Air Aces Of World War One

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Leutnant Walter Gottsch _ German Ace 1896 / 1918

  Walter Gottsch was born in Altour, Germany on the 10th of June 1896. He volunteered for the German Army on The 1st of July 1915. He was originally assigned to FA33 to fly artillery co-operation missions in Flanders with the rank of Vizefelwebel. After receiving Training as a fighter pilot, Gottsch was assigned to Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 8 on the 10th of September 1916.

On the 4th of November 1916, he destroyed an observation balloon for his first victory. Because of wounds he received to achieve this victory, he would not score again until the 6th of April 1917. By the 5th of May 1917, his victory tally stood at 12.

He was once again shot down, this time probably by the observer of Harry G.E. Luchford’s Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b on the 29th of June. By the 16th of September he had upped his total to 17, downing a Sopwith Camel that day. On the 25th of September he fell under the guns of a Bristol F2b Fighter, wounded once again in the combat that saw Rudolf Wendelmuth’s downing.

Gottsch returned to duty but had no luck, being wounded for the fourth time on the 25th of November 1917. He would not return to action until January 1918. On the 14th of February 1918 he was given command of Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 19.

The newly promoted Staffelfuhrer would score only two more victories, with back to back triumphs on the 31st of March and the 1st of April. Gottsch was killed in action on the 10th of April 1918 over Gentilles, apparently by return fire from the observer of an R.E.8 ( his final victim ), although German accounts say he was also hit by ground fire. His Fokker DR.1 Triplane marked with a swastika fell behind British lines and was salvaged.

Walter Gottsch’s 20 victories included 7 from No.20 Squadron R.A.F. During his service he was awarded the Iron Cross, second and first class, and the Knights Cross with swords of the House of Hohenzollern on the 23rd of August 1917. Had he survived he would have no doubt been awarded the  Order le pour de Merite ( the Blue Max ) as he had certainly scored enough victories to qualify for this award.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 148 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 148 )

  It has been a fortnight since my two young replacements arrived, fortunately they have learned quickly and to my mind are about ready to take over my duties here. Then I will feel free to return to England on the first available transport.

I will contact the Transport Authorities in Capetown to see when it is convenient for me to return home. Good news, there is apparently a transport leaving for England at the end of next week. That allows me time to wind up here and get to Capetown in time to board her.

We had an unusual incident at the Camp this week, A troop of Boer Bitter Enders rode in to give themselves up. They were hard bitter men, they may have looked gaunt and malnourished but look beyond that and you could see that they were rawhide tough with a touch of the zealot about them.

I offered to examine them, an offer they accepted grudgingly, several of them had obviously been suffering from malaria and various other tropical maladies. I treated them like any other of my patients but although they were my enemy, I could not help but admire the courage and tenacity of these men.

I wanted to cure them, but more than  that, I wanted them to ride free on the veldt and once more be a part of the community, like they were before the British came. This may sound a little like treason, but I admired the Boers and their stoicism, even in defeat they were still hard men.

Since Miss Hobhouse visited, things here have changed drastically. Some of the Boers are now living as family units. As soon as they are released, they will return to their farms and their homesteads and life will resume just as it was until it was interrupted by war.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


The Castle Karlstadt -Excerpt 17

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 17

  To a certain extent she had bought herself up and had obviously learned from her mistakes. She was dressed in a relatively clean dress that was showing signs of rather excessive wear, but with her poise and elegance she still managed to look beautiful. But how would I know, I’m a soldier, not a lover.

There was one thing about her that I had noticed, but had every intention of keeping to myself until I could have a quiet word with Father Michael. I looked at the girl and recalled the picture of Father Michaels sister, the Countess, the girl had certain small similarities to the portrait. I would hazard a guess that she was her daughter.

If my hunch was correct, then that made the girl Michael’s niece, he of all people needed to know the truth. I wasn’t so sure about the other members of our unit. I had no idea where the Doctor’s loyalties lay and if Bruno found out, he would undoubtedly attempt to kill her. And who knows what the good Doctor would do if he got his hands on one of the Karlstadt family. He was an unknown quantity, but I intended to take no chances with him, especially where the girl was concerned.

The only problem was that I had to find work for them both, without necessarily raising their suspicions, I told them to go together and search the lower floors of the castle and to look for concealed entrances and secret passages. They rebelled at my suggestion until I explained to them that all the inhabitants of the castle must be found. I was sure there was at least one other person residing there. Someone had to be preparing food for the girl, she was not simple, there had to be someone lurking in the background, but who?

