The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 26

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 26

  ‘I had you in my sights, young lady! ‘ I stated, ‘ I almost shot you, whatever were you thinking?’ she could see that I was annoyed with her. ‘I’m sorry, please don’t be annoyed with me, I was restless and thought that I could keep you company for a little while,’ she replied apologetically.

‘I’ll be glad of the company, if you are here with me I know that I can keep you out of harms way, wrap yourself up in my greatcoat, keep snug and warm’ I said. ‘And you think that it is important, that I be kept safe?’ she asked and smiled at me coquettishly, I got the distinct feeling that I was being teased.

To think that I thought her naïve and childlike, I’m certain that I am the naïve one in this partnership, I think she can read my mind. ‘Yes, your safety is of importance to me, I thought you were aware of that fact’ I said solemnly, trying hard not to let my feelings show.

‘So, you finally admit that you have feelings for me?’ she enquired grinning. ‘Yes! Damn you, yes’ I said pulling her in to my arms and kissing her gently on the lips, To my surprise she returned my kiss with interest, obviously she has feelings for me too. Maybe this expedition will end happily after all.

After a few more embraces, Karina excused herself and returned to join the rest of the party. I sat there lost in thought. Karina had given me an awful lot to think about. Would she become my wife? Would she return to England with me?

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 7

The Diamond King – Excerpt 7

  There appeared to be a lot of wildfowl in the area, so I decided to try my luck with them. I had no wish to advertise my presence by using my rifle, I tied my knife to a branch I had selected and trimmed giving me a makeshift spear.

I struck lucky on my third attempt, a nice plump bird. I would eat well tonight. That and the water would soon renew my energy and my spirits. I set to work gathering twigs and anything else suitable for a small fire. after the finest  meal I had had in months, I settled down to sleep with my rifle close at hand.

I had made a decision, on the following morning I would return home. If I still had one. My home as such, was a small shack adjacent to my gold mine. Which when I left for the war, still had a little gold left for me to mine.

I didn’t sleep too well, I could hear lions in the distance. I had a healthy respect  for the lions, both as a man and a hunter. they were the one animal you never underestimated. Not if you valued your life.

I picked up my rifle and pack after checking that my water canteen was full and proceeded to walk in the general direction of home, such as it was. I had no idea what had happened there in the three years I had been away fighting with the Commando.

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story( Excerpt 166 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 166 )

  Then it really struck home with me, all of these people were happy to put their health and welfare and also that of their families in my hands. I felt gratified and terribly humbled by the trust being placed in me.

Fortunately, Jenny and I had devised a rudimentary filing system for our patients records, that was simple enough for ease of use. Based on the alphabet which has 26 letters, all patients whose surname began with a ‘A’ will begin with a number 1, ‘B’ with a number 2 until we reached ‘Z’ which would have the prefix 26, its not perfect but it should work with practice and looking at the amount of people thronging outside. Practice was something we would soon be getting lots of.

I asked Jenny If she minded popping through to Mrs McGinty, to tell her to keep the kettle on the boil. I had the feeling that we would need lots of tea to sustain us throughout the day.

I got McGinty to open the front door at 9.00a.m. sharp and the people came flooding in. Jenny tried in vain to keep them in an orderly fashion, but she was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of them. I had to go and see them myself and raise my voice to inform them that they would all be seen in turn and pushing and jostling would only delay that process. After that they seemed to calm down a little but for how long, I had no idea.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest
udetOberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941 Pt.5

  By late November, Udet was a triple Ace and Jastafuhrer modelling his attacks on those of Guynemer, coming in high out of the sun to pick out the rear aircraft before the rest of the squadron knew what had happened. Having witnessed one of these attacks, his commander in Jasta 37, selected Udet for command over more senior pilots. Udet’s ascension to command on November the 7th 1917 was followed six days later by the award of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. Despite his seemingly frivolous nature, drinking late in to the night and playboy lifestyle, Udet proved an excellent Squadron commander. He spent many hours coaching new fighter pilots, with an emphasis on marksmanship being an essential for success.

