The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 1

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Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 1

  I had been wounded in the Crimean Conflict, In what was to be one of the last actions of that war. I was not well enough to return with the rest of the Army and so I was left in the care of the nuns in a convent in Sevastopol, with instructions to make my own way back to England when I had recovered sufficiently.

Among the nuns who cared for me was one who spoke quite passible English. As my health was restored and her duties permitted, she would often sit and chat with me. I found it a pleasant diversion from the tedium of the convent / hospital routine, even more so, now that I was on the mend.

She told me that she originated from a town called Karlstadt, which was situated in the Carpathian Mountains. And that her father, when he was alive, had been Headmaster of the school there, He was an accomplished scholar and had taught her several languages.

The town was named Karlstadt in honour of the local nobility, the Karlstadt family who lived in the castle on the hill overlooking the town itself.

She explained to me that the townsfolk lived an idyllic life in the Carpathian foothills. that is until ten years previously, when within a period of several weeks, young girls began to disappear from the outlying villages. She confirmed that by young she meant unmarried girls in their late teens. They were all eventually found, dead with puncture marks upon their necks as if someone or something had been sucking their blood.

(c) Damian Grange 2018

 

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 20

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 20

Shamus, knowing he had gained the moral advantage asked, ‘Could not a rider be sent to find Lord Dillon, he will wish to be informed of why his son has been delayed in this fashion it may help your cause a little.’

I’ll send one of my aides, immediately, until he returns if you give your paroles you will be freed as long as you stray within the Inn and its grounds. I will have a cordon around the area so you would be wise not to try to escape, we don’t want any more accidents?’ he stated, and we clearly understood the menace in his words.

The moment they were freed, Conor walked over to Black Michael and said, The debt between us is paid in full, you owe me nothing but I would value your friendship.’ A grin ing Michael offered his hand which Conor happily took.

‘Well, if we can venture outside, we can keep our weapon training up to scratch, but we must not harm any of these delicate little Frenchie’s!’ said Shamus.

It was their third day at the Inn, Conor and James were practicing with their swords, Black Michael and Shamus sat swigging ale and offering criticism of the younger pair, who being of similar height and builds were quite evenly matched and both highly competitive. James feinted to the left, Conor appeared to have fallen for the move, James was waiting for Conor’s counter, but he did the total opposite and James was left disarmed and wondering how it happened.

Black Michael offered his congratulations, ‘That was a nice move, boy, he never saw it coming!’ ‘Too right!’ agreed James, ‘I’m glad I’m on your side, I would hate to be your enemy, you’re lethal.’

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 113 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 113 )

  The following day, I did as the Major suggested and visited the Military Tailors. I explained the urgency of my request and once my measurements were taken to his satisfaction he said without hesitation that the uniforms would be ready for a fitting in three days time. He said that normally it would have been sooner but due to the coming war trade was booming. I assured him that three days was fine.

Then I paid a visit to my solicitor, I had decided that whilst I was away I would allow the Mc Ginty’s to take guests in my house, but only guests that were first vetted by my solicitor and he was to oversee all transactions and receive all monies on my behalf and ensure that the McGinty’s be paid their wages as normal.

My only stipulation was that no one was given access to my own room or the cellar, they were to be kept locked at all times, for obvious reasons.

I then returned to the Infirmary, to write out and hand in my formal resignation, they had been forewarned of my plans, so there was no animosity involved which was nice. I told them I was quite happy to stay until I received my travelling orders. But then, I may have to leave at a few days notice.

As it happened, it was sooner than that, I was just about to leave for the day, when the Major appeared with an update on my travelling arrangements. ‘You depart London on the S.S. Dunleavy Castle, She’s an old cruise ship converted in to a troop ship, so don’t expect too much in creature comforts, you depart London and will arrive in either Capetown or Johannesburg in approximately a month’s time.

