, destroy the Karlstadts.

Anders Karlstadt and his Mother, The Countess appeared on the castle wall above the gateway and ordered the mob to disperse. If they persisted in their actions they would be punished and their ring leaders would surely hang for rebelling against their betters.

On hearing this threat the mob went wild, hurling whatever debris was too hand at the Karlstadt’s above. The Countess fell injured when a stone struck her on the forehead, Anders in an effort to defend her, pulled a pistol from his coat and fired into the crowd, his shot injured one of the townsfolk. The retaliation was swift and decisive, Anders was cut down by a hail of stones and musketry.

With no one left to antagonise, the crowd turned their attention on the castle itself. They attacked the gate until by sheer weight of numbers they managed to force it aside and gain entry to the castle interior. Once inside they gathered up the bodies of the Karlstadt’s and staked them through the heart, the time honoured method of disposing of the Vampire species.

Then  to be certain they were rid of them for good, they burned the corpse’s. Then stormed through the castle burning wherever the went. Their intention being to cauterise the place of evil forever, Purification by fire!

Then they attacked the very foundations of the castle itself, but to no avail. The castle had been built to last and withstand invasion from whatever source. They managed to get a few bricks to topple over and they knocked a few tiles off the walls, but nothing of a serious or lasting nature. And so, the castle stood as a reminder of their work that day. They had done as they intended, or so they thought?

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Conor Dillon – Beginnings Except 22

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 22

  ‘So what of my future?’ I asked, ‘Do I have one?’ I was still unsure of my position. ‘You are my son, bastard or not, you will have my name and if you will, you can fight besides myself and your other relatives here in Germany.

‘That I will happily do, if you can find employment for my comrades and I, but I don’t expect nor seek preferential treatment.’ I stated honestly. ‘ I can assure you that preferential treatment is the one thing you will not be getting, there are already too many Dillon’s in this Regiment, so watch your back, some of your relatives will not take kindly to your presence here,’ he warned me as graciously as he could.

‘So am I likely to get shot in the back?’ I asked my new found Father. ‘Nothing as subtle as that, but in the heat of battle, things happen, just be wary of  who you befriend, the man may shake your hand with one hand and plunge a dagger in your chest with the other,’ He reminded me.

We left the French encampment and after roughly half a days ride arrived at the encampment of my Father’s Regiment. The first thing I noticed was how orderly and busy everything seemed. All the tents were in orderly rows, and the area seemed very tidy not like the slovenly French encampment. I should not have been surprised, I had heard that my Father was a strict disciplinarian.

In the centre of the encampment was my Father’s Headquarters, more of a marquee than tent, it had a small personal area and the rest was where the Officer’s dined and discussed strategies.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 117 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 117 )

  The next few days flew by, and before I knew it, it was Friday. My brother, Giles had arrived on the morning train and was upstairs getting settled in to his room. I had received a message from the Abberline’s saying that they wouldn’t miss my farewell party for the world. So happily everything was set.

Mrs Mc Ginty had been preparing the meal for several days, I had no inkling of what we were about to receive, only that it would probably the finest meal I would receive this side of the ocean.

Whilst his wife laboured in the kitchen, I had her husband busy upstairs loading my steamer trunk with all the clothes and other necessities that I would need in my new position. As well as the tools of my trade, I instructed him to load my microscope, a few of what I considered essential medical tomes and as many boxes of pills and potions that it would safely carry. I fully intended to be prepared for any emergency.

I spent a pleasant day showing Giles round the sights of London, He was surprised by the squalor and poverty that he encountered. But as I explained to him, the populace of London were not as self-sufficient as their country cousins.

We arrived back home about tea time, plenty of time to relax and prepare ourselves for the evening’s festivities. Personally speaking, it was something of a bitter sweet celebration. I was leaving my home and friends and travelling to a country that might be openly hostile towards me. I knew I was on the road to redemption. But was this truly the way!

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Air Aces of World War One


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Major Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock V.C. – British Ace 1887 / 1918 Pt.2

Where in February he was posted to the new No.74 Squadron, again as a flight commander. He returned to France with this unit at the end of March, claiming 36 more victories between the 12th of April ands the 16th of June, 17 of them in S.E.5a D278.

He claimed four in a day on the 21st of May, Three in a day on two occasions and two in a day on seven occasions. A warded a D.S.O. and bar, he was considered to be an outstanding Patrol Leader and on the 8th of June he was given command 0f 85 squadron when “Billy” Bishop was recalled to England.

