Air Aces of World War One

paul baumer
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Leutnant Paul Wilhelm Baumer – German Ace 1896 / 1927

  Baumer was born on the 11th of May 1896 in Duisburg, Germany. Prior to World War One he worked as a dental assistant, and earned a private pilot’s license by the summer of 1914.

At the outbreak of war, he joined the 70th Infantry Regiment. He served in both France and Russia, being wounded in the arm in the latter. He then transferred to the Air Service as a dental assistant before being accepted for pilot training.

By October 1916, he was serving as a ferry pilot and instructor at Armee Flugpark 1, on the 19th of February 1917 he was promoted to Gefreiter. On the 26th of March he was assigned to Flieger Abteilung 7; He was promoted to Unterofficier on the 29th.

On the 15th of May 1917, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. He subsequently received training on single-seaters, in consequence being posted to fighter duty. Baumer joined Jagdstaffelon the 30th of June 1917, scoring three victories as a balloon-buster in mid- July before being transferred to the elite Jasta Boelcke.

Baumer claimed heavily, reaching 18 victories by the end of the year. He was commissioned Leutnant in April 1918. On the 29th of May, Baumer was injured in a crash, breaking his jaw and he returned to the Jasta in September.

With the arrival of the new Fokker D.VII he claimed even more success, including 16 victories in September. Nicknamed Eiserner Adler (Iron Eagle) he flew with a personal emblem of the edelweiss on his aircraft.

He was one of the few pilots in World War One whose lives were saved by parachute deployment, when he was shot down in flames in September 1918. He was awarded the Pour Le Merite, just before the Armistice and was finally credited with 43 kills making him the sixth ranking German Ace.

Baumer died in an Air crash at Copenhagen on the 15th of July 1927, age 31 whilst test flying a new fighter aircraft.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 123 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 123 )

  ‘If you’ll take my advice, Jack, run it by the Adjutant first, the Colonel is the head of the Regiment, but the Adjutant runs it day to day, get him on your side and its a done deal’ explained Jimmy.

‘When will it be convenient to see your Adjutant?’ I asked. ‘I can take you to see him now’ said Jimmy, ‘We have to see him anyway, to get the ok for you to be a guest in our Mess Room.’

We vacated our cabin and climbed the stairway to the upper deck, where apparently the Senior Officers had their quarters, as we strolled along the deck, Jimmy halted and said, ‘I believe this is the one?’ He knocked on the door and a voice from within called for us to enter.

We entered, Jimmy leading, to where an Officer sat behind a desk sifting through papers. ‘Major Beaumont, this is Doctor Jack of the Medical Corps, he has a proposition he would like to put to you’ Jimmy kindly introduced me and sponsored me too.

‘I’m pleased to meet you Doctor, Major is the formal title, off duty you may call me Harry, but I’m afraid our Colonel is a one for formalities, now lets hear your proposal’

‘Well the thing is, we are all going to be stuck on this ship for several weeks, and as I am sure you are aware, trained Doctors are in very short supply, what I am proposing is that I teach your men rudimentary medical skills. Nothing too technical, but enough to prolong a wounded comrades life until proper attention arrives. I was thinking in groups of ten at a time or thereabouts, give them something to think about,’ I stated my case.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 5

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 5

  I was just drifting off, when I heard something, was I , knowing the Castle’s history imagining things. Or had I truly heard something. I sat up stealthily and reached for my rifle which lay beside me. I was taking no chances.

I had been made aware that there were brigands and gypsies residing in the area, a lone traveller would be taken by either as easy pickings. I listened intently for several minutes, but not another sound was to be heard. I decided that maybe I had imagined it, or that maybe it was just the wind blowing through a hole in the ceiling.

The following morning, I awoke refreshed and after breakfast decided to continue down the valley into the town itself. I had no notion of the welcome that would be waiting for me there.

After I had fed and watered my horse, I mounted up and headed in the direction of Karlstadt. I was looking forward to staying there and relaxing for a few days, The way my friendly nun had described it, it seemed ideal.