(C) Damian  Grange 2018

 

Air Aces of World War One

 

Kosokov
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Polkovnik  Alexander Alexandrovich  Kozakov – Russian Ace 1889 / 1919

Kozakov was born in the Russian Kherson Governorate ( now part of the Ukraine ) his family were Russian nobility. Kozakov graduated from Yelisavetgrad cavalry school in 1908, he did a stint in the cavalry. But in 1913 began his formal training as a pilot and graduated at the beginning of World war One from Gatchina Military Aviation School.

Alexander Kazakov flew a great variety of aircraft, among them, Morane-Saulnier, Spad A2, Nieuport 11 and Nieuport 17 and is alleged to have the largest number of victories among Russian Imperial Air Force Pilots. Unofficially he shot down 32 German and Austro- Hungarian aircraft, although his official tally is only 20, because only planes that crashed in Russian held territory were counted. Many Aces of various countries lost out because of similar scoring anomalies.

On the 31st of March 1915, Kazakov successfully repeated the aerial ramming attack first attempted by Pyotr Nesterov, using a Morane-Saulnier ‘G’ as his piloted projectile. For this piece of daring he was awarded the Order of Saint Anne, first in the fourth class and later in the third. He was appointed to command the 19th Corps Fighter Detachment in September 1915, here he had Nieuport 10’s and 11’s to fly. Between the 27th of June and the 21st of December 1916, he racked up four more victories to become an ace.

Five months later Kazakov resumed his winning streak with his sixth victory on May 6th 1917, which was shared with Ernst Leman and Pavel Argeyev. On the 25th of May with his eighth victory, he switched to a Nieuport 17, which he used from then on. Between 1915 and 1917 he fought on the Russian Front as well as in Romania, and participated in the Brusilov Offensive as a Commander of 1st Combat Air Group. In January 1918, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, Kazakov resigned his Russian Commission.

During the Russian Civil War, Kazakov joined the Slavo-British Allied Legion in Arkhangelsk and fought against the Workers and Peasants Red Air Fleet. On the 1st of August 1918 Kazakov became a Major in the Royal Air Force and was appointed to become Commanding Officer in charge of a Squadron of the Slavo-British Legion made up of Sopwith Camels. After the British withdrawal from Russia which h left tbhe White Russian Army in a desperate situation, Kazakov died in a plane crash during an Air Show that was designed to boost the morale of the Anti – Bolshevik troops. Most witnesses to the incident, Including British ace Ira Jones believe Kazakov committed suicide. yet another tragic end to a great pilot.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 112 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 112 )

‘So who is at fault, our Generals?’ I asked, he had my interest. ‘Mainly! the Boers will be fighting on their home turf, and believe me when I say they will use their knowledge of the land to their advantage, it won’t be set piece battles they will fight a guerrilla war using hit and run tactics,’ stated  the Major with some certainty.

‘It appears to me, that my skills may just be needed after all,’ I remarked. ‘Most definately Doctor, you can bet your life on it!’ replied the Major.

‘How long will it take you to put your house in order and be prepared to sail?’ queried the Major. ‘I would think around a week, I have already informed the Infirmary that I shall be leaving, but not when, I do not foresee it as a problem.’ I replied.

‘You will need uniforms’ he said, as he handed me a business card, ‘Visit this man tomorrow, tell him you want two tropical uniforms and mess dress, just in case some Regiment or other takes pity on you, tell him to send the bill to me c/o the War Office, they will be ready within the week.’

I was surprised at how quickly things were moving, The Major was obviously giving me no time for second thoughts, but he had no cause for concern, my mind was made up.

‘I will leave you to get your house in order, I will contact you again as soon as I have your travelling orders, I imagine it will be quite soon!’ and with those words ringing in my ears, he took his leave and left.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 45

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 45

The first to appear in the dock were Sam Parry and the members of his Armoured Resistance Unit. They all stood to attention in their Sunday best, their chests resplendent with shiny campaign medals, these warriors of Littlehampton. They stood there smartly awaiting the Magistrates verdict.

The Mayor, presiding as Chairman of the Magistrates, coughed to clear his throat, then paused for a moment to let those in the dock realise the severity of their actions.

