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

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 19

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 19

  My mind was still in turmoil, I had solved one problem. But not the main one, which was, who was killing young girls and why? I had to get to the bottom of this. But how could I, playing the waiting game seemed the only answer.

I welcomed Franz to our small community and questioned him on how he had managed to feed both himself and Karina for however long a period. He explained that he had made an agreement with the Gypsies that they could reside on Karlstadt land so long as they bought food to him daily. As there were only two to feed, this was no hardship to the Gypsies, who were quite content with the agreement.

I wondered which of the Karlstadt’s had given him permission to broker the deal. Then I realised that with Karina being the last of the line, He must have acted using her name as proxy. I had no wish to query the subject, I had no wish to put a name to her, family or otherwise, far safer that she stayed anonymous, for all our sake’s.

Franz, happy to  be invited to remain, found himself a place close to Karina and Father Michael, both who were happy to have him join them, despite his disfigurement. I know that I had placed Bruno and the Doctor together, but now I was beginning to see it as an error of judgement on my part. They sat in their own corner, peering at the others and whispering among themselves. I didn’t like it, I sensed mutiny in the air, but not yet.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 6

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 6

  Greta Schmidt looked up at her and made a guttural grunt of disdain, Ivy, at this point getting a little peeved, raised her voice a little higher. At this point of the proceedings, word had gotten around the hotel about the confrontation and people were rallying in support from both contingents.

‘Madam,’ said Ivy, this time raising her voice substantially, ‘This is your second warning, will you please vacate my sun- lounger.’ Werner raised his newspaper a little higher and slide down below it.

The crowd stirred restlessly, it was obvious that something had to give. Ivy appeared to be outmatched by the formidable Greta who must have been about twice her weight. Greta once again grunted and continued to ignore Ivy.

Ivy, by now furious and totally out of control, her face red with anger, ‘Madam, your countrymen killed my husband, but I forgave that, it was war, now I’m really annoyed so you better shift you bloody ‘arris ’cause this bulldog bites’ as she finished her statement she punched Greta in the nose with all the force she could manage.

Greta’s nose split and poured with blood. A ragged cheer went up from the British contingent. Werner raised his newspaper even higher, but this time not to hide his embarrassment at his Wife’s behaviour, more to hide the fact that he was laughing like a hyena.

His Wife was screaming blue murder, and he couldn’t stop himself  laughing, the tiny Englishwoman had done what he had fantasised about for years. Greta had well and truly been put in her place.

All of the German’s fled the scene, in fact they kept a very low profile for the remainder of the week. They were probably too embarrassed to show themselves, Justice can be strange … Sometimes.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 151 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 151 )

  I cannot even begin to describe the exhilaration I felt, When from the Liner’s deck I could make out in the distance, the White Cliffs of Dover. My first sight of my homeland for several months, Life once again held meaning for me.

There was still some way to go, but that first sighting was all the re-assurance that I needed. I would within a day or so, be back home in London. Take another day or two to get my house and business affairs in some sort of order.

Then away to the country to re-acquaint myself with my Brother Giles, and seek his council once more. Now, that Father is no more, Giles is the only one that I confide in, and then only to a point. There are certain things I would not confess, even to him.

They do say, that home is where the heart is, and mine is firmly fixed in the English countryside. My thoughts have been of nothing else, whilst I have been away. I have no doubts that other countries have their charms, but for me to feel content and live happily in one, it would have to be like England, I could envision nothing less.

I never realised how much of a patriot, I was, until I left my England. Now that I have returned, I realise just how much she means to me. It will be hard for me to leave her again. But then, if duty were to call, then I suppose I must.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Air Aces of World War One



Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

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

  Guynemer was born in Compiegne in 1984 to a wealthy and aristocratic family. His Mother was Julie, the Countess of Saint-Quentin, his Father Paul Guynemer. He had an often sickly childhood. Nonetheless he succeeded as an Aviator, due to his enormous drive and self confidence.

He was originally rejected 5 times for Military service due to his frailty, but was finally accepted for training as a mechanic in late 1914. Through determination, he gained acceptance to pilot training, Joining Escadrille M.S.3 on the 8th of June 1915. He remained with this unit for his entire service career. The first plane he was allocated was a Morane-Saulnier Type L Monoplane previously flown by Charles Bonnard and named accordingly Vieux Charles (Old Charles) Guynemer kept the name and used it on all his consecutive aircraft. On the 19th of July he shot down his first Aircraft, an Aviatik.

