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


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 149 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 149 )

  At last the day has come, I am boarding the vessel that will deliver me safely back to England. This is not a Troop Carrier, but a regular liner. My journey will be a pleasant break, I will be mixing with civilians not the Military.

This time thankfully, I have a cabin to myself, it is not the height of luxury, but after my quarters a Bloemfontein it certainly seemed that way.

Everything is all very civilised, just like being on a cruise. I feel quite spoilt, I could get to enjoy this kind of life. After the very basic rations at the Camp the food was a delight I feel sure that I will soon regain any weight I lost whilst there.

I am content to return home to England. I consider I have done my duty both to my Military Masters and more importantly to my patients. One thing was certain after the tour of Inspection by Miss Hobhouse and the improvements that she insisted upon and the medicines that she bought with her, all helped to lower the death toll at the camp.

Would that there were more people like her, people with that spirit of charity and humanity toward their fellow man or woman, as the case may be. I do not consider I have done enough to earn my redemption, but pray that the work I have done might be considered in my favour, after all I volunteered and did so willingly.

I do appreciate that up till now, my life has not been totally blameless, but I am trying my hardest to redress that situation. A fact that should be self – evident. Never having sought redemption before, I have no inkling of how long or short a process it can be. Can it be regained in a moment or will it take a lifetime of good works.

(C) Damian Grange 2019



Air Aces Of World War One

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Leutnant Walter Gottsch _ German Ace 1896 / 1918

  Walter Gottsch was born in Altour, Germany on the 10th of June 1896. He volunteered for the German Army on The 1st of July 1915. He was originally assigned to FA33 to fly artillery co-operation missions in Flanders with the rank of Vizefelwebel. After receiving Training as a fighter pilot, Gottsch was assigned to Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 8 on the 10th of September 1916.

On the 4th of November 1916, he destroyed an observation balloon for his first victory. Because of wounds he received to achieve this victory, he would not score again until the 6th of April 1917. By the 5th of May 1917, his victory tally stood at 12.

He was once again shot down, this time probably by the observer of Harry G.E. Luchford’s Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b on the 29th of June. By the 16th of September he had upped his total to 17, downing a Sopwith Camel that day. On the 25th of September he fell under the guns of a Bristol F2b Fighter, wounded once again in the combat that saw Rudolf Wendelmuth’s downing.

Gottsch returned to duty but had no luck, being wounded for the fourth time on the 25th of November 1917. He would not return to action until January 1918. On the 14th of February 1918 he was given command of Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 19.

The newly promoted Staffelfuhrer would score only two more victories, with back to back triumphs on the 31st of March and the 1st of April. Gottsch was killed in action on the 10th of April 1918 over Gentilles, apparently by return fire from the observer of an R.E.8 ( his final victim ), although German accounts say he was also hit by ground fire. His Fokker DR.1 Triplane marked with a swastika fell behind British lines and was salvaged.

Walter Gottsch’s 20 victories included 7 from No.20 Squadron R.A.F. During his service he was awarded the Iron Cross, second and first class, and the Knights Cross with swords of the House of Hohenzollern on the 23rd of August 1917. Had he survived he would have no doubt been awarded the  Order le pour de Merite ( the Blue Max ) as he had certainly scored enough victories to qualify for this award.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 148 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 148 )

  It has been a fortnight since my two young replacements arrived, fortunately they have learned quickly and to my mind are about ready to take over my duties here. Then I will feel free to return to England on the first available transport.

I will contact the Transport Authorities in Capetown to see when it is convenient for me to return home. Good news, there is apparently a transport leaving for England at the end of next week. That allows me time to wind up here and get to Capetown in time to board her.

We had an unusual incident at the Camp this week, A troop of Boer Bitter Enders rode in to give themselves up. They were hard bitter men, they may have looked gaunt and malnourished but look beyond that and you could see that they were rawhide tough with a touch of the zealot about them.

I offered to examine them, an offer they accepted grudgingly, several of them had obviously been suffering from malaria and various other tropical maladies. I treated them like any other of my patients but although they were my enemy, I could not help but admire the courage and tenacity of these men.

I wanted to cure them, but more than  that, I wanted them to ride free on the veldt and once more be a part of the community, like they were before the British came. This may sound a little like treason, but I admired the Boers and their stoicism, even in defeat they were still hard men.

Since Miss Hobhouse visited, things here have changed drastically. Some of the Boers are now living as family units. As soon as they are released, they will return to their farms and their homesteads and life will resume just as it was until it was interrupted by war.

(C) Damian Grange 2018