‘Gentlemen!’ He said, ‘I realise that you misguidedly thought that you were saving our town from an invasion by the Zombies, but this was not the case, however you acted not on your own behalf but to protect your friends and neighbours, and for that I must commend you, but from now on, No more heroics or I will be forced to give you a custodial sentence, Do you understand!’ he raised his voice for effect.

The six hero’s in the dock marched off looking very chastened. Sam Parry walked in to the waiting arms of his wife June, who clipped him round the ears and said, ‘You were lucky, so no more of it you silly old bugger!’

The next to appear were the two school hockey teams, who true to form appeared very pristine in their clean school uniforms. and faces freshly scrubbed.

The Mayor, although suppressing a smile, appeared stern and angry, ‘I am led to understand that one of your younger siblings was assaulted and left injured by the roadside by one of the Zombies. In which case, the further attacks on the Zombies were provoked not by you, but by them, in the said case, you have no charges to answer, you are free to go!’ The girls gave the Mayor three cheers and several blew him kisses, much to his amusement.

Then it was the turn of Maude James and her ladies from the Women’s Institute, who rather than being contrite, appeared carrying placards saying ‘Womans Lib Rules’ and ‘Girl Power’ Not a really great idea, considering the circumstances. The Mayor who was infuriated by this gesture, quickly made his feelings known, ‘Ms James, this is a Magistrates court, not some kind of political forum, If I were you I would take your ladies and placards rapidly out of the building, Before I charge you all with contempt’ Maude and her followers rapidly left the court.

The last to appear was the Nun, Sister Marie – Therese, who was apparently charged with assaulting one of the Zombies causing actual bodily harm. The Mayor, once again clearing his throat said, ‘Have I got this right, The Police are charging the Sister here with actual bodily harm, against a Zombie, Unbelievable!’ ‘Sister’ asked the Mayor, ‘What is your defence, do you have one?’ ‘Sir’ explained the sister, ‘That creature was attacking one of my smaller charges, it was my Christian duty to intervene, I admit I may have been a little heavy handed, I only use what the Lord Provided’ ‘Fair Comment!’ stated the Mayor, ‘All charges dropped!’

And that signalled the end of the Zombie fiasco, but not the end of Littlehampton’s financial problems. The council still had to find a way to bring money or business to the town or they would all go under, both councillors and residents alike. Something must be done and soon.

THE END

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

 

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 19

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Except 19

Conor turned to Michael and said, ‘Its no wonder, they hire us to fight their battles, it seems they have no stomach for a fight’ the fight certainly appeared to be over, when the French sergeant who Conor had floored came to his senses and reached for a fallen pistol that had dropped in the melee, he had no hesitation in pointing it at Conor’s back.

O’Driscoll spotting him, shouted a warning, but he was too late. A pistol boomed, and the Frenchman fell dead. Black Michael stood holding his smoking pistol. Then all hell broke loose. The room was filled with the French sergeants comrades who had returned with reinforcements. Far too many for the four comrades, they grudgingly surrendered.

They were tied up and then the Officer who Michael had punched told them, they would be tried and hung for the killing of his sergeant. Black Michael cursed him in French and told him in no uncertain manner that his comrade had bought about his own demise.

Then Shamus intervened and asked the Officer if he would like to lose his rank and be made to serve alongside his men. Whilst he considered this thought, Shamus said, ‘The boy your sergeant was going to shoot in the back is the youngest son of the Lord Dillon and when he finds out what has happened here, you may not have a regiment, as I’m sure you know Lord Dillon is a favourite of your King Louis.’

The Officer quickly realised he was on shaky ground. ‘What about the man who killed my sergeant, can he be tried?’ ‘Certainly! if you want to end up as a caporal in a penal battalion in the Indies, he was doing what he is employed to do, protecting Conor Dillon, if I were you, I wouldn’t be making any more mistakes, my Lord Dillon is not a very forgiving man!’