If I had known the welcome that was awaiting me, I think I would have rapidly rode in the opposite direction, in hindsight naturally. As I passed through one of the outlying villages, I sensed an air of tension about the place. Maybe I should have heeded the warning signs.

I was a stranger, mounted on a good horse, armed with several weapons, all of which to these people were of modern manufacture. I think they obviously took me for a military man. As a soldier, I was used to being viewed by peasants in this way. Instinctual fear, I suppose you would call it.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 122 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 122 )

  I studied my companion, he was tall, reasonably well built and with an air of authority about him. In his mid-twenties I would have guessed. He seemed like he would be a good Officer, My first impressions were, I rather liked him.

‘Have you made any arrangements regarding your meals?’ Queried Jimmy. ‘ To be totally honest, I never gave them a thought, It’s my first time at this kind of thing’ I replied in all honesty. ‘I’ll have a word with our Adjutant, as an Officer, you really should be dining in an Officer’s Mess, we can’t have you eating with the other ranks,’ he said.

‘That’s awfully good of you, I don’t wish to inconvenience anyone’ I stated. ‘It’s just Army, Officers and other ranks, we can fight together, we can die together but we definitely can’t eat together, I agree it’s totally ludicrous’ he said light -heartedly.

‘What is your Commanding Officer like? I inquired. ‘Our Colonel, the honourable James Ponsonby – Smyth is descended from a long line of English warriors, which be the way he will never let you forget. Wherever we English have fought, there has been a Ponsonby – Smyth leading them, or so he insists, often! was his slightly sarcastic reply.

‘I’ve been warned about Senior Officers with Crimean War mentality, is he one of that type? I asked. ‘ I’ve no doubts a Ponsonby – Smyth fought there, but no he’s not totally inflexible, why do you ask? ‘ I wondered if he would let me teach your soldiers basic first aid, on the battlefield it could save lives. As we are all travelling in idleness, I hoped to put the time to good use.’

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One

The von Richtofen Brothers – Manfred and Lothar

The richtofens
Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest

Oberleutnant Lothar Seigfried Freiherr von Richtofen – German Ace 1894 / 1922

  During the first week of May 1917, Richtofen scored three more victories. On the evening of the 7th of May 1917, Richtofen was leading a flight of five Albatros Dlll’s near Douai when they encountered eleven S.E.5’s of the “elite” No.56 Squadron R.F.C. Including the top English Ace at the time, Captain Albert Ball, as well as a Spad S.VII from No.19 Squadron and a Sopwith Triplane of No.8 Naval Squadron.

In a running battle in deteriorating visibility in the middle of a thunderstorm over Bourton Wood, both sides became scattered. Richtofen engaged in single combat with the British Triplane. At about the same time, Ball was seen by fellow 56 Sqn member Cyril Crowe chasing a red Albatros in to a thundercloud. Ball lost control of his plane and crashed in to the ground which resulted in his death. Although forced to land his damaged aircraft, Richtofen suffered no injuries. The Sopwith Triplane Involved in the action returned to his base undamaged.

Richtofen posted a claim for shooting down the Sopwith Triplane. However the propaganda value of Ball’s death at the hands of a German pilot was obvious and so the German High Command awarded the victory over Ball to Richtofen. The fallacy of the award was readily apparent. The idea that a pilot of Richtofen’s experience could confuse a biplane with a triplane was ludicrous. Leutnant Hailer, a German pilot on the ground who witnessed the crash and was one of the first on the crash scene, saw no battle damage to Ball’s aircraft. The Doctor who autopsied Ball’s body reported massive injuries due to the crash, but no bullet wounds. Nevertheless, the German official line was that Richtofen shot down Ball.

Richtofen raised his total to 24 on the 13th of May, when after shooting down a B.E.2, he was wounded in the hip by anti-aircraft fire and crash landed, his injuries kept him out of combat for five months. On the 14th of May he was awarded the Pour le Merite, and he resumed command of Jasta 11 in September 1917. In early 1918, he suffered a severe ear infection and was hospitalised in Berlin.