Udet’s success attracted him attention for his skill, earning him an invitation to join the “Flying Circus” Jagdegeshwader 1, an elite unit of German fighter Aces under the command of Manfred von Richtofen, popularly known as the Red Baron. Richtofen drove up to Udet one day as he was attempting to pitch a tent in the rain in Flanders, pointing out that Udet had attained 29 victories, Richtofen said,’Then you would actually seem ripe to join us, would you like to?’, which Udet accepted. After watching him shoot down an artillery spotter in a frontal attack, Richtofen gave Udet command of Jasta11,his own former command. The group commanded by Richtofen also included Jasta’s 4,6 and 10, Udet’s enthusiasm for Richtofen was unbounded, a leader who demanded total loyalty and dedication from his pilots, immediately cashiering anyone who fell out of line.

To Be Continued………………………

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 165 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 165 )

  I awoke on Monday with a premonition of disaster. I had slept fitfully which did not help my feelings. Would my surgery be a success or an abject failure like my last attempt.

I performed my ablutions with no enthusiasm, I cut myself shaving which didn’t help to improve my mood. I usually eat a hearty breakfast but today I just picked at it. I had no appetite for food. too many negative thoughts were flitting through my mind.

Then Jenny arrived, a little early, she looked flushed and was having difficulty catching her breath, ‘Whatever is the matter, What’s wrong?’ I demanded to know. ‘ It’s unbelievable there are already lots of people forming a queue outside, people from all walks of life and more are on the way, I ran here to warn you, it’s almost as if all of Whitechapel is heading in this direction,’ she informed me, still gasping for breath.

‘Sit down for a moment and catch your breath, it looks like we might be in for a busy day.’ So, Fred Abberline was right, but then he has his sources all over Whitechapel, he has his fingers on its pulse so to speak, he has to, to be a successful Policeman.

I ran upstairs and chanced a peek out of my bedroom window, it was just as Jenny had described. People were thronging outside my door. The great and the good, the poor and the needy and all here to become my patients. Surely this would start me on the road to redemption.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 25

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 25

  I could understand that, I wasn’t enamoured with him either. She seemed content to spend time chatting to me and I must admit I found her attention very flattering. I liked and respected her, despite her fragile looks and childlike ways.

It was something totally unknown to me, but I was beginning to have feelings for her. I put it down to the proximity of our surroundings. Due to our circumstances we had been thrown together.

After the death of Franz, I was the only person of a similar age, if you discount the Doctor, who for some reason she detested, I never did find out why? I suppose it was only natural we would find ourselves amenable companions.

The day passed by pleasantly enough, I decided while the others slept one man would stand guard, armed naturally. I elected to stand guard for the first four hours, to be relieved by the Doctor, who would in turn be relieved by the Father. That way I prayed, we could all sleep safely.

I positioned myself on a slight rise, from where I could see the others clearly. I had taken my old greatcoat from off of my saddle, and was wrapped snug inside it. I sensed something moving below me. I raised my rifle and sighted on my target, when I realised it was Karina.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 6

The Diamond King – Excerpt 6

  The unidentified man, my benefactor, was either a prospector with a mine nearby or possibly a diamond smuggler who had had an unfortunate accident. Either way I had benefitted from it, instead of a penniless returning soldier, I was returning home with a small fortune in uncut diamonds.

Back at the township where I used to live, I had a woman waiting Hetty de Vrees, she was all I had thought of in the moments when I was not fighting. Now I could return, we could be married and live the kind of life we had only dreamed of, together. I was aware that her Father Pastor de Vrees had no fondness for me, but he would have a fondness for my diamonds. Like all priests he had a price.

I had no idea of the kind of reception I would receive. After all I had been away with the Commando, fighting for three long years. Would I be welcomed or shunned. She, said that she would wait for me, but would she even be there.

Having been absent for all that time, I had no idea as to what had been happening in and around the township, for better or for worse. I was in no great hurry. I decided to hunt for something to eat, I was tired of living on biltong. I had seen neither hide nor hair of anyone pursuing me, so I considered it safe to build a small cooking fire. but first I needed something to cook.

