Air Aces of World War One

Frank Luke
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Lt. Frank Luke Jr. – The Arizona Balloon Buster 1897 / 1918


Frank Luke’s Parents were of German origin, his family had emigrated to America in 1874. They settled in Phoenix, Arizona. Frank was the family’s fifth child, he had a very strict upbringing which left him with an hatred for authority of any description. He grew up excelling in sports, working in a copper mine and boxing in bare – knuckle bouts.

Following America’s entry in to the war in 1917, Luke enlisted in The Aviation Section U.S. Signal Corps. on September the 25th 1917, and received pilot training in Texas and California. After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant in March 1918, he deployed to France for further training. And in July was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron.

Because of his arrogance and occasional tendencies to fly alone and disobey orders. Luke was disliked by his peers and some of his senior Officers. His only close friend was Lt. Joe Wehner, another American of German origins. His squadron mates nicknamed Luke the ‘Arizona Boaster’ and Wehner, ‘ The Spy’. The 27th was under standing orders to destroy German Observation Balloons, Because of this Luke and Wehner continually volunteered to attack these important targets, even though they were heavily defended by anti – aircraft guns on the ground.

The two pilots began a remarkable string of victories together, with Luke attacking the balloons and Wehner flying protective cover. Wehner was killed in action on September the 18th 1918 in a dogfight with Fokker D. VII’s intent on attacking Luke. Luke then shot down two D.VII’s, two Observation balloons and an Halberstadt; The last credit allowed Luke to record his 13th official kill – A Halberstadt C type Observation plane flown by Flieger Abteilung 36. Between September the 12th and September the 29th, Luke was credited with shooting down fourteen German balloons and four aircraft, Luke achieved these 18 victories in just 10 sorties over eight days, a feat unsurpassed by any other pilot during World war One.

To Be Continued ……..

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 60 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 60 )

  I went to meet Abberline at the Whitechapel Mortuary as we had arranged that morning. He was stood waiting, smoking a cigarette, when he saw me approaching, he snubbed it underfoot and raised a hand to acknowledge he had seen me coming.

As soon as I drew level with him, he banged on the Mortuary door, so that we may be granted admission. Personally I was eager to see my handiwork from earlier in the day. The light was far from perfect, but the Mortuary lights are excellent. I can examine every nuance and detail of my handiwork.

But I must learn to temper my enthusiasm, I keep underestimating Inspector Abberline. The man is no fool and I should not underestimate his intellect, by his own admission, he is a skilled thief -taker. I am no thief but I’m sure the same applies. He is a very diligent officer with a fine brain, although he plays it down. He, is definitely to my mind a worthy adversary, may the best man win.

We were directed to a side room where Annie Chapman’s body lay on a gurney, covered by a single sheet. I waited for my instructions from Abberline, although I was almost quaking with anticipation to see her, call it morbid curiosity if you will, but I longed to turn back the sheet and study my handiwork.

The Inspector said, ‘You may commence now, Doctor, as before anything you consider relevant tell or point out to me?’ I turned back the sheet, I was pleasantly surprised, I expected most of my work to be hidden by the Post Mortem, but it had been scheduled for the morning, so other than a little superficial cleaning, she was as I had left her.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 18

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 18

  The Mayor was thinking, have your moment of glory, Sanjay! and when it all goes tits up, I’ll be the one picking up the pieces, and once again taking control. ‘Zombies’ what a joke, and the joke would land in Sanjay’s lap and wallet.

The Mayor, who on his rounds had realised that in the town, there existed rather a large Anti Zombie resistance. He had accordingly bought a few drinks, greased a few palms, obviously he couldn’t be seen to be taking sides, but he let the people know which side he was on. But he never troubled to explain that it was his own, like any corrupt politician.

The moment that the posters arrived from the printers and were distributed around the town, all hell broke loose. The townsfolk of Littlehampton, in general that is, wanted no truck with Zombies and furthermore were quite prepared to tell the council where to stick them, in no uncertain fashion.

The first obvious protest was by the matronly Maude James and her fellow members of the Littlehampton Women’s Institute, who had decided to picket the council offices en- masse. They were carrying placards stating that Zombies and their kind were not at all welcome in their town, even the B n B Landladies had joined in the protest, somewhat reluctantly but no doubt bought in line by Maude’s steely glare.

Sanjay was infuriated by this gesture, The Mayor, although secretly amused, agreed with Sanjay that the women had gone too far. And he as the town’s Mayor would personally put a stop to It.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 11

Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 11

  Robert lifted his sherry and knocked it back, Now for the Wife. he thought but I can see that being the Master might have some interesting consolations. I have my eyes on two of them, both very interesting propositions.

Much as he had expected Adeline whined on about how long he had been, she was waiting expectantly, she wanted him to make love to her. she made advances to that effect, Robert apologised, ‘It’s sorry its been a really long day, I’m exhausted,’ so, saying he turned over and was soon asleep. Adeline who had expected her wedding night to be so much more, turned on her side and sobbed herself to sleep. Maybe she had expected too much.

