Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 109 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 109 )

‘When do you forecast it will begin, this war of yours?’ I questioned. ‘Any day now, by all accounts, they , the Boers, are already flexing their muscles, but of course we will have to send troops, If you are interested, now is the time to apply!’

‘But who would I apply too, I have no experience in this kind of undertaking?’ I replied in all honesty. ‘I would send a letter to the War Office, stating your credentials and your willingness to volunteer for service in South Africa, I’ll wager you get a reply quite quickly’ was his reply.

‘I’ll give it a go, thank you Giles your advice has been truly helpful’ I said. ‘ So, the next time I see you. you might be in a nice smart uniform, I’m sure you will look quite dashing! said my brother smiling.

The following day, I said my farewells and caught the train back to London. As soon as I was home and rested, I began to compose my application to the War Office. At twenty – six years old I considered myself fit for the rigours of campaigning in a hostile climate without being a burden on my comrades.

I had numerous certificates and diplomas to attest to my skills, plus my experience catering to the poor and destitute in Whitechapel. I considered myself the ideal candidate, but best not get too smug, the powers that be, they may think the total opposite. The following day I posted my letter, I would just have to wait and see?

(c) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One


Photograph – Courtesy of Pinterest

Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 6

Voss returned from leave on the 23rd 0f September 1917 not yet fully rested; as fellow pilot Alois Heldmann observed, ‘He had the nervous instability of a cat, I think it would be fair to say that he was flying on his nerves.’ Nevertheless, Voss flew a morning mission and shot down an Airco D.H.4 from 57 Squadron at 09.30 hrs.

Upon his return to base with bullet holes in his Fokker. He took advantage of Richtofen’s absence at the Voss family hunting lodge to celebrate with a victory loop before landing. In contrast to Voss’s usual tidy flying garb, he was wearing striped gray trousers, dirty gray sweater ands high lace-up boots.

Just before Werner landed, brothers Max and Otto Voss arrived at Jasta 10 for a visit. They were both now in the German Military, Otto was a 19yrs old Army Leutnant bucking  for an opportunity to become a flier like his elder brother. Max Jr. was a 16yrs old sergeant. The young Ace was fatigued and told his brothers he was eagerly awaiting further time off. His brothers noticed his haggard appearance, so apparent in his final photographs. After a meal, the Voss brothers posed before Werner’s camera, which was fitted with a time release shutter. Then Voss was scheduled for another patrol.

On the other side of the lines, 56 Squadron was mustering for its own patrols, ‘B’ Flight was led by Capt. James Mc Cudden, himself an Ace with a final total of 57 victories, his flight included Lt. Arthur Rhys-Davids and Capt, Keith Muspratt, also both Aces. Three other pilots were attached to ‘B’ flight for this sortie, Lts. V.P. Cronyn, R.W.Young and Charles Jeffs.

Also mustering for patrol was flight ‘C’ led by Capt. Geoffrey Hilton Bowman followed by Lt. Reginald Hoidge and Lt. Richard Maybury all three also Aces, completing the flight were Lts E.A. Taylor and S.J. Gardiner.

On the German side of the lines, Voss had changed clothing, he wore a colourful civilian silk dress shirt beneath his unbuttoned knee length brown leather flying coat. His brown flying boots shone from beneath the hem of his coat. His Pour Le Merite was at his throat.

To Be Continued …………..

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 108 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 108 )

‘I find myself in something of a dilemma, I enjoy my work at the Whitechapel Infirmary, but I feel frustrated, I want to do more for my fellow man.’ I explained.

‘Have you considered the services, there will be another war soon, the Boers are planning to declare an Independent Republic in Sothern Africa. The Imperialists will not allow it to happen.’ replied my Brother.

‘You mean enlist as a soldier? I don’t know if I’m cut out for that!’ I said. ‘ Not as a soldier, but as a Medical Officer, once this war start’s they will be crying out for men with your experience,’ my Brother assured me.

‘What makes you so certain that this war is imminent, why should we have to fight the Boers again, its only a few years ago that we beat them?’ I queried.

This time it will not be so easy, The Boers have better weapons, including some modern artillery and several competent generals. The Imperialists in the Government see them as a threat to Britain having an African Empire. Not only that but there is gold, diamonds and other valuable minerals that the powers that be covet.’ explained my Brother.

‘How do you know all this?’ I queried, wondering who his source was. ‘Mother Church has eyes and ears everywhere, now that Father is a Bishop, you would be amazed at what I get to know!’ replied Giles with a smile.

The Imperialists see it as a walk over, but I believe the Army is in for a bloody nose, that’s when you will find yourself, if you choose to serve of course?’ stated Giles.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 43

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 43

The Zombies who were now routed and in full retreat, made one final strategic error, they ran by the field where the hockey grudge match was taking place and tempers were frayed and already balanced on a razor’s edge.