On the 5th of November 1915, Escadrille M.S.3 was renamed Escadrille N.3 due to being re-equipped with the new Nieuport 10 fighters. Flying the more effective aircraft, Guynemer soon established himself as one France’s premier fighter pilots. He became an ace with his fifth victory coming in February 1916, and was promoted to Lieutenant in March. By the end of the year his score had risen to 25. Capitaine Brocard, Commander of Escadrille N.3 (Storks) Described Guynemer at that time, “as my most brilliant Stork” within a year Guynemer was promoted to Capitaine and Commander of the Storks.

Guynemer became influential enough to affect t French fighter aircraft design. In December 1916, he wrote to the chief designer at S.P.A.D. criticising the S.P.A.D.VII as inferior to the German Halberstadt. As a consequence S.P.A.D. developed two new but very similar aircraft the SPAD XII and SPAD XIII. The new models were promising but had teething problems with the reduction gear between engine and propeller.

To Be Continued……………………..

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 150 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 150 )

  I enjoyed my time aboard the liner, there was plenty to occupy my mind. The civilians on board were very curious about my exploits in South Africa. Most went away disappointed when I explained that although wearing the King’s uniform, I was merely an Army Doctor.

Once they realised that I had no gory or heroic exploits to titillate them, I was left well alone, which to be quite honest suited me. I have always been a man that likes to pick his own company, not to be a pawn of someone else’s choosing.

Besides, I needed time on my own, I had my future to arrange. I was returning to England with no job, which equates to no future. But on the plus side I had a reasonable amount of back pay from the Army, and also, whilst I have been away. The McGinty’s have been taking in paying guests under the supervision of my solicitor, so I should be comfortable for a month or two or until I come to a decision.

I could resume my post at the Whitechapel Infirmary, but I tend to view that as a backward step, and that particular building has too many memories of the kind that I would rather forget, and so I think that is a definite no!

I am still quite keen on the idea of opening a surgery at my home, I know I have done this before and failed miserably, but it was mainly due to my circumstances at the time. Nowadays I am a more mature man, who only drinks socially, and even then in moderation.

Gone are the frailties of my younger years, I like to think of myself as an older and much wiser man, but for all that. I will still seek my Brother’s advice.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 18

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 18

  As soon as they were out of earshot, I called to Father Michael, once we were close, I whispered to him, an explanation about Karina and who I believed her to be, his niece. I explained to him that is was more than a possibility that Bruno and possibly the Doctor might try to dispose of her.

Michael might be a man of the cloth, but he was a big man and formidable. I felt sure he would be quite capable of being Karina’s protector. I had the distinct feeling that she might soon need one. I had a bad feeling that something was about to happen, and when it did, it was the very last thing that I had expected.

The Doctor and Bruno came strutting in to the room, shoving in front of them a small man with what appeared to be a badly burned face. He looked grotesque, one side of his face was scar tissue whilst the other appeared almost normal. He was quite elderly but still appeared to be quite agile.

The moment she caught sight of him, Karina ran and hugged him. She had obviously known him for some time. I had a feeling that we had also solved the puzzle of who was feeding and taking care of her.

‘This is Franz, he was one of the Castle’s servants, he used to play with me, when I was small,’ said Karina by way of introduction. I noticed that both Bruno and the Doctor had caught the significance of her words. I would have to watch her even closer now, even though I had Michael watching her too.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 5

This Bulldog Bites – Excerpt 5

  Greta, on the other hand, was tolerated because of her Husbands standing in the banking community, Her constant whining did not endear her to many people, even amongst her own Countrymen and Women.

It was the habit of the German Contingent to rise early and place towels on the sun beds to reserve them, as there was only a limited number available. It made perfect sense, but caused animosity amongst the hotel guests, mainly because the same people always had the use of the sun beds. I have no knowledge of the cause, but for some reason, known only to herself, this really annoyed Ivy who decided there and then to put a stop to it. Ivy hated unfairness of any kind.

The following day she arose early, went downstairs by the pool and placed her towel on a vacant sun bed. She then went back to her room and prepared herself for the day ahead. After an enjoyable breakfast, she returned to her room, gathered up her belongings and the book she was reading and headed for the pool and her reserved sun lounger.

Her reserved sun lounger was however occupied by the corpulent Greta Schmidt and her towel was thrown  carelessly on the floor. Ivy was furious, but endeavoured to appear calm. ‘Madam!’ she said, choosing her words carefully, ‘I do believe that you are lying on my sun lounger and that is my towel that you threw on the floor.’

Werner Schmidt who was lying on the sun lounger next to his Wife, raised his copy of Die Welt, a German newspaper, a little higher. Werner was not fond of confrontations of any kind.

(C) Damian Grange 2019