‘I am awaiting instructions from my Commanding Officer, until then I can do nothing!’ ‘Under the circumstances, nothing is probably the safest thing you can do, but you could untie us, we are going nowhere.’ stated Shamus.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 111 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 111 )

‘If I may ask, where do you personally stand on this viewpoint?’ I was interested to know. ‘Well!’ said the Major, ‘I like to consider myself an enlightened and progressive Officer, the problem is many of my Seniors still have Crimean War mentalities.’

‘Crimean War mentalities? I’m sorry, I don’t understand?’ I queried. ‘They still think of us as unbeatable, its a fallacy, we were slaughtered piecemeal by the Zulu’s at Isandlwana, and they were savages with little more than spears. I know we eventually beat them but the World Order is changing and we have to change or perish!’ He stated.

‘That is why one of the things I am campaigning for is an Army Medical Corps, where a man of your undoubted experience would be classed as an Officer, purely on your own merit. We want to consolidate the Army Medical Corps, the Army Veterinary Corps and the Army Nurses under one name the Royal Army Medical Corps.’

‘This coming war, may be a help I have a feeling the Boers may yet surprise us!’ ‘Why do you think that?’ I asked, after all I had a vested interest.

‘Since the last Boer War, they have improved their weaponry, which now includes modern artillery and their Senior Officers are familiar with the country and how best to campaign in it. We will just blunder in, and unless we are very lucky, will be slaughtered piecemeal’ He stated candidly.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

 

voss lastLeutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 7

He was to lead one of the two scheduled afternoon patrols. Leutnant Gustav Bellen was his right hand wingman; Leutant Friedich Rudenberg flew on his opposite side. After take-off at 18.05 hrs, Voss in his new Triplane, advanceds its throttle and soon outdistanced his two wingmen flying Pfalz D.III’s.

A few minutes later, Oberleutnant Ernst Weigand in an Albatros D.V led a second flight skywards, three Pfalz D.III’s followed him piloted by Leutnants Erich Lowenhardt, Alois Heldmann and Max Kuhn. None of the Jasta 10 aircraft would catch their Staffelfuhrer.

The dogfight developed over Poelcapelle at about 18.30hrs. The Germans chasing Voss found themselves stalemated by British Sopwith Camels, as well as some Spads and Bristol Fighters patrolling over the overcast. Two flights of the elite 56 Squadron formed a lower layer of British patrols at 18,000ft.

Below then Lt. Harold A. Hamersly, flying as a rear-guard to his squadron mates in 60 squadron, had a wary eye on an enemy formation of 20 to 25 aircraft. At about 18.28hrs he turned to help what he believed was a Nieuport being threatened by a Albatros, firing a short burst of machine gun fire to distract the attacker. The “Nieuport” Voss’s misidentified Fokker Triplane, rounded on Hamersly and raked him with his Spandaus. Hamersly flung his S.E.5a into a spin that went inverted with Voss still continuing to fire raking his wings and engine cowling. Lt. Robert Chidlaw – Roberts, A squadron mate of Hamersly, rushed to his aid, within seconds Voss had shredded his rudder bar, also driving him out of the fray and in to a forced landing.

While they fell away seriously shot up, the remainder of 60 squadron excited the scene, Voss was engaged by ‘B’ flight 56 squadron, in their S.E.5a’s. Capt. James Mc Cudden and his wingmen attacked in pairs from 300 metres above Voss. In a pincer movement, Mc Cudden hooked in to an assault from the right, whilst his wingman Lt. Arthur Rhys -Davids, swooped in from the left. Muspratt trailed them down, while Cronyn bought up the rear. Jeffs and Young held high as top cover in case Voss climbed. He was now boxed in from above and below, with assailants pouncing from either side. To further worsen Voss’s situation there was a further British patrol below him.

To the attacker’s surprise, Voss didn’t try to escape the aerial trap. Instead he flicked his triplane about in a flat spin and fired at his attacker’s in a head on firing pass, holing Mc Cudden’s wings. Voss riddled Cronyn’s S.E.5a from close range, putting him out of the dogfight. Cronyn had to turn in under his attacker and throw his aircraft in to a spin to avoid being killed. His wingmates attacked Voss, while Cronyn also limped for home.

