Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 134 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 134 )

  ‘I suppose I had better report to him and present my orders, for what its worth!’ I stated. ‘Yes, it won’t do to keep him waiting, or he’ll have you there under armed escort, and I’m not joking.’ replied Arthur. And so I took my leave temporarily and sought out the Commandant.

I left the make shift hospital and went in search of Headquarters, I stopped a soldier and asked for directions, ‘Follow me, Sir, and I’ll take you there, are you the new Doctor? if you are you’ll rue the day you ever came here!’

‘Why do you say that, soldier?’ I questioned his remark. ‘I am a professional soldier, I fought the Boers on the field of battle and I dare say I’ve killed a few, but this is different, I’ve got a Missus and kids back home, I’d hate to think they was being treated this way.’

‘I’m new here, so I don’t completely understand your meaning?’ I said. ‘I didn’t come to Africa to starve Women and children to death, that’s what I mean, but we’re just jailers, we don’t have no say in the matter.’ he replied sadly.

We stopped outside a brick building, ‘That’s Headquarters, Sir, best of luck,’ he said. I rapped on the door, a voice bellowed ‘Enter’ it was an Orderly Sergeant, ‘Can I help you, sir,’ he asked. ‘I am here to report and present my orders to the Commandant, I am the new Doctor!’ He knocked on an inner door and entered, returning almost immediately, ‘The Commandant will see you now Sir come through!’

(C) Damian Grange 2019

 

Air Aces of World War One

Order pour le Merite – ” The Blue Max”

Blue_Max
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold – Germany’s Iron Knight 1891 /1920 Pt.5

  On the 27th of August 1916, Berthold received the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. Berthold was also very near to receiving the Prussian Pour le Merite for 12th of October 1916 a total of eight victories. After disallowed claims on two occasions, on the 26th of September 1916 he was finally credited with his eighth victory. He received his Blue Max, considered Imperial Germany’s supreme award for valor on the 12th of October 1916. His was only the tenth award for aviators. Five of the other living recipients attended the 16th of October celebration of the award, Including Buddecke, von Althaus, Hohndorf, Frankl and Kurt Wintgens. The following day, Berthold was assigned as Staffelfuhrer of Jagdstaffel 14.

Jagdstaffel 14 was newly formed when Berthold took command at Sarrebourg, France. It’s motley assortment of fighters included two Fokker EIII’s, an Halberstadt D.II and seven Fokker D.II’s. It had had no success when it was still the ad hoc Fokker Kampfstaffel Falkenhausen. Berthold took full advantage of being in a quiet sector, and trained his troops hard. He bought in new Albatros D.I and Albatros D.II replacement fighter aircraft, and renovated the Officers mess. In Mid – December following the unit’s first victory, they were inspected by Kaiser Wilhelm II and Crown Prince Wilhelm.

In January 1917, Berthold and his squadron were subordinated to Armee Abteilung A. Anticipating the need for future air protection, Berthold made an unheeded plea for massing air power into larger units, and supported his proposal with detailed professional analysis. In February Jagdstaffdel 14 scored only two victories. However, it was slated to more active duty in Laon, and began to re-arm with Albatros D.III fighters. Berthold flew to Laon only to find that there were no quarters for his men. He was adamant that he would not move his squadron until quarters were provided. In Mid-March a convoy of trucks hauled the squadron 200metres ( 124 miles ) to Marchais, France. they began operations on the 17th of March.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 133 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 133 )

  ‘Another one of the Generals’ wonderful ideas, run all the Boer family’s off their land and place them in camps like this, but as I am sure you appreciate, close proximity loves disease and this place is like a powder keg, waiting to explode!’

‘I worked for twelve years in Whitechapel, in the East End of London, it was a similar situation, overcrowding, poor sanitation. An area just begging for an outbreak of typhoid or cholera. I fought hard to educate the authorities of the danger, but it took a cholera epidemic to make them listen. The situation has improved slightly but it still has a long way to go.’ I stated sadly.

Ah! so you are that Jack, I couldn’t have wished for a better partner, I know full well your aims will agree with mine.’ replied a smiling Arthur. ‘And those aims are?’ I questioned, I wanted to know what I was letting myself in for.

‘To improve the conditions in this camp, to stop women and particularly children dying of malnutrition. The stock answer is always that the food deliveries keep getting ambushed by the Boers, why would they want to starve their own wives and children? look around you, do the Officers and soldiers appear malnourished?’ was his reply.

‘So, what you are implying is that the Commandant is happily pursuing a course of Genocide against the inmates, that is unbelievable?’ I stated in disbelief.

‘I agree, it sticks in my craw, that an Officer in the same Army as I am, would behave in such a way towards unarmed prisoners, the majority of whom are non-combatants,’ stated Arthur angrily.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 10

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 10

  The priest led me to what I assumed was his vestry. There were five men already in attendance within. They were introduced to me in what I presumed was their standing in the local community. The first was the Mayor, who looked totally unprepared for this meeting, he seemed to be totally bewildered by the proceedings.

