Tuesday began quietly, but once again we were inundated with prospective patients. I made the decision to open for consultations the following day, and run my first free clinic on Thursday afternoon.
I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to the populace of Whitechapel for placing their trust in my skills as a physician. I feel truly humbled.
I have a distinct feeling that tomorrow will be a day for people, not so much seeking treatment, but seeing how the surgery runs. I am afraid that anyone seeking placebo’s will get short shrift from me as a Doctor. My time is for real illness, not that of people with too much time on their hands.
Of course, I will handle them tactfully, but will leave them in no doubt of my feelings. My sick patients are the one’s that I want to treat. the ones that I can possibly help to achieve a better, more rewarding life.
I look forwards to my free surgery, when I served at the Infirmary, I was able to make so many improvements for the working poor and their families. In this area there are so many occupational complaints that once discovered are curable. Or if not curable, certainly improved with my medications. I will do anything to make the lives of the poor more bearable.
Oberleutnant Ernst Udet – German Ace 1896 / 1941 Pt. 6
At the same time, Richtofen treated his pilots with every consideration and when it came to requisitioning supplies he traded favours for autographed photographs of himself that read, “Dedicated to my esteemed fighting companion” Udet remarked that because of the photographs, ” sausage and ham never ran out.” One night the squadron invited a captured English flyer for dinner, treating him as a guest. When he excused himself to go to the bathroom, the German’s secretly watched to see if he would try to escape. On his return the Englishman remarked, “I would never forgive myself for disappointing such hosts.” He did however escape from another squadron, maybe the food wasn’t as good.
Richtofen was shot down in France in 1918. At the time Udet was not at the front as he had been sent on leave due to a severe ear infection which he had avoided having treated as long as he could. Udet said about Richtofen, “He was the least complicated man I ever knew. Entirely Prussian and the greatest of soldiers.” Before returning to JG.1 and remaining there against Doctor’s advice until the end of the war, commanding Jasta 4. While on leave, Udet had re-acquainted himself with his childhood sweetheart Eleanor “Lo” Zink, notified that he was about to receive the Pour Le Merite, He had one made up in advance to impress her. M0st of the aircraft that he flew had the “LO” painted on the sides of the fuselage, also on his Fokker D.VII tailplane was the message, ” Du Doch Nicht” ( Definately not you ). Udet scored 20 victories in August 1918 alone. He became a national hero with a score of 62 victories, second only to Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron, his friend and leader.
I thought that we might be in for a busy day, but busy was no way to describe it, I think that hectic would better serve. Jenny was a tower of strength, she averted many a crisis with a helping hand and a re-assuring smile.
And there is no doubt in my mind that we would not have survived the day without the help of Mrs McGinty’s constant supply of tea and assorted cakes and biscuits to complement it. She proved herself a treasure once again.
I had to send some prospective patients away and ask them to return the following day. To say that we had been overwhelmed was an understatement. I found it unbelievable the amount of patients we had processed in those few short hours.
When you consider that only yesterday I was worried that I might not make a profitable concern out of my surgery. And today I was seriously considering the possibility of hiring another Doctor to assist with my caseload. It is amazing the difference a day can make. I know now that I was right in pursuing my idea regarding a surgery at my home.
Jenny had proved herself invaluable during the day, whatever came her way she handled competently. I had definitely chosen the right applicant in her case, and our system worked perfectly, it was ease itself to use.
‘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?
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.
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.
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest Oberleutnant 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.
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.
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.
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.