The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 21

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 21

  My first thought was why was he visiting that part of the Castle, was he searching for something? or had he a liaison with someone and that was the agreed meeting place? I had no idea, all I knew was that the plot was thickening, amd I was no closer to a solution than on the previous day.

We moved down the stairs as quickly as we could, avoiding the more obvious obstacles and soon reached Bruno’s corpse. I turned him over so that I could see his features, he had several cuts and abrasion no doubt caused by the fall. But they were no concern of mine, but the wounds on his neck and the blood congealing there were, the only thought I had was Vampire!

I dispatched Franz, to fetch the remainder of our party. At this point I felt the need for the Doctor’s so-called expertise on these creatures. Were the human or inhuman? would a bullet stop them? or had we to find other means to combat them.

In all my years of soldiering, this was the first time I had come up against an adversary that I didn’t understand, why Bruno? surely the lovely Karina would have been more to the Vampire’s taste, or am I once again missing something?

The Doctor looked up after completing his examination of Bruno’s corpse, ‘It certainly looks like the work of a Vampire, In my Opinion,’ he stated confidently, ‘Bruno was definitely bitten by a Vampire.’

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 2

The Diamond King – Excerpt 2

  The younger man, Henrik de Klerk, had only been with the Commando a short time, but Hans had chosen to watch over him, until he was more capable of doing it himself. It was not hard to see that Henrik was totally exhausted. So Hans lifted him on to his own horse and  led him by the halter.

They went this way for several miles, but Hans found it both tiring and restricting. He stopped for a breather and tried to figure a way out of their predicament. He had decided on a solution. They would separate, he would give Henrik the horse and the water canteen and point him in the direction of the nearest settlement where he would find help and hope that the British were not waiting there.

At least this way, Henrik had a fair chance of survival, carry on as we are, and both our lives are in jeopardy, thought Hans. He had hunted and prospected this area for years and knew that there was water within a hard days march. He was willing to take that chance. And so the die was cast, Henrik went his way and  went mine. Maybe our paths would cross again, but only fate knew the answer to that question?

I adjusted my rifle and my pack, and set out to clear the bushveldt and reach the mountains. It was hard going trudging along in the hot sun. I had given all our water to Henrik, his need seemed greater than mine, but now I was beginning to have second thoughts.

Under normal circumstances, the distance that I had to cover would not have been a problem, but with exhaustion setting in and the heat of the sun overhead, my prospects of survival were not looking so good. I had to get a grip of myself and keep heading for the nearest water.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 155 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 155 )

  Two more applicants later, and still no one that I could work with. I was beginning to think that maybe I should try another agency, as yet this one had failed to impress me. I had taken a short recess for a cup of tea and an opportunity to re-think my strategy. Was it my own inadequacy as a prospective employer that was at fault ? I really have no idea?

And so, enter, applicant No.6, a Miss Johnson, She was a little younger than I had expected, but she appeared to have the necessary experience. I took to her immediately, she was very open and obviously used to dealing with people.

She showed no hint of shyness, just professional competence, The Interview went well and I offered her the position, But asked her if there were any question’s she wanted to ask me.

‘I will admit that I was a little unsure whether to apply or not, After all the bad press that Whitechapel has received in recent years, Jack the Ripper etc’ she stated.

‘Jack retired years ago, to my knowledge, and you would have nothing to fear from him, his victims were of a much lower class. But if you want it, the position is yours? have you anything more of relevance to tell me’ I replied.

‘I am not sure if it is relevant but I have some nursing experience, I can do bandaging, slings, tourniquet’s I can also check temperatures and blood pressure’ she stated confidently.

This was so much than I had hoped for, A receptionist / secretary and stand by nurse if necessary. The waiting had definitely been worthwhile. She was exactly what I had envisaged.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest


Capitaine Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer – French Ace 1894 / 1917 Pt.3

  Guynemer failed to return from a combat mission on the 11th of September 1917. The previous week had been one of mechanical problems with his aircraft and others he had borrowed. At 8:30a.m. with rookie pilot Juan Bozon-Verduraz, Guynemer took off in his S.P.A.D. S XII, S504 No.2. His mission was to patrol the Langemark area. At 9:25 near Poelcapelle, Guynemer spotted a lone Rumpler, a German observation plane, and dove  toward it. Bozon-Verduraz saw several Fokkers above him, and by the time he had shaken them off, his leader was nowhere in sight, so he returned alone. Guynemer never came back.