The following morning, Adeline never broached the subject, which was fine with Robert, he couldn’t abide her long face and petulant moods. He never for a moment considered that his treatment of her might be the reason.

After they had breakfasted, Adeline expressed a wish to visit her parents, Robert was happy to do so. He wished to keep up the front that all was well, Despite his marriage being nothing but a cruel farce. He would once again put on a face and play the doting and considerate husband, a role that he had learnt to play so well.

He walked in to her parent’s drawing room with Adeline on his arm, praising her on how beautiful she looked and how lucky he was to have her as his Wife, naturally it worked, Adeline was positively beaming with happiness. And once again her parents were fooled in to thinking what a good match they made. If only they knew!

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 59 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 59 )

  I confirmed our meeting at the Mortuary and took my leave, things were ticking over nicely, or so it would seem. Once things had been settled at the scene and Abberline returned to his office. He sent for the Constable, who had been sent to collect the Doctor. The Constable knocked and entered the Inspector’s office, ‘You wanted me? Sir!’ ‘Yes! I did, just a couple of questions about when you fetched the Doctor for me?’ ‘Ask away, Sir!’ replied the Constable. ‘Where was the Doctor, when you arrived to collect him?’ ‘His Housekeeper answered the door to admit me, I waited in the hallway whilst she went upstairs to inform him of my presence. I assume he was in bed, after a few moments he appeared, his hair was tousled and he was yawning as if he had just woken up.’ stated the Constable. ‘When he put on his coat was it wet or did you see any wet clothing or damp patches in the hallway?’ queried the Inspector. ‘His coat was perfectly dry, Sir! and there were no obvious marks or scuffs in the Hallway,’ ‘Thank you, Constable, you can go off duty now, you were very helpful.’

The Constable left, And Inspector Abberline sat twirling his moustache, ‘Damn, Damn, Damn,’ He thought, ‘Is he playing with me, or have I one suspect too many, he appears to have the weapons, and the knowledge of where and how to use them. But am I playing him, or is he playing me, that it would seem is the question?

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

Count Francesco Baracca – Italy’s No.1 Ace 1888 / 1918 Pt.3

  Baracca temporarily upgraded to a Spad XIII in October 1917 and used it to score a couple of victories, one on the 22nd and a joint one on the 25th with Pier Piccio. that night he wrote, ‘ I had my Spad shot up, and its longeron broken in to pieces by enemy fire in an aerial dogfight.’ As a result, Baracca returned to the more manoeuvrable Spad VII, Remarking, ‘ It doesn’t matter that the VII has only one machine gun. provided you are a good fighter a single gun is enough’ although once it was fully airworthy he occasionally flew sorties with the Spad XIII.

A dedicated fighter pilot, Baracca chose to spend as much time as he could at the front, and remained as much as possible with the 91st Squadriglia even when promoted to Maggiore in November 1917. A modest, sensitive man he remained conscious of his duties, both to his squadron comrades and to his defeated enemies. He would try to visit his victims in hospital to pay his respects, Or he would place a wreath on the grave of those he killed. His score of victories stood at 30 by the end of 1917.

Soon afterwards, Baracca, Piccio and Ruffo di Calabria were charged with evaluating the Ansoldo A1 ‘Balilla’ fighter. Baracca was personally decorated by King Victor Emmanuel III at this time. It was March 1918, before Baracca finally convinced the authorities to allow him to return to front line duties. He was not back at the front for long before he found himself in the same position as the previous October, his Squadron was forced to withdraw due to enemy advances on 27th April 1918. It was around this time that he introduced the ‘Griffon’ insignia for his squadron’s aircraft. Most of his pilot’s adopted it, although some still flaunted the prancing stallion in respect to their leader.

Baracca saw little action in 1918, but added more victories, his total now stood at 34, before failing to return from a mission on the Montello area on the 19th of June. The Italians were taking advantage of their air superiority to fly treetop ground attack missions in to a hail of small arms fire. In the 06.30 troop support mission, Baracca and rookie pilot Tenente Franco Osnago were hit by ground fire and separated from each other. A few minutes later both Osnago and observers at their home airfield saw a burning airplane fall. His death, shot in the back of the head was claimed by An Austrian two- seater but even today it is disputed. Like the death of the Red Baron, he was being shot at from the air and extensive fire from the ground, it would be difficult in the least to say whose shot led to his demise. Baracca’s 34 victories were confirmed by both Italian and Austro- Hungarian sources. After the war, Baracca’s mother presented Enzo Ferrari with her son’s Prancing horse insignia and it is carried by Ferrari cars even today.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 58 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story – ( Excerpt 58 )

  To my dismay it was a long cold wait, I was just about to call it off when I saw McGinty and my prey approaching. Unfortunately, Annie recognised me and somehow realised I was there to end her life. She Cried, ‘No!’ but she was too late, Her throat was slit. And if I say so myself a far neater job than poor ‘Polly’ I lowered her down to the ground and began my surgery on her. It would seem that this time, time was on my side.