Dave Knowles who was leading the few remaining Zombies left standing, was running by the pitch, blindly and in panic, when he ran into a little girl on a scooter and flattened both the girl and the scooter. He ran on, leaving the child sobbing her heart out.

Unfortunately for Dave, he had been seen, Jane Mullen, although busy participating in the match had noticed what had happened. She shouted to her team mates and friends, ‘That ‘effin Zombie just flattened my little sis are we lettin’ ’em get away with it?’

Roaring, ‘No!’ Jane and all her team mates evacuated the pitch, running screaming after the Zombies. Holding their hockey sticks at shoulder height, ready to flatten any Zombie unfortunate enough to cross their path.

The captain of the opposing team, not wishing to be left out of the fun, led her team in following them. They chased after the girls of Littlehampton Academy and they Saint Charlotte’s, a Catholic School, two nuns chased after them.

This day was getting more bizarre by the moment, Sister Marie-Therese, a quite stocky Irish nun, Known as the ‘Hulk’ by her pupils. Seeing one of her smaller pupils being overpowered by a much larger Zombie, tapped the Zombie on the shoulder and gave him a devastating left hook that floored him. She then performed the sign of the cross, such is life!

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 17

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Except 17

As they entered the Inn, shaking the wet off their cloaks, they were given a few curious looks by the clientele already there. They were an ill-assorted gathering, bad weather can make for strange bedfellows.

There was a boisterous group of French soldiers, who by the noise they were making had been there drinking for some time. The serving girl was doing her best to serve everyone in turn, when one of the soldiers, a junior Officer of some kind by the braid on his sleeve manhandled her and tried to fondle her breasts.

She was only a young girl and was clearly frightened by his drunken advances. Conor eyes blazing, strode over and ordered him to release her. The soldier obviously used to getting his own way, turned to Conor and said, ‘Now I know what that funny smell is the Irish sleep with their pigs in the sty.

Shamus who was at Conor’s elbow, translated the soldiers words. Conor grinned and replied through Shamus, ‘The last time I looked in the sty, your Mother was copulating with the boar, hard to say which was the prettier, but the boar won, at the side of your Mother he looked quite effeminate!’ There was uproar, everyone in the room was laughing and jeering at the soldier, who was obviously a bully and used to getting his own way.

He let go of the girl and turned on Conor, who immediately kneed him in the groin, then as he was staggering, headbutted him. That seemed to take all the fight out of him, his comrades seemed unsure of what to do without his lead, but when they saw four pistols pointing in their direction. All thought of retaliation disappeared.

The Inn-keeper who had noticed the fracas, and the cause of it, came and thanked Conor, the girl was apparently his daughter. They were all offered drinks in the house. Shamus raised his tankard to Conor and said, ‘We’ll let you come out to play again, if you learn to play nicely!’ then all four of them burst out laughing, sharing the joke as friends and companions do.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 107 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 107 )

We returned upstairs to the Ladies, and no more was said on the subject. Fred was a friend but also a Policeman, oft times the lines got a little blurred.

Fred Abberline would make a good poker player, he kept his cards very close to his chest and his face gave away nothing. I do not think he saw me as a suspect, but there was always that smidgen of doubt lurking at the back of my mind.

After the party was over, and the Abberline’s and their guest had left, I went through to the parlour poured myself a large brandy and tried to think things through.

Here we were on the cusp of the year, eighteen hundred and eighty nine, and I still had no idea how to seek my redemption. I was owed some leave from the Infirmary, so I decided to visit my older sibling the Reverend Giles and see what advice he might offer.

And so, with everything arranged on the 2nd of January I caught the train to take me to my Brother’s parish, maybe with his help I could resolve my problem. when I arrived at his home I was given a very warm welcome, but then we had always been close, there was never any sibling rivalry between us.

Once I had settled in the room allotted me, I sought out my brother, I found him in his study, poring over parish accounts I asked, ‘Was it alright to disturb him?’

‘Please do! this is a necessary chore, but one that I am happy to delay!’ was his reply. ‘I don’t really know where to start, my thoughts are a little confused, to say the least ‘ was my opening line. ‘Well, Don’t worry, Jack! I’m sure that between us we can come to some solution!’ consoled my elder brother.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One


Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 5

On the 30th of July 1917, Voss moved to take permanent command of Jagdstaffel 10 a unit of Jagdegeschwader 1 von Richtofen’s Flying Circus, relieving Ernst Frieherr von Althaus at Richtofen’s request. A brand new silvery Pfalz D.III awaited him on arrival, but he deemed it inferior to his old Albatros D.V, although he may have scored four victories with the Pfalz.