The second was the Lieutenant commanding the local militia, who were there it seemed to keep order, but no reason was offered, why? The third was more interesting to me, another priest but by his looks, a zealot, He had that look, more warrior than priest. I was usually a good judge of character. I liked this man on sight. I had the feeling that you could rely on him, come what may?

The third man introduced himself, ‘I am Doctor Friedrich Eisner of the Vienna University, I am a protégé of the renowned Van Helsing!’ which I thought was all well and good, but I still had no clue where all this was leading. Or for that matter who the hell Van Helsing was?

The final member of the quintet was introduced to me as Bruno, the local blacksmith and the strongest man in the area. I could believe that, he was tall about 5.10 with a barrel chest and muscular arms and legs, he was bald and bullet headed, but he looked a formidable character. Unfortunately I disliked him on sight, I knew the type, he would resent taking orders from a relative stranger, he would bear watching.

I looked around the room, taking in the assemble group, than shaking my head in consternation said,’ OK! I know who you are! Why am I here? and more to the point, what do you want from me, there must be something?

(C)Damian Grange 2019

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 28

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 28

  ‘A small unit of trained men could fire two or three volleys followed by a charge, which would knock a hole in most lines that could be used to gain maximum advantage over the English or their Allies.’ stated Conor decisively.

After this explanation, Conor started to train his seven men, he studied them for a moment, then he realised why they were struggling? ‘All of you, take off your coats and stocks, That will make loading and firing a little easier? You’ll feel more relaxed.’

The men complied with his request and the training seemed to go a little better, Shamus was reprimanding one of his trainees for not holding his musket properly. Conor intervened, ‘If you want to become a useful member of this unit, this is what I expect from you, hand me your musket.’ The recruit handed Conor his musket, Conor hefted it to his shoulder, sighted and fired at the target which he hit slightly off centre, if the target had been a man it was a kill shot.

‘That is what I expect from each and everyone of you by tomorrow afternoon, or you will be replaced by someone who can, we carry no one, do you understand?’ stated Conor, the recruit agreed reluctantly, he didn’t understand the urgency of the training.

Conor wandered around, checking the progress of the various groups, one man stood out, he was loading quickly and efficiently, His shots were all placed accurately on the target and for the most part they were kill shots.

Conor asked him for his name, ‘I’m Sheridan, Sir’ was his reply. ‘And where did you learn to load and fire like that?’ asked Conor, for Sheridan had piqued his interest. ‘I served in the English 18th Foot, The Royal Irish Regt. I was a private soldier.

‘So you are a deserter and a turncoat, how can I trust you if we are going to fight the English, would you desert me and join them?’ questioned Conor angrily.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 132 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 132 )

  When we arrived at Concentration Camp No.1, The Sergeant in charge of the Mail wagon, the one I had conversed with most during the journey, suggested that before I reported to the Camp Commandant I might like to meet the Doctor in residence who it appeared was something of a  celebrity.

The Sergeant led me to one of the few brick buildings, the majority of the refugees / prisoners were living under canvas in an assortment of tents. I was led through what I assumed was the ward, to the Doctors office at the rear. The Sergeant knocked and entered, ‘I’ve bought your new colleague to meet you, so you can explain to him personally what a shithole he’s ended up in.’

The man behind the desk stood up and smiled, ‘Ignore the Sergeant, he loves it here really!’ I couldn’t place his accent, there was a trace of Scots but also the soft spoken tones of the Irish, I found it most perplexing.

‘Arthur Conan Doyle at your service, Doctor, may I say it is a great pleasure to have you here, it will be nice to have an ally in my struggles with authority, without putting too fine a point on it, The Commandant here is a callous swine who would like to see all of his inmates dead. We are his conscience, he despises me and he will you too for the same reason, we are devoted to saving lives.’

‘I’m delighted to meet you, Arthur, I’m Jack, and I volunteered to save lives, not play at politics, what is the real problem here?’

(C) Damian Grange 2019

 

Air Aces of World War One

Berthold and his Squadron Comrades

rudolf-berthold
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

 Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold – Germany’s Iron Knight 1891 /1920 Pt4

  On the 25th of April 1916, Berthold made an emergency landing after enemy bullets crippled his Fokker’s engine. He took off again in a Pfalz EIV. He re-awakened two days later in Kriegslazaret 7 ( Military hospital 7 ) in Saint Quentin. Besides a badly broken left leg, Berthold had suffered a broken nose and upper jaw, with attendant damage to his optic nerves, he was prescribed narcotic painkillers for chronic pain. At that time, the German Military Doctors used three narcotics as painkillers – Opium, Morphine and Codeine. Doctors prescribed Cocaine to counteract the somnolence of these three depressant drugs. Berthold’s exact prescription is unknown.

