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


Air Aces of World War One




Photograph – Courtesy of Pinterest

Count Francesco Baracca – Italy’s No.1 Ace 1888 / 1918 Pt 2


The Nieuport 11 single seat fighter, armed with 2 lewis guns entered Italian service in April 1916. And on the 7th of April flying this aircraft, Baracca scored his 1st victory, holing the fuel tank of a Hansa Brandenberg C1 and wounding both of the crew. This was Italy’s first aerial victory of the war. This 1st victory featured his favourite manoeuvre, which was to zoom in unseen behind and below an enemy and then fire at close range.

It was a little later that Baracca, now flying a Nieuport 17 adopted as his personal emblem, the black prancing horse in tribute to his former cavalry regiment. This prompted some of the Tabloids to dub him, ‘Cavalier of the Skies’ flying the Nieuport 17 and then from March 1917, The Spad VII, he scored both individually, and in combination with other Italian aces.

Baracca’s second victory was an Austrian Lohner over Gorizia on April 1916, after his third victory he was transferred to 70a Squadriglia. Promoted to Capitano, Baracca remained with this unit until with 9 victories, he was transferred to The newly-formed 91st Squadriglia, known as the ‘Squadron of the Aces’ on 1st May 1917. By that time his ever increasing list of victories had made him nationally famous. Whilst he had initially dodged the responsibilities and paperwork that went with command, he finally settled in to heading the squadron.

Baracca’s friend and Ace Fulco Ruffio di Calabria, came close to ending Baracca’s career, and life in June 1917, Fulco burst out of a cloud firing in a head-on pass at a enemy aircraft barely missing Baracca’s aircraft. Later on the ground Baracca assured his companion, ‘Dear Fulco, next time if you want to shoot me down, aim a couple of metres to the right, now lets go for a drink and not talk about it any more.’

To Be Continued …………

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 56 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 56 )

  Some people say that life is a learning curve, I wonder if poor Mary has learnt anything by her mistakes, or is she still wondering, totally oblivious to the nightmare that she has bought down on herself and her friends. Ah! well, ignorance is bliss, is something they also say.

And now that ‘Polly’ is safely settled in her grave, I suppose I must make a decision as to who is to be next in my little parade of cadavers, decisions, decisions, it will be soon.

One thing I am certain of, it will be soon I wish to keep up the terror for my chosen victims. The more desperate they become, the more they become putty in my hands. I will make my selection and send McGinty to seek her out, and hopefully this time I will have ample time to do my best or worst, all depending on your viewpoint.

I decided on Annie Chapman, I would be doing her a favour, she was suffering from Tuberculosis and I also suspected she had Syphilis, so she hadn’t long to live, why prolong the agony when I can end it for her. It is a Christian thing to do, to end a miserable life.

It would also test Abberline’s mettle, I am really enjoying our little game. I know that he suspects me, along with others, but as yet he has not a smidgin of proof, nor will he have. For a Policeman, He is very astute, but is that enough!

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 16

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 16

  Of course Dave Knowles had no inkling of this. He was about to discover that there was one more perk on offer than he had bargained for, if Samira had her way, and she fully intended too.

At the same time as Samira was having her erotic daydreams, three of the senior girls of the Littlehampton Academy were having a crafty fag behind the bike shed and discussing the merits of their boyfriends. Jane Mullen, who was probably the most forward of them was having a relationship with one of the Mayor’s transient employees. They were meeting at the Arcade where he was employed, then back to his caravan to drink, smoke weed and on occasion, have sex.

Jane was trying hard to persuade one of her mates to go with her, two boys shared the caravan, and much as she enjoyed sex, she wasn’t about to take on two of them. Sally Dobbs, a busty blonde was wavering, she wasn’t the brightest so she shouldn’t take much convincing. The mention of booze, weed and sex quite quickly aroused her interest. they agreed to meet up that night and give it a go, after all they had nothing to lose, their virginity had already been given away, even though they were only sixteen.

The Council meeting to promote the Zombie Weekend was just about to commence, but as per usual, The Mayor was not in attendance, he no doubt had pressing Council Business elsewhere!

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 9

Cursed Through the Generations – Excerpt 9

  On arrival at their new home, the staff were gathered to welcome them, The Cook / Housekeeper Mrs Trimble, her husband George, who doubled as Butler and Valet to Robert, there were two young local girls employed as housemaids, they were called Elsie and Josie, both young and pretty, Robert immediately took a liking to them, There was also a Groom/ Gardener named Joe and a scullery maid called Ivy.

They all wished their new Master and Mistress Congratulations and good wishes for the future, then they left and went about their duties. Adeline said that she would retire for the night and pleaded with Robert to join her, he replied that he would just have a sherry, then he would join her.

He rang the service bell, and Josie appeared, ‘May I be of service, Sir?’ she asked politely. ‘I’m sure you can, will you get me a sweet sherry, please! Josie, isn’t it?’ he enquired smiling kindly at her. ‘Yes, sir! I am Josie,’ she replied. ‘And how old are you Josie, may I ask?’ he queried. ‘I’m seventeen, nearly eighteen, sir,’ she replied. ‘Well Josie, you are a very pretty girl,’ he stated giving her a winning smile.

‘That’s very kind of you to say so, sir,’ she said colouring slightly. ‘You are blushing?’ he said, ‘ I’m sure I’m not the first man to tell you. you are pretty, I’ll bet lots of boys have told you so?’ ‘ Boys, yes! but you are a man, and my Master.

‘And what would you say, if that same Master wanted to kiss you?’ He asked. ‘He is my Master I would have no choice but to do as he asks,’ she replied smiling and blushing even more.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 55 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 55 )

  A day or so later I was perusing the tabloids over breakfast, when I saw that today the funeral of ‘Polly’ Nichols was taking place. I decided that although she was an occasional patient of mine, it would be unwise for me to appear there. Abberline was no fool, he would no doubt have men there recording the comings and goings in the hope that the Ripper might show himself. In his position I would have done the same.

I wonder if Mary and her dwindling bunch of friends will dare to show their faces. I would imagine that by now they are beginning to be a little concerned about who might be next. But they have no need to be concerned, I will decide in due course.

Mary Jane Kelly’s diary 6th September 1888

Me and the girls went to ‘Polly’s’ funeral this morning, it was awful. We were all looking at each other and wondering who would be next. There were lots of people there, is he among them, our nemisis , deciding who will be his next victim? I don’t want to leave the safety of my room at night, but I have no choice, I need to earn a few pence to live, If you can call this living, waiting for the Ripper to end your life. The worst of it is not one of the girls has a clue to who we are being persecuted by. What have we done other than try to earn a meagre living on the streets. Is it some religious nutter or are the pimps trying to teach us some kind of lesson. Oh! Jack, if i ever needed you, I need you now, what a damned fool I have been!

(C) Damian Grange 2018