In late August the rotary engine F.I Prototype was assigned to Voss as his personal aircraft. In his childhood Voss had flown Japanese Fighting Kites and the decorations on these gave him the inspiration to paint his aircraft cowling with two eyes, eyebrows and a moustache. The arrival of the new fighter bought many celebrity visitors. On the 31st of August, Anthony Fokker visited with German Chancellor Georg Michaelis and Major General Ernst von Lossberg to see and film the new triplane. on The 9th of September Crown Prinz Wilhelm would also visit Jasta 10.

By the 11th of September 1917, the young Ace had raised his total to 47, second only to Richtofen’s 61. In the process he had his closest call yet in combat, after shooting down six victory Ace Oscar McMaking, He had in turn been attacked by Captain Norman Macmillan, Macmillan dove his Camel to within 20 feet of Voss, His machine guns spurting tracers close to the German’s head. The No.45 Squadron Ace saw Voss turn his head twice before taking evasive action. Then a two-seater R.E.8 blundered between them almost colliding with Macmillan’s Camel, in the confusion Voss dove away and made good his escape. Macmillan claimed an out of control victory on his return to base.

The following day, Voss signed himself out on leave using his authority as Staffelfuhrer.     His first stop was Berlin, where he was honoured receiving a an autographed photograph on Kaiser Wilhelm II from the Emperor’s own hands. from the 15th to the 17th he was at the Fokker factory in Schwerin, accompanied by his girlfriend Ilse. His leave authorisation also cleared him for Dussldorf and his hometown of Krefeld, but it is unknown if he visited them. He returned to duty on the 22nd.

To Be Continued……………..

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 106 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 106 )

By all accounts my party had been a raving success. Irene teased and flirted with me mercilessly, much to my embarrassment and Fred and Lizzie’s amusement.

Then the one thing happened that I had been secretly dreading, Fred asked, ‘If he might visit my laboratory and see for himself what I was working on?’ I agreed immediately, but on the stipulation that the ladies stayed upstairs, there were things in my laboratory not suitable for ladies’ eyes.

There was one blessing, once Mary Kelly had been disposed of, we had no need of the cellar exit, so with Mc Ginty’s assistance I dragged a heavy cupboard in front of it, obscuring it from sight completely.

Fred Abberline looked around my laboratory and asked some pertinent questions about the projects I was currently engaged upon. He had a agile mind and showed much interest in the various projects that I was working on to improve the lives of Whitechapel’s poor and needy.

We were just about to re-join the ladies, when he looked me in the eye and asked, ‘Were you aware that you had an outside door leading in to your cellar?’ ‘ I had no idea, I wish I had known months ago, when Mc Ginty and I were struggling downstairs with my equipment, Where exactly is it?’ I queried not wanting to appear too obvious.

‘In the wall, behind that huge cupboard!’ He explained. ‘Aha! now it makes sense that cupboard was there when I purchased the property and no mention was made of a secondary entrance / exit at that time’ I replied ‘Why were you interested?’

‘I noticed it, as we walked by, copper’s nose if you like, so I thought I’d ask? ‘And is the answer to your satisfaction?’ I asked curious to know if he had suspicions. ‘Of course, no cause for concern, just me being nosey!’ replied Fred.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 42

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 42

As the Zombie hordes approached the intersection, the two milk floats harried their rear, bombarding them with an assortment of rotten vegetables. The Zombies to escape this barrage, broke ranks and ran down any side street that led off from the intersection.

All credit due to the Zombies, they were not routed, just dispersed. As before, they staggered aimlessly on, still intent on playing their role. No matter what distraction the citizens of Littlehampton provided. They had been paid to put on a show, and in the best shoe business traditions…..the show must go on!

Once they were split into manageable units, Sam Parry’s Lancers, The Women’s Institute Ladies armed with their brollies and placards and other citizens armed with a variety of weapons began their attack on the now depleted Zombies. It would be nice to say it was a hard fought for victory, but it was too well planned. The Zombies were outnumbered and surprised by the sheer ferocity of the attack. They knew that people were opposed to them being there, but they never expected anything like this. Not this level of violence.

The Lancers as instructed by Sam, knew their business well. Sam had told them the only places to aim for were belly and balls, but of course the latter would only apply to Zombies of the male gender, females belly only, but best to leave them to the brollies and placards of the Women’s Institute, who were also having a field day.

One thing that rather surprised the local resistance fighters, the Zombies for all their scary looks, when it came down to hand to hand combat would sooner run away screaming and that was men as well as women.

But then again, they were mostly failed theatricals, so they were probably all duckie’s, or at worst professional gays. No wonder they were squealing like big girl’s blouses thought Sam Parry.

(C) Damian Grange 2018