Eventually, although Berthold’s eyesight returned, he was unable to fly for four months, but nevertheless retained command of KEK Vaux. Between the message traffic bought to him, and the accounts of visiting subordinates, he learned of ongoing casualties. His brother Wolfram, who was serving in the Infantry had been killed on the 29th of April . Max Immelmann perished in battle on the 18th of June. Following Immelmann’s demise, Oswald Boelcke, Germany’s highest scoring Ace was grounded for fear that if he were lost, it would be a disaster for German morale. Berthold was scheduled to be evacuated back to Germany. Instead in late July, he commandeered a car and returned to his unit. He may be unable to fly, but he could still command, He made his orderly help him bend his knee and flex strength back in to his withered leg.

On the 24th of august 1916, Berthold scored his sixth victory, even though he had to be helped in to his aircraft. The following day, KEK Vaux became Jagdstaffel 4 ( Fighter Squadron 4 ) under Berthold’s command. The new unit started with a starred rosta, Wilhelm Frankl, Walter Hohndorf and Ernst Freiherr von Althaus were early members all destined to become prominent Aces.

(C) Damian Grange 201

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 131 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 131 )

  ‘Thank you, Gentleman, could I have two more volunteers,’ I asked, two more troopers came to the front of the class. ‘An arm in a sling, if you please,’ once again the manoeuvre was performed perfectly. ‘Thank you, Doctor,’ said the Colonel, ‘ It is obvious that you are putting my men to good use.’

After the initial week, I doubled the amount of men that I was training, as it seemed to be a feasible prospect. The weeks flew by and before I knew it we were docking at Capetown. I had rather hoped that I might be allowed to remain with the Yeomanry, as I had made many friends amongst their ranks, both Officers and men.

But alas it was not to be, when after disembarking at Capetown, I reported to Army Headquarters for my assignment. I was told I was being sent to Concentration Camp No.1 which was apparently near to a place called Bloemfontein. I was to travel there in the morning aboard the Mail coach.

I made a few enquiries and found that it was supposedly a refugee camp for displaced Boer Family’s, for the most part, women and children with the odd male. The conditions I was told were appalling, with many of the children sick or dying.

There was already a volunteer Doctor in residence, I was to join and assist him in every way possible. From what I could glean from the men on the Mail wagon, it was a terrible place. The Major in charge was a martinet with an implacable hatred of the Boers. He had apparently lost men in a Boer ambush, so now he was reduced to glorified jailer.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 9

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 9

  ‘Not if you are prepared to give us information on your movements for the last 24 hours, we have our reasons for these questions?’ he answered solemnly.

‘During the daylight hours, I was riding with a view to being in the town before nightfall, but not being too familiar with the area, I lost my way,’ I stated openly, for I had nothing to hide, ‘When darkness started to fall, I was close to the castle, so I stayed there overnight and came on here today.’

‘Do you know about the castle, it, is a place of evil’ He stated with conviction. ‘With all due respect, Father it is just a derelict castle, nothing more, nothing less,’ I gave my opinion with as much courage as I could muster, I don’t know why, but I had the feeling that I had made a grave error of judgement.

The atmosphere of antagonism, that seemed to be centred on me when I had first entered the church, seemed now to have changed to one of optimism. I had the terrible feeling that I had unwittingly volunteered for some sort of dangerous mission. And I had not the first inkling of what it might be.

The priest said some sort of benediction, then told the assembled towns-people that the meeting was over, and that the problem was now in the hands of the almighty, whatever that meant. As the multitude started to leave the building, the Father asked me to stay, he had a favour to ask me.

Here it comes, I thought to myself, how many dragons do I have to slay before they will let me leave here. Symbolically speaking of course, I’d better check my weapons.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 27

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 27

  Conor delegated the selection of the remainder of his men to Shamus and Black Michael, he had other things to hand. He knew what could be achieved with a small unit of reliable men, He knew it would not be easy, but he would shape them into the unit that he dreamt of.

Conor, whilst undergoing training with Shamus and Black Michael, had at night gone in to his Father’s library and studied the many military journals therein. He had learnt of many things, mainly of strategy and tactics, but one thing had stuck in his brain, a small well-trained unit used wisely would always beat a run of the mill unit of whatever army.

And it was to that end that he was training his men, his intention was that they would be the elite company of the Regiment Dillon and possibly The Irish brigade. It would take a lot of sweat and probably more than a little blood, but Conor believed it was achievable and he would work to that end.

The following day, Conor had his volunteers in line with their muskets, He asked how many of them were marksmen, they looked back at him bemused. The Irish soldiery of this period had a tendency to use their muskets as clubs rather than for their proper purpose.

‘From now on,’ announced Conor, ‘You will become proficient in the use and maintenance of your weapons, you will be given two days. Any man who can not fire two rounds a minute and hit a target on both occasions, will forfeit his place in this unit’

‘I, myself will take seven of you, as will Black Michael, Shamus will take six and the remainder will go with O’Driscoll. Our enemy the English beat us only in one regard, they have the firepower, they fire volley after volley which breaks men’s spirits and causes them to falter, I want to turn their own strength against them!’

(C) Damian Grange 2019