He claimed seven further victories by the 22nd of July, but on the 26thof that month, having shared with his wingman in shooting down a two- seater, his 61st victory, when his aircraft was hit by ground fire when flying low over the German lines. And he crashed to his death in flames in S.E.5a E1295, in which he had claimed all his recent victories since joining the unit.

He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on the 18th of July 1919, the citation crediting with 59 victories. The 61 claims which he actually recorded ( or were made for him, as in the case of the last one ) Included 30 and 5 share destroyed, 3 and 2 shared captured, 1 balloon destroyed, plus 17 and 1 shared out of control.

Mannock was one of the most decorated men in the British armed Forces, He received the Victoria Cross the Highest British award for gallantry, The Distinguished Service Order with two Bars  and the Military Cross twice.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 116 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 116 )

  Unfortunately, Fred wasn’t at the Police Station so I left a message with the Desk Sergeant who promised that Inspector Abberline would receive my message the moment he arrived back at the station.

I had no concern that Fred and Lizzie wouldn’t be at the party, I had also sent a letter to my sibling, Giles asking if he would be so good as to take a trip up to London. It might well be a little while before we see each other again, and it would be good to go with his blessing.

I had tentatively mentioned the idea of a party to Mrs Mc Ginty, she seemed delighted with the idea. I think when she initially heard that I was leaving I believe she had the impression that she would lose her employment and also a home for herself and her husband.

I explained to her that at the moment I could not confirm the amount of guests, but it may be three, possibly more. She assured me that it would not be a problem and that she would prepare something special, both for my guests and myself.

That was another problem solved, I had a little time on my hands, so I decided to visit the Military Tailor and see how my uniforms were progressing. The tailor remembered me, mainly because there had been so few doctors passing through his Establishment in recent years, he asked me to take a seat for a moment whilst he checked on the progress of my order with the workroom. He returned in a few moments with my uniforms folded over his arm.

He led me through to a fitting room, where I tried them on. Once I was wearing them, he pushed, prodded and adjusted until he was satisfied with the fit. He was obviously a craftsman, and nothing left his without his own and his customers complete satisfaction.

I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a man transformed from civilian to soldier. I don’t know if it was state of mind or just the wearing of the uniform, but my whole bearing seemed to change. I looked and felt like an Officer, raw maybe, but nonetheless an officer.

(C) Damian Grange 2018



The Castle Karstadt – Excerpt 2


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The Castle Karstadt – Excerpt 2

  The local peasants having something of a superstitious background, believed that there was a vampire in their midst. They sent a spokesmen to the town to express their concerns to the Mayor and Council. The Mayor who being an educated man was sceptical until a girl who was known to him was abducted from the town.

He at once called out the local militia, and a thorough search was made. The girl’s remains were found on land belonging to the Karlstadt family.

The Karlstadt’s eldest son, Anders was known to be a bit of a libertine with the local peasant girls. The superstitious  peasants  immediately placed the blame on the Karstadts. They of course denied any knowledge of it, which inflamed the peasants even more.

A meeting was held, but by diplomacy and threats, The Mayor and Council managed to keep them in check. Then the following day, the Mayor’s only daughter went missing. The hue and cry was raised and once again her corpse was found on Karlstadt land.

The Mayor confused by feelings of grief and a hunger for revenge, raised a mob of like-minded peasants and townsfolk with the express purpose of wiping out the Karlstadt’s and ridding themselves of the curse of the vampire. Once and for all.

What began as a show of force, soon turned in to a mob. screaming for blood and vengeance. They would burn down the castle, and destroy the curse of the Karlstadt’s  for eternity.

The town priest, pushed to the front of the mob, exhorting them in the name of the Holy Father to cease this madness. But he was soon pushed aside by sheer weight of numbers as they advanced on the castle and its inhabitants. Be they human or vampire, the word had spread, More and more people were joining the revolt against the Karlstadt’s.

(C) Damian Grange 2018



Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 21

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 21

  They all turned in unison toward where they had heard the sound of several horses. The new arrivals were wearing the red coats with black facings and black cuffs, brass buttons and gold edged black tricornes of the Regiment Dillon.

Once they had dismounted and attended to their horses, they came towards the four companions. Their leader was an older distinguished looking man, Conor studied him, he certainly had that air of nobility about him, he had to be the Lord Dillon, his father, Conor suddenly felt quite vulnerable.

The Lord saw Black Michael and Shamus and broke into a smile, ‘I might have known you pair of rogues would be involved when I heard that some Irishmen had been attacking our allies?’ he was grinning, he obviously knew them both well, but where do I fit in this equation, thought Conor.