(C) Damian Grange 2019




This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 4

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 4

  Werner often looked back to how they had met, shortly after the war. She had been so different then. He had met her at a Cabaret, she was working as a hostess, blonde, slim and extremely sexy. Although Werner was aware that any attraction he had for the lovely Greta, was that he was a man with prospects, a man who could possibly be helping to shape the new Germany. A man with prospects.

Greta using all the feminine and sexual wiles at her disposal, soon had poor Werner pleading with her to become his wife. The honeymoon for Werner was soon over, Greta became more and more demanding. ‘I want a bigger this, I need a larger that,’ was her constant cry. Werner sought solace in his work and despite Greta become reasonably successful at his chosen profession. Although never enough for his constantly whining Wife, who was no longer the slim and sensual Greta, but the corpulent nagging Hausfrau.

I suppose, due to the close confinement of the Hotel area, Ivy and Greta were bound at some point to meet, But I don’t think that anyone present could foresee the outcome of that meeting. In fact I’m sure that anyone viewing the ladies would have put Greta at odds on. Bur reality often has little surprises lurking up its sleeve, and the results of this meeting was certainly one of them. There was no doubt about that.

Ivy at seventy years old, was a small bird – like woman, who was a fine example of the old adage, six stone wet through. However despite her lack of inches, she had made many friends amongst the British contingent due to her chirpy cockney manner and the fact that she always had sweets to give to the children. She was a popular lady.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 147 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 147 )

  Wonderful news today, the replacement Doctors are on their way from Capetown. They are due to arrive like I did, in the mail wagon. It appears that within a couple of weeks I to may be returning to England. The thought delights me.

I will return home, put my house and business affairs in order, then pay a visit to Brother Giles. I so long for the English countryside, green meadows, trees in blossom, all of the things that I missed so much in Africa. I am sure there are parts of Africa that are verdant and thriving, but not where I was stationed.

And, of course it will be a great pleasure to spend some quality time with my elder sibling. I need his opinion before I make any drastic moves. He has always given me invaluable council in the past, and I am certain in the future should I need it, and at this moment, I believe I do.

But, first I must wind up my affairs in South Africa. I must make sure that the hospital I hand over is running at peak efficiency. Nothing less will suffice.

The new Doctors arrived this morning, unfortunately they are new in every sense of the word. They appear to have been recruited straight out of Medical School. But we all need to gain experience, and a Concentration Camp is as good a place as any, to ply your trade.

They will see and learn things here, that they would never learn on a hospital ward. I will spend a little time with them, teach them some tricks of the trade, as it were. They are both likeable and eager to learn, they dog my footsteps like a pair of eager puppies. But we all went through that stage. I know I did.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces Of World War One


Photograph – Courtesy of Pinterest

Gottfried Freiherr von Banfield – Austro – Hungarian Ace 1890 / 1986

  At the beginning of World War One, Banfield was posted to fly the Lohner flying boat E.21 allocated to the pre-dreadnought battleship SMS Zrinyi for aerial reconnaissance. He took part in the first aerial actions against Montenegro from the base at Cattaro. Once the Italians entered the war, he was commissioned with building up a larger seaplane station near Trieste, and after its completion was named as its commanding Officer. He retained this command until the wars end. He triumphed in his first air battles against the Italians and their French allies flying a Lohner biplane seaplane in the gulf of Trieste in June 1915, downing a balloon on the 27th. He even came up against his old teacher Jean Louis Conneau better known as Andre Beaumont in September 1915. Experimenting with a monoplane seaplane in 1916, he won many victories and was for a short time the highest scoring among the Austro- Hungarian Aces.

  Banfield’s 9 confirmed and 11 unconfirmed victories make him without a doubt Austro – Hungary’s most successful Naval pilot. It was because he flew mainly over the Northern Adriatic and therefore many of his victories went unconfirmed, which accounts for his high tally of unconfirmed kills. For his military service in 1916 he was decorated with the Large Military Merit Medal with Swords.Founded on the Ist of April 1916, this order was for the “highest especially praiseworthy recognition” and was awarded only 30 times, 28 of the awards being to Officers of General’s rank. the other 2 being to crytologist Hermann Pokorny and Banfield himself. On the 17th of August 1917, Banfield was further honoured when he received the Military Order of Maria Theresa. Individuals who received this order who were not members of the nobility were ennobled and received the hereditary title of Freiherr or Baron to their family name. At the time of his death in 1986, at the grand old age of 96 Banfield was the last surviving Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 146 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 146 )

  ‘But, surely if this were to happen, nobody wins, a whole generation will be wiped out,’I stated. ‘This is the reason that I asked, would you be prepared to serve again? our country will need men like you and I, to mend both their bodies and their minds, so will you serve?’ he asked me once again.

