Air Aces of World War One

Lt. Jan Olieslagers – Belgian Ace – 1883 / 1942

Jan Olieslagers was a Belgian Motorcycle and Aviation pioneer who set World records with both types of machine. He became a flying Ace in World War One despite his indifference in claiming victories, he was credited with six victories, seventeen unconfirmed, and an unknown number unclaimed.

Jan Olieslagers turned in his bicycle to become an early motorcycle record holder, he was the first to go 100 kilometres ( 62 mph ) and became 1902 World Champion. In 1909 he purchased a Bleriot monoplane, receiving Pilot’s Brevet no.5 in October of that year. In 1910 he won the Meeting d’Aviation de Rheims. By 1913 he had set seven World Aviation Records, in June 1914 he proved himself as good at aerobatics as Roland Garros.

At the beginning of World War One, when the Germans invaded his native Belgium, The German Government tried to enlist Olieslagers in Aerial Observation duties. He volunteered himself and his aircraft to his nation’s military, as did his two brothers, Jules and Max. Jan Olieslagers was promoted to Sergeant, then received a commission before the end of 1914.

On the 5th of January 1915, he crash landed injuring his left arm and leg as well as his chest. On the 12th of September 1915, he became the first Belgian pilot, as well as one of the first pilots overall to claim an Aerial victory when he forced down an Aviatik.C.1. At the time he was flying a Nieuport 10 dubbed Le Demon, which was the only aircraft in the Belgian Air Force painted with camouflage markings and the outer circle of the roundels inscribed in black.

He then had a string of four unconfirmed victories before he traded his Nieuport 10 for a Nieuport 11. He scored his second confirmed victory on the 17th of June 1916, destroying a Fokker D11 over Pijpegale, Belgium. Seven more unconfirmed claims for Aerial victories while flying the Nieuport 11 closed out 1917.

To Be Continued……………..

(C)Damian Grange 2020

The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 3

‘ During the time he was released from prison and began writing, he met and began a relationship with Marie Deschamps a well known writer of historical romances. What this urbane and educated woman saw in him, I have no idea? But she became both his mistress and his mentor, with her encouragement he began writing and to date has had a string of eight best sellers and he is now poised to release his ninth.’

‘ But I still don’t understand where I fit in to this equation? two people meet and fall in love, it happens or so I am led to believe,’ smiled Valjean.

‘ Be patient, Detective Inspector, it will all begin to make sense in a moment. I personally have read the last two books and they contain certain information that only the killer could be aware of. On that basis alone. I would say that he is the killer or he knows the killer’s identity.’

‘ So why haven’t you apprehended him, given you have enough proof ?’

‘ That is why I requested your assistance. He flaunts his guilt, but we have no concrete evidence. If pressed he could plead artistic licence or just plain coincidence. He is laughing at us and we can do nothing?’

‘ What do you think Valjean, do you fancy a vacation in Languedoc?’ asked the Commissioner. ‘ Only if Fouchet can come too, I’m sure he could use a holiday.’

‘ I’ve no problem with that,’ agreed the Commissioner,’ But I expect results.’

(C) Damian Grange 2020

The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 2

Dupin appraised Valjean, attempting to get the measure of the man. He was of average build, the kind of man that women would find attractive, Then he looked into his eyes, dark brown almost black, relaxed yet obviously alert, but eyes filled with sadness as if they had witnessed all the horrors that this world has to offer. Dupin then knew for certain that he had the right man for this particular investigation.

Monsieur Dupin began to explain his predicament, ‘ In the area that comes under my jurisdiction in the past twelve years there have been eight missing girls, all in their late teens. We have only discovered the bodies of three of them and they had been mutilated by animals. For sometime now my Officers and I believed we had a serial killer on our hands, but without the cadavers we have no case?

‘So what do you expect from me? I’m a detective, not a magician,’ said Valjean angrily.

‘If you would be so kind as to let me finish, there has been a development. That is the reason that I requested outside assistance, have you heard of Marcel de Peysac?’

‘Isn’t he a best selling author of some kind? I’m not familiar with his work, other than that the name sounds familiar, should I have heard of him?’

‘You will probably be more interested when I tell you that de Peysac’s real name is Pierre Dubois, a convicted felon found guilty of badly beating and raping a seventeen year old girl, he was twenty at the time. He served his sentence, was released and vanished off the system, or so we believed at the time?’

(C) Damian Grange 2020

The Ninth Victim

Detective Inspector Michel ‘Jean’ Valjean was furious, he had been summoned to his Commissioner’s office and left kicking his heels for what seemed like forever.

Despite the No Smoking signs, Valjean reached into his pocket and extracted a crumpled pack of Gauloise, he selected one and lit it, he inhaled deeply feeling the familiar sensations almost like the caress of an old lover.

He had tried sweet talking the Commissioner’s secretary, but she just shrugged her shoulders non-committedly. ‘Bloody bitch’ muttered Valjean under his breath.

Under normal circumstances he would have just burst into the office. But the circumstances were not normal. there was already a man in conference with the Commissioner, a man unknown to Valjean.

Valjean’s mind was racing, am I in the shit again in line for another warning, or am I due for another commendation. Lord knows I’ve had more than my fair share of both.

Then the door opened and Valjean was ushered inside and given a seat. ‘Detective Inspector Valjean,’ said the Commissioner, ‘This is Raoul Dupin Prefecture of Police for the Languedoc area’ he said introducing the stranger, ‘He has need of your particular talents.’

(C) Damian Grange 2020