Returning to his unit in February 1918, He claimed 3 Bristol Fighter F2b’s on the 11th and 12th of March before he was again forced down by a Sopwith Camel flown by Captain Augustus Orlebar of No.73 Squadron. Whilst nursing his crippled Fokker Dr1 into a landing, Richtofen clipped a high tension wire and crashed heavily, suffering serious head injuries it was while recovering from these injuries that he heard of his elder brothers death.

Lothar returned to service with Jasta 11 in July 1918, he scored his final victory a D.H.9a on the 12th of August 1918 flying a Fokker D.VII. The next day he was again wounded in action against Sopwith Camels, probably by Captain Field E. Kindley of the 148th Aero Squadron U.S.A.S. Lothar was promoted to Oberleutnant and saw no further action during the war.

If you consider the amount of time spent on the front and in hospitals, he was one of the most combat efficient and prolific flying Aces of the war, perhaps even more so than his brother Manfred. Of his final score of 40 victories, Lothar scored 33 in just three months, 15 in April 1917, 8 in May 1917 and 10 in August 1918.

Lothar von Richtofen died in a flying accident at Hamburg in 1922, when the plane he was flying crashed due to engine failure.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 121 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 121 )

  The following morning, after a hearty breakfast, I asked Mc Ginty to summon me a cab, we had already carried my steamer trunk downstairs, so I was all ready to go. Mrs Mc Ginty wished me something of a tearful farewell, her husband shook my hand and wished me a safe voyage. Then the cab arrived, my trunk was loaded and away we went.

Giles asked me, ‘Was I having second thoughts about this adventure that I was about to embark upon?’ ‘Only in respect of the fact that I have absolutely no idea where the Army will send me, but I’m sure I’ll survive, I have so far.’

My trunk had been taken aboard, and they were calling for the passengers to embark. I shook hands with Giles, then we hugged each other, ‘Go with god! he said, giving me his blessing. I thanked him, then turned to walk up the gangplank.

Once I was safely boarded, one of the ship’s Officers asked for my name and details, once he had them he said, ‘Aah! Yes, Doctor, I’m afraid you’ll be sharing with Lieutenant Updike of the Yeomanry, Cabin 112B.’

I located the cabin and knocked on the door, It was opened by a tall young man wearing a Yeomanry uniform. ‘Apparently, we are to share this cabin, I’m Doctor Jack, but Jack will do fine, I’m not one for formalities.’ I stated.

‘That’ll do for me, I’m James Updike, but Jimmy will be fine, If we are going to be stuck together in this tub, we might as well try to get along’ was his reply.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 120 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 120 )

  And to complete the meal, Mrs Mc Ginty once again excelled herself, by presenting my guests and myself with a winter fruit pudding topped with Chantilly crème, a veritable delight to the taste buds in every sense.

After everyone had eaten their fill and Mrs Mc Ginty had cleared the table to the hurrahs of my friends. Lizzie said, ‘ If you gentleman wish to have your port and cigars and male conversation, I will happily retire to the kitchen and attempt to pick Mrs Mc Ginty’s brains?’

‘I wouldn’t hear of it, Lizzie.’ I stated, ‘ You are a friend. and as such, you are more than welcome to stay and join us for a drink!’

We drank and conversed until late in to the night, Mainly about what my position might be, once I arrived in South Africa. I explained to them that I had little or no inclination, it was up to the caprices of my masters in the War Office.

I was looking forwards to it with a certain amount of trepidation, if I had just one inclination of my final destination, this might have turned to dread, but this all came later.

Fred and Lizzie Abberline said their goodnights and goodbyes, I can in all honesty say that I have never had a finer more supportive pair of friends. Fred shook hands and hugged me and wished me well. Lizzie hugged me, kissed me on both cheeks and then burst out crying. But then, this was a very emotional parting, none of us knew if we would ever meet again.

After the Abberline’s had left, Giles stated, ‘ I liked your friends, they are good people, you are lucky to have made friends like them!’ ‘ Believe me, brother, I am well aware of that fact!’ we retired to our separate rooms. Giles was coming to the docks with me to see me off, Fred wanted to come too, but his duties wouldn’t allow it.

