Air Aces of World War One





  Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest


Luke’s final flight took place during the first phase of the Meuse – Argonne Offensive. On September the 28th after scoring his 14th and 15th victories he landed his Spad XIII at the French Aerodrome at Cicognes, where he stayed overnight, claiming engine problems. On his return to the 1st Pursuit Group’s Base at Rembercourt the next day. He was confronted by Capt. Alfred. a. Grant, his squadron’s commanding officer.

Despite being under threat of arrest for being AWOL, Like took off without Authorisation and flew to a forward airbase at Verdun, where his sympathetic Group Commander Major Hartney, cancelled the arrest order and gave Luke tacit approval to continue with his balloon hunting.

That evening Luke flew to the front to attack three balloons in the vicinity of Dun – Sur – Meuse, some six miles behind the German lines. He first dropped a message to a nearby U.S. Balloon Unit, alerting them to observe his imminent attacks. Luke successfully shot down the balloons but was severely wounded by a single machine gun bullet fired from a hill above him, A mile east of the last balloon he had attacked.

Luke landed in a field, just west of the small village of Murvaux, after strafing a group of German Soldiers on the ground, near the Russieau de Bradon, a stream leading to the River Meuse. He made his way to the stream intending to reach the cover of its adjacent underbrush, but finally collapsed 200 metres from his Aircraft. Approached by the German Infantry, Like drew his Colt 1911 Pistol and fired of a few rounds before succumbing to his wounds.

Frank Luke Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour, to join the two Distinguished Service Crosses that he had already received.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 62 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 62 )

  ‘ Excuse me for saying this!’ said Abberline, ‘ But I sense that you admire him ?’ ‘ Not the man himself, I deplore him, It is his technique that I admire, he his as skilled a surgeon as I have seen anywhere, even in the finest hospitals. Actually on that score I have an idea that I would like to run by you for your opinion on my thoughts?’ I stated.

‘Please be so good as to tell me your thoughts, as you know any input is welcome at the moment as its seems like we are still chasing shadows, as you are aware,’ stated Abberline candidly.

‘What do we really know about our perpetrator, First, He his, a skilled surgeon, with it would appear access to the required tools,’ the Inspector nodded his agreement. ‘Second, he performs his, for want of a better word, operations speedily and in the worst of conditions, bad weather, extremely poor lighting, but he still turns in a first-rate job, you still with me?’

‘ I am listening carefully, I get the overall picture, but not your reasoning?’ stated the Inspector. ‘ Well to take the chances, he takes, he must have nerves of steel my premise is that he might be a military man, who is used to operating under fire and in dire conditions,’ I stopped there I wanted Inspector Abberline to accept the seed that I had planted.

He thought for a moment, stroking his moustache, ‘ Damn! it makes admirable sense, why didn’t I think of that, But why is he killing?’ ‘ Maybe he has witnessed too many deaths and now thinks he can play God!’ was my answer.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 19

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 19

  The Mayor was nobody’s fool, he had noticed the way Maude James looked at him, like he was her next meal, under different circumstances he would be flattered, but she was a single woman. But if that’s what it took to clear the pickets, he was prepared to sacrifice his body for the cause, there was profit to be made.

He considered Maude James with her matronly bust and generous behind, if she were a married woman he would no doubt have been bedding her long ago. But, she was a single woman and a spinster to boot, this situation would have to be handled very delicately, or so he thought.

He ventured outside to meet the protestors, Braving the heckling and the placards that were virtually shoved in his face. He didn’t care he knew he had the power to bring this protest to an end.

He signalled to Maude James, that he would like to speak to her, She, quietened her members and then went to the Mayor’s side. ‘Hello, Maude, you look very nice today!’ was all it took, and she was putty in the Mayor’s hands.

‘I would like you to come around to mine tonight, so that we can discuss this situation like reasonable adults, I feel sure a compromise of some sort can be reached,’ he stated. Maude by this time was having hot flushes and blushing uncontrollably, all her wildest dreams were about to come true, and tonight could be the night. All her bedtime fantasies for months had been about meeting and copulating with the Mayor.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 12

Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 12

  Her father asked Robert if he could spare him a little time, Robert, ever the gentleman referred to his wife, Who said, ‘It was fine!’ His Father in Law led him to his study and asked him to take a seat. All very formal, thought Robert I wonder what this is all about.

Her Father began to speak, ‘ As I am sure you are well aware, Adeline, my Daughter, being an only child is my sole heir and beneficiary, should anything happen to my Wife or Myself. ‘I am aware of it,’ Robert agreed, ‘ But it is not something that I like to dwell upon, I would hate to think of either of you coming to harm,’ He stated humbly.

‘However!’, stated her Father, ‘ The fact remains, if some harm should befall us, Adeline will inherit a considerable sum of money, the majority of which is tied up in my business. Which is the reason I wanted to talk to you privately, with your consent I would like to take you on as a junior partner and train you to take the reins should anything untoward happen to me, this way the business and the money stays in the family.’ Robert smiled to himself, this was beyond his wildest dreams, he was virtually being handed the Maltraver’s fortune on a plate.

‘I, for once,’ said Robert, ‘ Find myself totally at a loss for words at your proposition, I realise that it won’t be easy starting at the bottom, But I have to earn a living to support my Wife, your Daughter, what better way, thank you so much!’ he said gratefully.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 61 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 61 )

  I first examined her neck, this time I was proud of my work, a straight cut from left to right with no faltering. I read through Bagster Philips preliminary notes, The Knife used to sever the neck and inflict wounds on the abdomen were probably the same, a thin bladed knife six to eight inches long, extremely sharp in other words my trusty Liston Knife. The one tool no surgeon should be without.

He thought that it was some form of surgical knife, he surmised that the Knives used by slaughtermen if well sharpened were a possibility, but the knives used by leather workers were far too short, he completely ruled out swords or bayonets. He conceded that our perpetrator had a certain amount of knowledge with regard to human anatomy.

The abdomen had been entirely laid open, the intestines severed from their mesmeric attachments had been lifted out of the body and placed on the victim’s shoulder; whilst from the pelvis of the corpse, the uterus and its appendages with the upper portion of the vagina and two thirds of the bladder had been removed and were nowhere to be found at the scene of her death. All the cuts were expertly administered and Bagster Philips considered that a competent surgeon under hospital conditions would have taken around an hour to do work to this standard. Ahem, praise indeed.

‘ Well Doctor! any conclusions? ‘ asked a distinctly queasy looking Abberline. ‘ Of one thing I am certain, this is the work of our man, and like I promised he is escalating. He dotes on the feeling of power that it gives him and now he’s taken to collecting souvenirs, to my mind we are dealing with a very dangerous individual!’ was my earnest reply.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

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