(C)Damian Grange 2019


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 164 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 164 )

  Saturday came and went in a flash, the party was a resounding success due in part to the wonderful meal that we, myself and my guests were presented with. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mrs McGinty had once again exceeded all our expectations.

Jenny got on fine with everyone, once she had gotten used to Lizzie Abberline’s occasionally outspoken comments. Once she had relaxed, Lizzie quite took to her, saying ‘How lucky I was to have secured the services of someone as dedicated as I, myself.’

As I stated, it was all over so quickly. I spent Sunday Morning discussing my ideas with my Brother, Giles, and getting his approval or disapproval for my many ideas. He left in the Afternoon to catch the train back to his parish. It had been a short but happy visit.

Monday was going to be the real test, would any patients appear to enrol in my practice. Or would Jenny and I sit staring at four walls longing for something to happen. This was the part I dreaded, it was like waiting for the results of a crucial examination. I lay in bed trying  not to think about it, but sleep eluded me.

(C) Damian Grange 2019



Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest



Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941 Pt.4

  In January 1917, Udet was commissioned as a Leutnant der Reserve ( lieutenant of reserves ). The same month Jasta 15 re-equipped with the Albatros D.III, a new fighter with twin synchronized machine guns. During his service with Jasta 15, Udet later wrote he had encountered Georges Guynemer, a notable French Ace, in single combat at 16.000ft. Guynemer who preferred to hunt the enemy alone, was at this time the leading French Ace with over 30 victories. Udet saw Guynemer and they circled each other, looking for an opening and testing each other’s flying abilities. They were close enough for Udet to read the “Vieux” of “Vieux Charles” written on Guynemer’s Spad.S.VII. The two opponents tried every aerobatic trick they knew and Guynemer fired a burst through Udet’s upper wing but they still manoeuvred for advantage. Once Udet had Guynemer in his sights, he was just about to fire when his machine guns jammed, he carried on with the pretence of a dogfight while hammering on his guns trying to free them. Guynemer realised his predicament and instead of pressing home his advantage, simply waved a farewell and flew away. Udet wrote of the fight, “For seconds, I forgot that the man across for me was Guynemer, my enemy. It seemed as though I were sparring with an older comrade over my own Airfield” Udet felt that Guynemer had spared him because he wanted a fair fight. While other’s have suggested that the French Ace was impressed with Udet’s skills and hoped that they might meet again on equal terms.

Eventually every pilot in Jasta 15 was killed except Udet and his commander, Heinrich Gontermann who said to Udet, “The bullets fall from the hands of God …. sooner or later they will hit us” Udet applied for a transfer to Jasta 37, and Gontermann was killed three months later when the upper wing of his new Fokker Dr.I tore off as he was flying it for the first time.

To Be Continued……………..

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 163 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 163 )

  Saturday arrived all to soon, but with thanks once again to the McGinty’s everything was in place. Jenny had graciously accepted her invitation but would be coming alone, apparently at the moment she had no significant other. Giles had also confirmed that he would be present. So to my mind, at least, it should be perfect.

I had already given my approval To Mrs McGinty’s suggestions for the meal and the necessary’s had been purchased. Although personally nowadays, I’m not much of a drinker, I made sure that we had an adequate supply of wine and some decent port for after the meal.

I felt certain that the party would be a success, Mrs McGinty’s prowess in the kitchen had never failed me yet. If nothing else I knew the cuisine would be nothing less than perfect.

I don’t know why, but I felt strangely ill at ease, but then I have been a long time without the comfort of my closest friends. Maybe I still can’t believe that I am home and back amongst my friends. I’m certain that once my guests arrive and the wine and conversation starts to flow I shall be perfectly fine.

Although I am not that young a man, It was the first time I had left my homeland, to me personally Africa was a giant step, and on reflection, one that I should have considered more fully before taking.

(C) Damian Grange 2019