After I had dealt with Annie, I returned home determined to try and sneak a couple of hours of sleep, The time was almost 6a.m. so I was pushing it.

That morning Abberline sent a Constable to collect me, I had just got in to my bed, but that was fine, I’m sure no suspicion would pass on to a Doctor who arrived yawning with hair still tousled from his bed. It was obvious to me why I had been called. They had discovered Annie’s body, as they should, I had made no effort to conceal my handiwork.

Inspector Abberline and his Sergeant were present as were two Constables. There was a Doctor doing a preliminary examination at the scene, Whom I later discovered was Dr. George Bagster Philips, the Home Office Pathologist. Abberline didn’t bother to introduce me, I was his man and I suppose to his way of thinking, The ace up his sleeve.

He took me aside and said if it were possible could we meet once again at the Whitechapel Mortuary at 7.30p.m. that evening. So that I may give my own opinions on the cadaver of Annie Chapman. He apologised for dragging me out of bed, He wasn’t aware that Dr.Philips had been summoned until he arrived on the scene a few moments before myself, He too had been fetched from his bed to attend the scene.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 17

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 17

  He was busy in the bedroom of the Seaman’s Rest, one of the pubs that he owned. It was the landlord’s day off, he had gone sea fishing. The Mayor, never one to miss an opportunity was busy servicing Ethel, the landlady. His trousers flapped around his ankles as he serviced Ethel doggy-fashion stood at the foot of her bed.

Ethel was the Mayors usual fayre, Voluptuous, Married and very available. And, as always the Mayor had arrived at an opportune moment, just as she had stepped out of the shower and was towelling herself dry. She was almost naked, and the Mayor never one to miss an opportunity, took this one in both hands….literally. Ethel wasn’t too concerned the Mayor filled a need and Ethel had lots of Needs!

Sanjay was incensed, to his way of thinking this meeting was one of some importance, both to himself and the town. And as usual no decision could be reached because once again the Mayor was conspicuous by his absence. They were just about to adjourn the meeting when the Mayor came blustering in, mouthing his usual excuses.

The Mayor considered his excuse as sufficient, the remainder of the council found it insulting and patronising due to its lack of credibility, but at least now the meeting could commence. Sanjay put forward his proposal and the arranged dates and it was agreed on unanimously, even the Captain stirred long enough to shout his ‘Aye!’

And so the die was cast, Sanjay was jubilant, he thought he had finally put one over on the Mayor, but he really should have known better. He was laying out all the money, but the Mayor with all the fingers he had in the town, was bound to make a tidy share of the profits.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Cursed through the Generations – Excerpt 10

Cursed through the Generations – Excerpt 10

  ‘You had better come here then’ he said pulling her roughly on to his knee and kissing her passionately on her lips, she responded in kind, he pulled her closer to him, she didn’t appear to be rejecting his advances so he squeezed her breasts through her clothing, she moaned passionately.

Robert took that as a sign of encouragement, he undid the front of her clothing and let her breasts hang free, they were small but beautifully pert with erect nipples. He fondled her breasts gently, then lifted one to his mouth and started to flick the nipple with his tongue, side to side, until it stood rigid then he did the same with the other.

Josie was by now totally aroused and punching him in the back, begging to be released. He lifted his head and kissed her passionately on the lips once more, allowing his tongue to slide in to her waiting mouth. Robert shoved his hand up her petticoats as an aroused Josie struggled to release his manhood.

A few minutes of thrashing about on the carpet and it was all over, Josie had climaxed and so had he, now he was prepared to meet his wife. He kissed Josie gently and slipped a silver shilling in to her palm, ‘Be discreet! and there could be lots more, where this came from!’ he stated quietly, Then returning to the role of Master, ‘Now, make yourself respectable and get back to your duties. Josie, ever obedient, adjusted her clothing and scuttled off.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – a Love Story ( Excerpt 57 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 57 )

  I summoned McGinty and told him to seek out Annie Chapman and to inform me of where she was likely to be found after dark. I apologised that it was something of a rather urgent nature, but I felt I had a point to prove.

I had all but convinced Abberline that our man would kill again, so now he must, if only to keep up my credibility with the Police.

McGinty reported back that she was often seen plying for trade in the area of Hanbury Street, He was sorry but due to the time restraints, he couldn’t be more accurate than that.

It was a lot less than I had hoped for, but nonetheless it was information, and that was what allowed me to plan. I went down to the cellar where I had a large scale map of the area, I checked out Hanbury Street and its environs so that I was certain that I had a clear escape route, if anything should go wrong, better safe than in the hands of the Police or Vigilantes.

At 11.30 p.m. on Friday 7th of September I sent McGinty out to find her. I, Myself left via the cellar at 1.00 a.m on Saturday the 8th of September. The day that Annie would meet her maker or my ministrations which would send her there.

It was a cold Autumn night, I hoped it wouldn’t be a long drawn out wait, unfortunately you can plan everything else but not the vagaries of your victim. You can bait the trap, but the mouse will arrive in its own good time, not too agree with your self imposed schedule!

(C) Damian Grange 2018