Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

 

Udet-albatros

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

 

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 24

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 24

  The creature was cunning, it was striking at our weakest moments, If we stayed together as a unit with all the men armed then we should be able to resist its attacks, if you could call then that.

I had my Enfield, the Doctor had a hunting rifle of German manufacture, I also had my Addams revolver which I handed to Father Michael, despite his protests, I also had my sword, for what it was worth in these circumstances.

For the moment all that we could do was build up the fire and hope that the creature would show itself. Unless, of course, as I suspected the creature was in fact, one of us, a stranger in our midst, a Vampire!

I think that possibly for the first time since I had become a soldier. I had for reasons unknown become embroiled in a conflict that I was not sure that I could win. It was left to me to make life or death decisions for the members of our little group, and if I were honest, I was faltering.

I felt totally impotent against the creature, if such a thing existed. Being a simple soldier, I had a marked tendency to only believe what I could see, if I could see it, I reasoned, I could kill it.

The day passed slowly, Karina came and sat by my side. I would like to think that she felt safer with me. Although I tended to think she had a instinctive dislike of the Doctor, she seemed to avoid him whenever it was possible.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 5

The Diamond King – Excerpt 5

  And so, I settled my pack and my rifle, and headed for the mountains. I had no idea of what I would find there, my only concern was to lose myself for a little while. Time enough for people to forget where I had been and what I had been doing these past three years.

As I wondered higher in to the mountains, I chanced to look to the left of me and there a fair distance below me, I saw what appeared to be a man lying unconscious on a rock. I was concerned that it might be Henrik. But if it was he, he was miles away from where I would have expected him to be. But like me he was exhausted and probably delirious, it could be him. I decided to investigate.

I made my way cautiously towards him, the rocks were a little loose in places, I had to treads warily or risk falling as it appeared that he had done. I had to carefully manoeuvre my way over a couple of tricky areas. But now I was much closer to the man, to my relief it was not Henrik, but a much older man.

Eventually I managed to climb down to where the man lay. He was not as I had first thought unconscious but dead, and for a little while judging by the condition of the corpse. I searched his corpse to see if he had any identification of any description on his person, but found nothing.

Around his waist he had a battered old cartridge pouch. I opened it and to my surprise it was full of uncut diamonds. I poured them out and examined them carefully, now I don’t profess to be a diamond expert. But I knew that I was now in possession of a small fortune in diamonds. Which on the basis of finders keepers were now mine.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

 

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 162 )

Jack the Ripper – A  Love Story ( Excerpt 162 )

  ‘Then  that’s settled, I’ll take my leave and expect you on Saturday, it has been a pleasure to renew our friendship,’ I said in all honesty. ‘Likewise’ stated Fred offering me his hand, ‘It really is good to see you again.’ ‘Until Saturday!’ I said as I shook his hand and departed.

I think the next thing I must do is send a telegram to my brother Giles, in the hopes that he may be available to come to mine and stay overnight, if it is at all possible, I would like him to be there.

I also have a mind to invite Jenny, she does after all to a certain extent have a stake in this venture. I will inform her that if she has a gentleman friend, then he his invited too, besides I would like her to meet my friends, the few treasured ones that I have.

It was nice in Africa, having Arthur to confide in, but that was a friendship formed in adversity and nothing like the bond shared between myself, my sibling and the Abberline’s. that solid bond of friendship.

I got to thinking about that comment that Fred made, about people holding me in high regard, I wondered did he know something that was unknown to me. I found it most perplexing, especially as it might relate to the success or failure of my new venture.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

 

Air Aces of World War One

udetPicture – courtesy of Pinterest

Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1942 Pt.3

  Udet was assigned a new Fokker to fly to his new fighter unit F.F.A.68 at Habsheim. Mechanically defective, the plane crashed in to an hanger when he took off, and was then given an older Fokker to fly. In this aircraft he experienced his first aerial combat, which almost became his last. While lining up on a French Caudron, Udet found he could not bring himself to fire on  another person and was subsequently fired on by the Frenchman. A bullet grazed his cheek and smashed his flying goggles. Udet survived the encounter but from then on learned to attack more aggressively.

He downed his first aircraft on March the 18th 1916, on that occasion he had scrambled to attack two French aircraft, instead to find himself facing a formation of 23 enemy aircraft. He dived from above and behind, giving his Fokker E.III full throttle, and opened fire on a Farman F.40 from close range. Udet pulled away, leaving the flaming bomber trailing smoke, only to see the observer fall from the stricken craft. This victory won Udet the Iron Cross 1st Class, later describing it he said, “The fuselage of the Farman dives down past me like a giant torch…a man his arms and legs spread out like a frogs falls…The observer. At the moment I don’t think of them as human beings. I feel only one thing…victory, triumph, victory”

That year F.F.A.68 was renamed Kampfeinsitzer Kommando Habsheim before becoming Jagdstaffel 15 on the 28th of September 1916. Udet would claim five more victories before transferring to Jasta 37 in June 1917. In the first of his victories on the 12th of October 1916 Udet forced a French Breguet to land safely in German held territory, then landed nearby to prevent its destruction by its crew. The bullet – punctured tyres on Udet’s Fokker flipped the plane forward on to its top wings and fuselage. Udet and the French pilot eventually shook hands beside the French aircraft.