At this time ‘C’ flight arrived, as it dipped down through the overcast toward the dogfight, Gardiner and Taylor went astray. Maybery was attacked by a green Pfalz D.III. Hoidge’s counter attack foiled the German. Bowman and Maybery remained to join the attack on Voss. Hoidge having broken off his pursuit of the Pfalz, changed the drum magazine in his Lewis gun, and climbed to join battle.

Voss in his triplane zigzagged, yawed and bobbed among his enemies, never holding a straight course for more than seconds, evading British fire and spewing bullets at them all. The combat had now become so chaotic that the surviving pilots gave widely differing accounts, however certain events were commonly related.

Muspratt’s engine lost its coolant to a Spandau bullet early on in the combat; he glided away with his engine beginning to seize. At some point a red nosed Albatros attempted to come to Voss’s aid, Rhys – Davids put a bullet through its engine and it dived away.

At another point Voss was caught in a cross fire by at least five of his attacker’s but he appeared unhurt. At about this point Maybery withdrew with his upper right hand longeron holed in several places.

Voss and the six remaining British aces swirled down to 2,000feet. At times Voss had the altitude advantage over his foes, but did not try to escape the fight. Using the triplane’s superior rate of climb and its ability to slip turn, Voss managed to evade his opponents and return to battle. As Bowman noted concerning his only shot at Voss; “To my amazement he kicked on full rudder, without bank, pulled his nose up slightly, gave me a burst while he was skidding sideways and then kicked an opposite rudder before the results of this amazing stunt appeared to have any affect on the controllability of his aircraft” Bowman’s aircraft was left slowed and ineffectively trailing dark smoke and steam, though he stayed in the fight.

Then, after flying past Mc Cudden, in a head-on firing pass, Voss’s triplane was hit by bullets on the starboard side  by Hoidge. Meantime Rhys-Davids had pulled aside to change an ammunition drum, he rejoined combat with a 150metre height advantage over Voss and began a long flat dive on to the tail of Voss’s triplane, at point blank range he holed the German aircraft end to end with his machine guns before turning. It wandered in to his line of flight again, in a gentle westward glide, again ripped the German plane as its engine failed. The aircraft missed a mid-air collision by inches. Voss’s aircraft went into a steep dive, then the engine stalled and it crashed in to the ground.

Voss had fought off the British aces for at least eight minutes, which in some way goes to show his skills as a combat pilot. Voss scored a total of 48 victories had he lived this would no doubt have been much higher. He could have broken away from his last fight but he chose to stay until the bitter end, what higher tribute could you pay a pilot.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

 

 

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 110 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 110 )

I waited several days without a reply, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Then as I had almost given up hope, I had a visitor at the Infirmary. It was an Army Officer, he introduced himself as Major Goodhew and said that he had called to see me with regard to my application to serve.

‘I’ll admit I was surprised to read your application when it landed on my desk, its a rarity to receive an application at all, let alone one with what you appear to be offering, I have only one question for you, Why? he asked.

‘I have reached an impasse in my life, my work, though rewarding has become mundane, I feel I need a newer challenge, and this coming war may just be it.’ I answered honestly.

‘You realise that the pay is poor and the conditions worse, I would be failing in my duty if I did not give you the true facts. With your obvious experience and qualifications, you should be an Officer, but the only rank you will be given is Doctor which carries no weight under current conditions.’ He stated candidly to appraise me of the situation.

‘Rank and station is something that I have never craved, I became a Doctor because since my early teens I felt this to be my calling, Financial gain and status are not as important to me as saving and improving lives!’ I stated honestly, the Major seemed impressed by my answer.

‘You will be facing a very difficult task, the majority of Senior Officers will view you as a necessary evil, nothing more, its not about the lives that you might save, its more that you are not one of them, not real Army! he attempted to explain.

(C) Damian Grange 2018