 (C) Damian Grange 2018



The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 4

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 4

  With the demise of the Karlstadt’s the town grew and prospered. The inquiry in to the rebellion against the Karlstadt’s was handled with discretion, and as no one was left to plead on behalf of the Karlstadt’s, they were presumed guilty as charged and the town and surrounding areas considered themselves well rid of them.

Ten years passed and much to the dismay of the population, another young woman went missing from one of the out – lying villages. The people in power sought for excuses, Maybe she had run away, or been kidnapped by the gypsies, who proliferated in the area. Anything but admit, that once again they may have a Vampire in their midst. That was a thought too horrific to even contemplate.

It was just about this time, that I travelling on horseback, arrived at the ruins of Karlstadt Castle. I use the term ruins loosely, for despite the enraged attempts of the populace, the castle still stood, stark and foreboding.

The main gate was knocked off its hinges and somewhat charred by fire, as were some of the interior rooms, a few of the ceiling beams were also fire damaged. On viewing the castle with a soldier’s eye, I considered it was still a good defensible position, despite the amount of damage.

Being pragmatic and not a teenage siren, I decided to bed down for the night within the castle itself. It might not be the most hospitable place, but it offered shelter and warmth, or would once I had built a small fire.

I suppose that being a military man I had little need of home comforts and cared even less for superstition local or otherwise and so I rested my head on my saddle and settled down for what I hoped would be a good nights sleep.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 23

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 23

  Once we were dismounted and grooms had taken charge of our horses. My Father ushered me to his Headquarters, there I was to meet my relatives. or at least the ones residing in the camp.

As we entered the marquee, he bade the Officers present to introduce themselves, the first to come forward introduced himself as Edward Dillon, the eldest son and heir to my Father, then came his son, Sweeney, older than me but now apparently my nephew and so it went around the marquee. Some welcomed me, others seemed totally disinterested. But then I could imagine how they felt, I was the usurper in their midst.

Edward Dillon asked my Father, ‘What had he in mind for me, or more importantly, what was to be my position in the Regiment?’ My Father said, ‘He arrived with three men, make that up to thirty and see how he fares?’

Of course, the word passed around the various companies of the Regiment and all the misfits and malcontents were sent to join Conor’s unit. Fortunately his father had given Conor carte blanche to select only the men he wanted and reject the rest. The men who presented themselves were inspected by Conor and Black Michael.

The first man, although a big soldierly looking man stood slouching with his arms folded, ‘Stand at attention’ shouted Black Michael. I’ll not stand to attention for a bastard, Dillon or not!’ stated the soldier, whose name was Flaherty.

Naturally this was the signal to get the other ‘volunteers’ stirred up, it was easy to bad-mouth a boy, especially a stranger. Conor walked up to Flaherty and speaking quietly said, ‘Yes! I am a bastard, and you are going to be the first to find out how big a bastard I am, so choose your weapon and choose carefully, for I intend to kill you!’

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 119 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 119 )

  ‘We, that is the Police involved and myself, do have a file of possible suspects, including I might add, a member of the Royal Family. We are slowly and painstakingly attempting to build a case, but as you can probably imagine there are so many factors involved, It’s not a job that can be rushed,’ Replied Fred cautiously.

‘I had no idea you were that close?’ I smiled, ‘It’s a good job, I’m skipping the country!’ At that remark, we all laughed, but I could sense Fred studying me, maybe I’d said too much.

Fortunately I was saved by the entrance of Mrs Mc Ginty with the first course, which was a tureen of piping hot mulligatawny soup, which smelt quite enticing, served with hot rolls and butter. Mrs Mc Ginty served all the company then retired to the kitchen.

Lizzie rhapsodised over the soup stating, ‘That she had never tasted anything so wonderful!’ Fred and Giles also added their praises, bless you Mrs Mc Ginty.

After a reasonable interlude, the, dishes were collected, and the main course served. The main meal was roast turkey, with roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and accompanied by a port and cranberry sauce and completed by a selection of seasonal vegetables. And, once again Mrs Mc Ginty had done us proud.

The turkey was moist and literally melted in the mouth, The potatoes, roasted in goose fat were soft and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outer and the port and cranberry sauce was to die for. I was absolutely delighted and so I could see were my guests.

  (C) Damian Grange 2018