‘Did I hear the story correctly, there is one amongst you who claims to be my son, which of you, is he?’ he asked looking towards James and myself. ‘I am Conor Dillon, your Lordship, and I have a letter of introduction from my Mother, I stated, then reaching inside my shirt, ‘And this ring, which you may recognise by the crest, which I believe is your own?’ I paused to let my words have and effect.

‘And what do you expect from me boy, if I admit to siring you?’ asked his Lordship. ‘I want recognition as your bastard son, or are you planning to have me killed, the same as you did my father, with an hired assassin,’ I stated angrily.

‘Believe me boy, because I speak the truth, I am aware that the killing of your Father was done in my name, but never by my orders, your Father and I were friends and I grieve his passing!’ he stated in what to my young ears sounded like sincerity  and sorrow, I was even more confused now.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 115 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 115 )

  ‘Well!’ said the Major, ‘ I wish you the best of luck in South Africa, and here’s to your safe return, he offered me his hand which I happily shook, I rather liked the Major.

After the Major had left, I sat and took stock of my situation, I had a mere five days to get my affairs in order before I sailed off to war. The first priority was to visit the tailor and ensure that I had my uniforms, whilst there it may be a good idea to get extra shirts and underwear. If it was as hot there as I had been led to believe I would probably need them.

The one thing that I had not considered suddenly sprung to mind, should I make a will. It, certainly wasn’t my intention to die for my country, but I was going to be facing a well armed and hostile foe. It was certainly something to give consideration too.

But for the moment I had more pressing concerns to deal with, today was the 10th and I was due to sail on Sunday, which was the 15th. I had planned to hold a farewell party for a few close friends, but I think the latest I can envisage holding it is Friday night. I can see Saturday being last minute panic day and I’m usually so organised.

I had to go out on some matter or other which took me to within a few streets of 11 Division. So I called in to see Fred Abberline to invite him and his wife Lizzie in person, other than family they were probably my closest friends.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Air Aces of World War One

Mick Mannock
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Major Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock V.C. – British Ace 1887 / 1918

  Mannock was born in 1887 to an English Father, Edward Mannock and an Irish Mother. His Father served in the British Army and Mannock spent much of his earlier life in India. Mannock was a sickly child and developed many ailments in his formative years.

Upon his return to England, he became a fervent supporter of Irish Nationalism and The Irish Home Rule Movement, but later became a member of the Independent Labour Party where he satisfied his interest in politics.

In 1914, Mannock was working as a telephone engineer in Turkey. After the Ottoman Empires entry in to the war on the side of the Central Powers, he was interned. As a prisoner he was badly treated and soon fell ill. The Turkish Authorities repatriated him to Britain believing him to be unfit for war service.

Mannock recovered and joined the Royal Engineers then transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps. He moved services again and in 1916 joined the Royal Flying Corps. After completing his training he was assigned to No.40 Squadron R.F.C. Mannock went into combat on the Western Front participating in three separate combat tours. After a slow start he began to prove himself as an exceptional pilot, scoring his first victory on the 7th of May 1917.

His total had risen to 15 by the end of September for which he was awarded the Military Cross with Bar and promoted to Flight Commander. The squadron then converted from Nieuport’s to S.E.5’s in which he claimed one further victory during January 1918. He was then returned to Home Establishment.

To Be Continued ……………..

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 115 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 115 )

  ‘Have you any questions you would like to ask, this may be the last time we meet,’ stated the Major. ‘Who will be my travelling companions, do you know?’ I asked in reply. ‘I do, as it happens, you will be travelling with the first contingent of The Imperial Yeomanry, like you they are all volunteers, you should get along fine with them.’

‘Will I have my own cabin, or will I be sharing?’ I asked, more out of curiosity than concern.’ ‘That, I am afraid is out of my hands, you will receive your allocation from the ships Officers, but if you are sharing it will be with another Officer’ I was assured.

‘Will I be given the opportunity to train some of the soldiers in basic Medical skills, so that in the field they may attend to each others wounds and injuries,’ I queried. ‘That, I am afraid depends on you and their Commanding Officer, they will have time on their hands, he will be a fool if he does not accept your offer. But unfortunately I can not order him to do so!

‘So, I will have to make my own negotiations, and try to convince him of the worth of what I am offering!’ I asked, seeking conformation of his words.

‘Yes! I am afraid you will have to sell him your proposals and the benefits to him and to his unit, Do you think you can do that? asked the Major. ‘I don’t see why not, I’ve sold bigger proposals in Whitechapel and put up a convincing argument on my own and my patient’s behalf,’ I replied part to re-assure the Major and also myself!

(C) Damian Grange 2018