Capitaine Georges Guynemer was confirmed as missing in action by his squadron commander Major Brocard; It was officially announced in Paris by the French War Department on September the 25th 1917. Unofficial conformation came from a German pilot who was captured after being shot down behind the Canadian Lines on the evening of the 29th of September. A German sergeant from the 413th Regiment swore that he had witnessed the crash and had identified Guynemer’s corpse, he also certified that the French Ace had died from a bullet through the head, with other injuries including a broken leg and a finger shot away. The German party retrieving the body was driven away by allied artillery fire before they could remove or bury the body. The details released by the French War Department were unclassified and became public knowledge as described by one of Guynemer’s comrades.

Guynemer was lionised by the French Press, who made him a national hero. The French Government encouraged the publicity to boost morale and to take people’s minds off the terrible losses in the trenches. Guynemer was embarrassed by the attention, but his shyness only increased the  public’s appetite to know everything about him. Guynemer’s death was a profound shock to France, nevertheless he remained an icon for the duration of the war. Aged only 22 at his death, he continued to inspire the nation with his advice, “Until one has given all, one has given nothing”

The credit for shooting down Guynemer was attributed to Lt.Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3, who was himself killed in action on September 28th 1917. Guynemer’s final victory tally was 54. His awards included The Legion d,honneur, Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 154 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 154 )

  I have a feeling that my last statement was all that was needed to convince Giles of my intention to succeed in my new venture. He gave me his blessing to the venture. I spent the remainder of the day with my Brother, then returned to London on the morning train. I had enjoyed spending time with Giles, but I was eager to get things moving with regards to my surgery.

On my return home, I informed the McGinty’s of the alterations that I would require, and the reasons why, as usual they took it all in their stride. In the afternoon, I ventured in to the city and visited a secretarial agency, I informed them of my requirements and they assured me that they had several young ladies that could well be perfect for the position that I was offering. I arranged for them to send the applicants the following morning.

The first applicant, a Miss Baxter arrived at 9a.m. prompt, I introduced myself and then proceeded to explain to her what the job entailed. Then she proceeded to tell me in a very abrupt manner, what she was and was not prepared to do. I was under the impression that I was the one offering the position and here she was interviewing me. I thank a definite no for Miss Baxter.

The next applicant, arrived just before 10, a Miss Nolan, she had a quiet, almost shy personality, almost the total opposite to her predecessor, unfortunately she had very little experience with patients, or with people in general or so it seemed. I liked her, but once again it had to be a no.

As you can possibly imagine, by now I was getting to feel a little frustrated, I have a picture in my minds eye of the perfect applicant. I just pray that she arrives sooner, rather than later.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 20

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 20

  Father Michael came over and sat beside me, he too had noticed the plotting and wondered what might happen next. All I could say was sleep with one eye open and I would do the same, not to be taken literally of course.

Once again, the Castle had a surprise in store for me, but it was the last one I would have expected. When I awoke, Bruno was missing. I shook the Doctor awake and asked him if he knew his whereabouts. He answered in the negative.

Where the hell was he? and what was he up to? I had no idea, but how would it affect  the rest of us. They were all my concern, and I was responsible for their safety, damn the man, where was he?

When the others had full awoken and had breakfasted, Bruno had still not made an appearance. I suggested that we split in to two groups and search for him. I was still unsure of whether this was some ploy on his part to get his hands on Karina, for whatever purpose he planned.

I paired Father Michael with the Doctor and kept Karina and Franz with me, I thought in that way, I could ensure her safety. I, in any case was getting rather fond of her, much to my surprise, I have never been much of a Lady’s man. This was something new to me and I found it all rather perplexing.

Karina spotted Bruno, he was lying hunched over at the foot of the Castle wall. The way he was lying suggested that he had either fallen or been pushed off the battlements. One thing for sure, Bruno would not be bothering anyone again.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


The Diamond King – Excerpt 1

The Diamond King – Excerpt 1

  The two riders had ridden almost non-stop for the last three days. They had studiously avoided all settlements and townships on their route. Previously they had been proud members of Hennie van Groot’s Commando, until it had been decimated  by the machine guns and rifles of the British army.

They were fleeing to the mountains to escape what they believed was pursuing British Cavalry. But they were sadly mistaken, the war was over. The remainder of their comrades in the Great Boer Army had already disbanded and returned from whence it came. The two men were Bitter -Enders, determined to fight the British until their last breath.

Now it was just a matter of time which collapsed first, the men or the horses, Then it happened as they knew it must, one of the horses stumbled on a patch of uneven ground and threw its rider. The other rider halted his horse and went to the aid of his companion.

