Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 132 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 132 )

  When we arrived at Concentration Camp No.1, The Sergeant in charge of the Mail wagon, the one I had conversed with most during the journey, suggested that before I reported to the Camp Commandant I might like to meet the Doctor in residence who it appeared was something of a  celebrity.

The Sergeant led me to one of the few brick buildings, the majority of the refugees / prisoners were living under canvas in an assortment of tents. I was led through what I assumed was the ward, to the Doctors office at the rear. The Sergeant knocked and entered, ‘I’ve bought your new colleague to meet you, so you can explain to him personally what a shithole he’s ended up in.’

The man behind the desk stood up and smiled, ‘Ignore the Sergeant, he loves it here really!’ I couldn’t place his accent, there was a trace of Scots but also the soft spoken tones of the Irish, I found it most perplexing.

‘Arthur Conan Doyle at your service, Doctor, may I say it is a great pleasure to have you here, it will be nice to have an ally in my struggles with authority, without putting too fine a point on it, The Commandant here is a callous swine who would like to see all of his inmates dead. We are his conscience, he despises me and he will you too for the same reason, we are devoted to saving lives.’

‘I’m delighted to meet you, Arthur, I’m Jack, and I volunteered to save lives, not play at politics, what is the real problem here?’

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Air Aces of World War One

Berthold and his Squadron Comrades

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

 Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold – Germany’s Iron Knight 1891 /1920 Pt4

  On the 25th of April 1916, Berthold made an emergency landing after enemy bullets crippled his Fokker’s engine. He took off again in a Pfalz EIV. He re-awakened two days later in Kriegslazaret 7 ( Military hospital 7 ) in Saint Quentin. Besides a badly broken left leg, Berthold had suffered a broken nose and upper jaw, with attendant damage to his optic nerves, he was prescribed narcotic painkillers for chronic pain. At that time, the German Military Doctors used three narcotics as painkillers – Opium, Morphine and Codeine. Doctors prescribed Cocaine to counteract the somnolence of these three depressant drugs. Berthold’s exact prescription is unknown.

Eventually, although Berthold’s eyesight returned, he was unable to fly for four months, but nevertheless retained command of KEK Vaux. Between the message traffic bought to him, and the accounts of visiting subordinates, he learned of ongoing casualties. His brother Wolfram, who was serving in the Infantry had been killed on the 29th of April . Max Immelmann perished in battle on the 18th of June. Following Immelmann’s demise, Oswald Boelcke, Germany’s highest scoring Ace was grounded for fear that if he were lost, it would be a disaster for German morale. Berthold was scheduled to be evacuated back to Germany. Instead in late July, he commandeered a car and returned to his unit. He may be unable to fly, but he could still command, He made his orderly help him bend his knee and flex strength back in to his withered leg.

On the 24th of august 1916, Berthold scored his sixth victory, even though he had to be helped in to his aircraft. The following day, KEK Vaux became Jagdstaffel 4 ( Fighter Squadron 4 ) under Berthold’s command. The new unit started with a starred rosta, Wilhelm Frankl, Walter Hohndorf and Ernst Freiherr von Althaus were early members all destined to become prominent Aces.

(C) Damian Grange 201

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 131 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 131 )

  ‘Thank you, Gentleman, could I have two more volunteers,’ I asked, two more troopers came to the front of the class. ‘An arm in a sling, if you please,’ once again the manoeuvre was performed perfectly. ‘Thank you, Doctor,’ said the Colonel, ‘ It is obvious that you are putting my men to good use.’

After the initial week, I doubled the amount of men that I was training, as it seemed to be a feasible prospect. The weeks flew by and before I knew it we were docking at Capetown. I had rather hoped that I might be allowed to remain with the Yeomanry, as I had made many friends amongst their ranks, both Officers and men.

But alas it was not to be, when after disembarking at Capetown, I reported to Army Headquarters for my assignment. I was told I was being sent to Concentration Camp No.1 which was apparently near to a place called Bloemfontein. I was to travel there in the morning aboard the Mail coach.

I made a few enquiries and found that it was supposedly a refugee camp for displaced Boer Family’s, for the most part, women and children with the odd male. The conditions I was told were appalling, with many of the children sick or dying.