‘Most certainly I will serve, especially if the carnage is to be as bad as you predict,’ I was happy to be given yet another opportunity to earn my redemption. Arthur left the following day, I was sorry to see him go, In the short time I had known him, I had learned to admire him. Both for his skills as a surgeon and his outlook on life. I would miss him and his friendship and support.

But on the positive side, he was going home and within a short space of time, I would be leaving too, I longed to be back in England. I had new challenges awaiting me, I was returning with a certain degree of uncertainty, I had a home and a certain amount of money. But no job, as such, That was why I needed to see Giles to ask for his blessing on my proposal to open up my home as a medical practice.

I know that whatever way he views my proposal, his advice will be sound and practical, I have always valued my elder siblings advice. Since the death of my Father, he is the rock that I rely upon.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 16

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 16

  Father Michael and the Doctor came charging in to the room, but it was all settled, Bruno sat brooding but said nothing more. The girl ran to me and buried her head in my shoulder, sobbing, it had been a close call and I think she realised what I had saved her from.

The girl, once I had succeeded in calming her down, told me that her name was Karina and she had lived in the castle forever, or as long a time as that was. I asked her what she did for food, she looked at me and smiled and said that the castle provided for her. I told her I didn’t understand, She explained, ‘I get up in the morning, there is a meal waiting, I want a snack at lunch time, it is waiting for me and the same at dinner,’ I didn’t comprehend it, but the girl didn’t seem simple, far from it, she seemed bright.

So! where do’s it come from, this food, it can’t just appear?’ ‘Well! when I was little, we had servants,’ she stated, ‘But after the fire, when I was the only one left, I thought it might be the Gypsies who were bringing me food, but now I honestly don’t know, it just appears.’

I accepted her explanation, but made a mental note, that there was at least one other person living somewhere in the castle. As to Karina herself, I found her absolutely captivating, she had raven black hair, blue eyes, a cute nose and lovely even white teeth, when she smiled, which she did often. She had no education, at least not in the normal sense, but she was far from stupid, nor was she naïve, just the opposite.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 3

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 3

  She consulted her travel agent, who arranged her passport and other travel documents and booked the hotel for a week in June of that year. Ivy wasn’t quite sure whether to be elated or frightened, for a woman of her age to be leaving her homeland for the first time was a giant step, and not one to be taken lightly.

Daphne and her Husband delivered Ivy to the Airport. Daphne almost had to force her to board the Aircraft, I think the sheer size of it surprised Ivy. It is nice to live in a village, but sometimes village life can be too insular. The outside world can be something of a daunting prospect and Ivy was just beginning to realise by how much.

But Ivy was made of sterner stuff, and once settled in a window seat, she began to view the flight as a bit of an adventure, something to enjoy and regale her chums back in the village with tales of it. The flight happily was quite uneventful and once Ivy had cleared the Airport and boarded the coach for her hotel. she began to have quite a positive feeling about the week ahead.

The hotel guests appeared to be split in to two distinct groups, the British contingent, to which Ivy obviously belonged, and the Germans, who still believed themselves to be the master race, because of the way the Spanish fussed around them.

Among the Germans was Werner Schmidt, who worked as an under manager in one of the German banks. Werner was an easy-going man who was happy to lead a quiet life. His Wife, Greta, on the other hand was just the opposite. she had to be the centre of attention and constantly complained to anyone who would listen, about everything and nothing, a constant high pitched moan.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 145 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 145 )

  ‘And where do you think they will attack?’ I asked. ‘I am of the opinion that there could be fighting on several fronts, but I think the one concerning the British will be the Western Front, Holland, Belgium and France.’ ‘ And do you think that British forces will be involved?’ ‘Almost certainly, The French were our allies in the Crimea, so I would imagine if they were involved we would go to their aid, I know a lot of our politicians see it that way.’

‘But what is all this really about? And how do you know so much about it?’ ‘ I don’t wish to sound pompous!’ stated Arthur, ‘ But I do know lots of people in Senior positions, both in the Government and the Military, one does hear things you know.’ ‘ But why now, in God’s name,’ I asked.

‘Expansion,’ said Arthur, ‘ That is the problem, take Africa for instance, she has gold , diamonds and doubtless other minerals, hide, skins and ivory. Every country in Europe wants their own piece of that particular pie. We in Britain, of course have the Lion’s share, but competing with us are France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Holland or the Boer’s as they prefer to be called in Africa, now do you see the crux of the problem?’ He explained.

‘Every country in Europe wants to increase it’s possessions abroad, for various reasons, but mainly it is about power and control, The great game, if you would have it so!’

(C) Damian Grange 2019