His comrade, a younger man, with little more than stubble beard, was exhausted but only a little shaken by the fall. On examining the horse however, his comrade made the decision that it was no longer any use for their purpose. Not wishing to alert the enemy with a rifle shot, he took out his hunting knife and slit the horse’s throat. The horse fell to the ground, spasmed and died.

The older of the two men, Hans Pieterson, had been a member of The Commando since the beginning of the conflict. He was in his mid-twenties, a tall stocky man, coloured mahogany by the sun. Prior to the war he had been a hunter and sometime prospector and knew the area that they were heading for like the back of his hand. He had long hair and full moustache and beard and appeared much older and wiser than his years, but confidence can have that effect.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 153 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 153 )

  ‘If someone has taken a life, for whatever reason, would they be granted redemption and how long would it take to receive it’ I questioned my Brother. ‘I’m afraid that as much as I would like to, I can give you no answer, other than to say the Good Lord himself will decide as and when redemption is served.’

‘So, there are no guidelines, no set of penances to be fulfilled, like in the confessional.’ ‘Not to my knowledge, but why this sudden interest in redemption, have you sinned?’ ‘No! I had so many dying soldiers on my hands, and I was asked so many theological questions, that in all honesty I did not know how to answer, I suppose the matter as  been preying on my mind,’ I replied in partial honesty.

‘I think that the only answer that I can give, is to keep the faith and let the Lord provide the answers, no one but he has them.’ stated Giles piously, ‘Now can we get on to a more cheerful subject, tell me of your plans for a surgery.’

‘I already have the property as you know, my study could very easily be converted in to a surgery, my only expense would be the hiring of a receptionist / secretary, and with the amount of unemployment in the area to a certain amount, I can pick and choose.’I stated.

‘Who would your patients be?’ queried Giles, with his business mind. ‘The better class populace of Whitechapel, or to simplify it, the people who can afford to pay for my services, I still have a certain reputation in the area.’ I replied confidently.

‘And what of the poor? asked Giles, ‘I am considering running two free afternoon clinics for the poor and needy, they have not been forgotten.’ I replied.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Capitaine Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer – French Ace 1894 / 1917 Pt.2

  On January the 6th 1917, Guynemer forced down an Albatros C.VII for his 30th victory. On the 8th of February 1917, flying a S.P.A.D S.VII Guynemer became the first Allied pilot to shoot down a German heavy bomber, a Gotha G.III his 31st victory. On the 16th of March 1917, he bought down his 32nd victory, a Roland D.II, whose pilot became a P.O.W. His most successful month was May 1917, when he downed seven German aircraft, including 4 in one day on the 25th.

By July 1917, he was flying the S.P.A.D. S.XII, his avion magique, was at his request fitted with a 37mm cannon which fired through the propellor boss. It was also armed with a .30 inch Vickers machine gun. Although the cannon promised devastating firepower, the new plane was a handful to fly because of it, as the cannons rearward protruding breech mandated separate aileron and elevator controls, separated from each other on opposite sides of the cockpit. The single shot cannon had to be manually reloaded in flight, it had a heavy recoil when fired and filled the canopy with fumes from every shot. The S.P.A.D.S.XII was definitely not a plane for the novice pilot. However Guynemer used it to down an Albatros fighter on the 27th of July and a DFW, the following day, the latter triumph made him the first French pilot to score 50 victories, ” Fifty machines destroyed! This had been Guynemer’s dream”

To Be Continued……………

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 152 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 152 )

  Once I had arrived back home, I spent two days scurrying around London to get my house, business and finances in some sort of order. Once this was achieved to my satisfaction, I felt free to visit my Sibling at his parish.

I caught the morning train to travel down to visit my Brother, deep in the English countryside that I had missed so much. My first item on the agenda was to seek my Brother’s blessing on my planned surgery, in the past his advice has always been sound and positive.

I also wanted to seek out his views on redemption, as a practising representative of Holy Mother Church, he ought to be able to give me some guidelines. Of course, the question must be hypothetical. I cannot admit that I have killed, even to my Brother.

On arrival at the rectory, I was given a warm welcome by my brother, but then I would expect nothing less. There has never been any kind of Sibling rivalry between us, in fact just the opposite we have always been close and supportive of each other.

I decided to pitch straight in and ask the question I had been mulling over on my journey down to see him. ‘Giles, this is a hypothetical question, but what are the church’s views on redemption, say for instance a soldier kills several of the enemy in the heat of battle, can his soul be redeemed.’

‘If he is at war, then personally I would have thought that his actions in that war would have been sanctioned by the Church, and as such, redemption would not be required.’

(C) Damian Grange 2019