There was already a volunteer Doctor in residence, I was to join and assist him in every way possible. From what I could glean from the men on the Mail wagon, it was a terrible place. The Major in charge was a martinet with an implacable hatred of the Boers. He had apparently lost men in a Boer ambush, so now he was reduced to glorified jailer.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 9

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 9

  ‘Not if you are prepared to give us information on your movements for the last 24 hours, we have our reasons for these questions?’ he answered solemnly.

‘During the daylight hours, I was riding with a view to being in the town before nightfall, but not being too familiar with the area, I lost my way,’ I stated openly, for I had nothing to hide, ‘When darkness started to fall, I was close to the castle, so I stayed there overnight and came on here today.’

‘Do you know about the castle, it, is a place of evil’ He stated with conviction. ‘With all due respect, Father it is just a derelict castle, nothing more, nothing less,’ I gave my opinion with as much courage as I could muster, I don’t know why, but I had the feeling that I had made a grave error of judgement.

The atmosphere of antagonism, that seemed to be centred on me when I had first entered the church, seemed now to have changed to one of optimism. I had the terrible feeling that I had unwittingly volunteered for some sort of dangerous mission. And I had not the first inkling of what it might be.

The priest said some sort of benediction, then told the assembled towns-people that the meeting was over, and that the problem was now in the hands of the almighty, whatever that meant. As the multitude started to leave the building, the Father asked me to stay, he had a favour to ask me.

Here it comes, I thought to myself, how many dragons do I have to slay before they will let me leave here. Symbolically speaking of course, I’d better check my weapons.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 27

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 27

  Conor delegated the selection of the remainder of his men to Shamus and Black Michael, he had other things to hand. He knew what could be achieved with a small unit of reliable men, He knew it would not be easy, but he would shape them into the unit that he dreamt of.

Conor, whilst undergoing training with Shamus and Black Michael, had at night gone in to his Father’s library and studied the many military journals therein. He had learnt of many things, mainly of strategy and tactics, but one thing had stuck in his brain, a small well-trained unit used wisely would always beat a run of the mill unit of whatever army.

And it was to that end that he was training his men, his intention was that they would be the elite company of the Regiment Dillon and possibly The Irish brigade. It would take a lot of sweat and probably more than a little blood, but Conor believed it was achievable and he would work to that end.

The following day, Conor had his volunteers in line with their muskets, He asked how many of them were marksmen, they looked back at him bemused. The Irish soldiery of this period had a tendency to use their muskets as clubs rather than for their proper purpose.

‘From now on,’ announced Conor, ‘You will become proficient in the use and maintenance of your weapons, you will be given two days. Any man who can not fire two rounds a minute and hit a target on both occasions, will forfeit his place in this unit’

‘I, myself will take seven of you, as will Black Michael, Shamus will take six and the remainder will go with O’Driscoll. Our enemy the English beat us only in one regard, they have the firepower, they fire volley after volley which breaks men’s spirits and causes them to falter, I want to turn their own strength against them!’

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 130 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 130 )

  The following day, the men seemed more attentive, as if they realised that the knowledge I was giving them might just save their own or a comrades life. The day once again went well, I taught them where and how to use a tourniquet and how to get it just right.

Once again, I had a rewarding day, when the troopers had left, I asked the Sergeant for his opinions, ‘The men are interested, as a Yeomanry unit, they are not strangers we are almost like an extended family. The men know that in some of the earlier battles our boys took a beating, you are offering the means to maybe save a brother or a friend and on that basis, they will serve and respect you, as do I.’

The following day, my volunteers were as keen as ever to learn more ways to possibly assist a wounded comrade. And, I, for my part was just as eager to teach them, I actually felt that in my own small way I was participating in this campaign.

What I was teaching may not win battles, but it could save lives, and as an army Doctor, that was my sole concern, the saving of lives.

Shortly after our lunch break the Colonel and Adjutant paid us a visit, I can’t say I was surprised, if they were allowing me to use their men then they had every right to review their progress. The Sergeant called the troopers to attention, the Colonel told them to, ‘Stand easy!’ he asked me, ‘Was it possible to see a demonstration of their progress?’

I was happy to comply, I called forwards a pair of troopers, ‘A head bandage, if you please’ I ordered, the men immediately set too, and in a short space of time one of the troopers had his head bandaged, both to mine and the Colonel’s satisfaction.

(C) Damian Grange 2019