To Be Continued………….

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 161 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 161 )

  ‘But what of you, Jack, do you return to the Infirmary, or have you other plans?’ ‘Well, actually that is one of the reasons for my visit, firstly and most importantly to renew our friendship. On Monday I am opening a new surgery at my home and wondered if you could put any work my way, whether in a medical or advisory capacity’ I requested.

‘Now you have surprised me, I have nothing at the moment, but if anything comes up you will get first refusal, I will also pass out the word to the other Divisions.’ Fred replied. ‘Initially it will be slow, but I am confident that I can make it work.’

‘If anyone can, you can, you still have a good reputation in this area.’ said Fred. ‘Reputation is all well and good, but will it feed me? I questioned. ‘I predict that when the word passes around, you might well be surprised, you are held in high regard by the people of Whitechapel, and by people that would surprise you.’ replied Fred.

‘How is Lizzie?’ I asked, ‘I trust that she is keeping well?’ ‘You know Lizzie, blooming as always, I count myself a fortunate man to have her,’ said Fred and meant it. ‘Will you be available on Saturday night, I’m thinking of having a small party to launch my new project and who better than my dearest friends to be there.’

‘I gratefully accept on behalf of Lizzie and myself, it’ll be just like old times, I think we have all missed each others company.’

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 23

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 23

  ‘I must consider it doubtful, bearing in mind that she was sleeping in-between Father Michael and her servant, Franz.’ he observed, quite calmly. ‘I find that really interesting, because by giving them all alibi’s, as I am sure you realise you have, where do’s that leave you?’ I asked in all seriousness.

‘I admit to being many things,’ stated the Doctor angrily, ‘But stupid is not one of them, how dare you accuse me, in fact, what am I being accused of?’ I wanted to smile at his discomfort, but my plan, as I had thought to unmask him had failed miserably, I had either underestimated him or he was innocent.

My only concern was to how many more of us might have to die at the hands of this creature, before we discovered it’s identity and dealt with it finally! The remainder of the day passed with little event, we ate supper together and settled down to attempt to sleep.

I was shaken awake by a somewhat harassed Father Michael. Franz was gone. Whether he had been taken by the creature or was just collecting wood for the fire we knew not. To be certain I sent the Doctor and Michael to search for him. I stayed in camp with Karina, who was naturally a little tearful, she was very fond of old Franz.

After a short time, the search party returned, they had found poor Franz. He was in the Castle cellars, also it appeared another victim of the creature. I was furious with myself, I should have seen this coming, we were all potential victims, but only if we were alone and vulnerable.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 4

The Diamond King – Excerpt 4

  Alleluia! I could see the ground before me starting to recede, I was within reach of the river bed. All I had to do was pray that I would find water there. It had never failed me in the past, why would it fail me now.

I stumbled on a few more paces, then slid down the slope to the river bed. As soon as I had got my bearings, I took out my hunting knife and started to dig along where the river used to flow.

As my hole got deeper, I started digging up damp sand. There, was water sure enough, it was just a matter of digging deep enough to find it. It sounds an easy think to do but in my parched disorientated state, not quite so easy. But I blundered on, my hunch had proved correct. I would have water before long.

Once I had water, my other problems would solve themselves. Water meant life! I tried to put a little more effort in to my digging using what small reserves of energy I had. That extra effort soon paid dividends, before long water was lapping around my ankles.

I filled my water bottle and took a sip, it was just how I remembered it, cold and sweet. It was a pity I had only the one water bottle, but no matter. I was almost in to the mountains where there would be plenty of water. The worst of my journey was over.

It would be useful if I had a horse, but I had a pair of good strong veldtschoen boots, and I felt sufficiently revived to continue with my journey. And up to now, I had seen no signs of pursuit of any description.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

(C)

 

 

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 160 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 160 )

  ‘And what of Capetown itself, was it impressive ?’ Fred inquired. ‘Well to be perfectly honest, I saw very little of it as I passed through, what little I saw seemed pleasant enough.’ was my reply.

‘And this err…. Concentration Camp, what was that like?’ he asked. ‘Hell on Earth, ruled over by a Commandant who was himself addicted to opiates. He held the power of life and death over his prisoners, and took pleasure in their deaths.’ ‘ It sounds a grim sort of place, were there no redeeming features at all? he asked.

‘There were two actually, when I arrived there, the Doctor I was teamed up with was none other than the famed author, Arthur Conan Doyle, who amongst his other qualifications was a trained Doctor. He was very interested in writing a novel about his character Sherlock Holmes apprehending The Ripper, but I assured him that if anyone were to apprehend the Ripper it would be none other than my friend Inspector Fred Abberline of Division 11.

‘That was very kind of you to say so, and the other redeeming feature?’ ‘The visit and tour of Inspection by Miss Emily Hobhouse, who changed the way the camp was run almost single-handedly, she arranged for the Commandant to be replaced, better food and medical supplies for the prisoners. Due to her ministrations the mortality rate has decreased, especially amongst the children. All this from a one-woman crusade.’

‘She did not stop there, when she returned home, she almost bought about the fall of the government with her complaints about Kitchener’s heavy -handed treatment of the Boers.’ ‘I’m not at all surprised, she was a veritable dynamo.’ was my reply.

(C) Damian Grange 2019