Air Aces of World War One


Werner Voss and Manfred von Richtofen

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Picture – Copyright Pinterest

Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 4

Voss disregarded military procedure and went outside the chain of command to petition higher headquarters for Walz’s removal.Faced with such a case of insubordination, all three men were transferred out of the Jagdstaffeln. Lersner was packed off to a bomber unit. Discovering his betrayal, Walz requested re-assignment on the grounds that his honour had been impuned. On the 20th of May 1917, Flight Commander Voss was sent to Jagdstaffel 5 to assume temporary command.

Voss was bequeathed an Albatros D.III in the Squadrons insignia. During his brief spell with Jasta 5, Voss scored a further half dozen victories. Voss was slightly wounded on the 6th of June 1917 by Flight Sub-Lieutenant Christopher Draper, but soon returned to duty. The R.N.A.S credited Draper with an “out of control” victory. Voss had to trade in his damaged Albatros D.III for a fresh one.

Meanwhile Voss went on leave to Krefeld with Richtofen, surviving photographs show then displaying their aircraft for the Voss clan. Pater Familias Maximilian Voss Snr, issued an open invitation for Richtofen’s use of the Voss Family hunting lodge. After this leave, Voss was given acting command of Jagdstaffel 29, five days later he was given temporary command of Jagdstaffel 14.

Voss was one of the test pilots for the F.I Triplane prototype which developed into the Fokker DR.I. He was summoned to Schwerin, and on the 5th of July 1917 was one of the first to test fly the Fokker F.I s/n 103/17. Although the Fokker had its faults, such as its slow speed and slowness in a dive, Voss loved the new aircraft. It was easy to fly, with light controls, could out-manoeuvre any previous aircraft, mounted twin machine guns and had a rapid rate of climb. That same climbing ability that put it at 1,100 metres within three minutes of take off lent itself to the combat tactic of zooming upwards out of combat to gain the height advantage on opponents. Voss enthusiastically recommended the Fokkers adoption, whilst never progressing to test the Pfalz DR.I. Voss left Schwerin with an assignment for command of another Staffel.

To Be Continued ………………

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 104 )

Jack the Ripper – a Love Story ( Excerpt 104 )

Once I had gotten over my initial shock, I got all my guests seated the handed out their presents. Fred said, ‘This is really good of you, but there was no need?’ ‘it is just something I did in the spur of the moment, after all it is Christmas, and as you no doubt know, I almost forgot.

They sat and opened their gifts, Lizzie looked admiringly at the silk stole I had bought her and said, ‘Oh! this is just beautiful Jack, some poor woman doesn’t know what she is missing, than you so much, maybe you should have a word with my husband about what us ladies like.’

‘Thank you! Jack, said Fred, ‘I’m in for another bout of earache. He then opened the box containing his pipe. ‘For once, you have me speechless, this must have cost a fortune, this is the sort of pipe a man like me dreams about!’ He stated with some conviction.

‘I had a reasonable idea of the type of pipe you liked to smoke so I went to a tobacconist I know, gave him a rough description and this is what he came up with, I take it, I made the right choice?’ I queried, knowing full well I had by the smile on his face.

‘The right choice!’ said Fred, ‘You would have been very lucky to have made a better one, this could almost have been made for me.’ ‘ I suppose in a way it was, I described you to the tobacconist, told him what you liked and this was his suggestion, if anyone should take the credit he should, I merely paid for it.’ I stated.

This wasn’t totally true, I had gone to the tobacconists but with a more or less fixed  idea of the pipe that I wanted For Fred, I was shown a catalogue and chose a pipe made from a calabash gourd with a porcelain bowl. It had a beautiful shape and large bowl and I knew that Fred would take to it Immediately.

‘May I also say how grateful I am for this wonderful stole,’ Intoned Irene, ‘It was so kind of you to include me in your present giving.’ ‘It was my pleasure, you are a guest in my home and there was never a thought of not including you.’ I stated truthfully.220px-Calabash-pipe

(C) Damian Grange 2018


Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 41

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 41

The bulk of the Zombies were now staggering blindly down the Main Street leaving chaos in their wake, bumping against obstacles and occasionally spitting out gouts of blood for effect, although only a staged effect, it looked real enough to the onlookers.

A couple of Zombies staggered over a flower bed, uprooting several months of loving care. An elderly lady was so incensed by this wanton destruction that she attacked them with her brolly, she had no intention of taking prisoners, they were left battered and bruised.

And still they staggered relentlessly forward, blindly as was their way, they had no inclination that they were staggering in to a carefully planned trap. Old Sam Parry and his comrades were playing the waiting game, they had a plan but for it to work to maximum efficiency, everything had to be just right. The Zombies needed to advance just a little more.

They would be ambushed where the Main Street converged with six lesser Streets, the idea being to divide and conquer, or in plain English split up the Zombies in to manageable groups. Where they would be taught whose town it was, it wasn’t theirs!

The milk floats were stood by in readiness, their crews armed with rotten tomatoes and other assorted veg well past its best. The plan was that they get behind the parade of Zombies and herd them to where the Streets converge, where Sam Parry and the remainder of the Squadron would hit them.

That was the plan, but in war all sorts of unplanned for circumstances can and do happen and this one was no different from any other.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 15

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 15

He found that there was a military base in the town itself, Where we may be able to get information on where my Father and his Regiment were currently stationed. When we arrived there and requested to see the Commanding Officer, we were met with open hostility, Then Shamus once again intervened and explained in French what our mission was in their country.

We were immediately taken to their Commanding Officer, it would appear that the Dillon name carries a certain amount of respect in this country. Maybe being a Dillon wasn’t such a bad thing, I thought to myself.

We were greeted very cordially by the French Officer, a Major Dupree, He invited us to take a seat and offered us refreshment, Which turned out to be a rather fine French brandy, much to the delight of my companions.

We all seemed to be getting on fine, when the Major asked, ‘If we could help solve a problem for him, He had an Irishman under arrest, in a dispute over the ownership of a horse, he had killed one man, wounded two others and not content with that he had wounded two of the Major’s men who had been  sent to arrest him.’

‘Just what do you expect us to do with him?’ I queried, the man had piqued my interest. ‘I really don ‘t mind, just take him out of my jurisdiction, I have no stomach for a hanging and he is a gallant man.’ stated the Major candidly. ‘If he agrees to join us, we will take him, but he will need a horse and weapons, where we are heading he may well have need of them!’

The Major shouted a command, and two of his men appeared, holding a tethered man between them who they appeared to be very wary of. ‘You may release him! Monsieur Dillon and his companions require his parole, if he gives it? he can be on his way.’

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 103)

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 103 )

  I was looking forward to Saturday nights dinner party with a little trepidation. I had stressed to the Mc Ginty’s that under no circumstances was any reference be made to my relationship with the late Mary Kelly, one slip of the tongue and I could be in trouble.

Fred Abberline was a valued friend, but he was also a Police Inspector which at times made our friendship difficult. I wouldn’t say he suspected me as such, but until the Ripper was caught, he viewed everyone with a certain amount of suspicion.

I was probably whittling over nothing it was to be a party, not a wake. And I know that if Lizzie had her way, we would enjoy it or she would want to know the reason why. I could not help but wonder what her niece would be like, after all she was a stranger to me.

The days came and went, and Saturday came around and I must admit that the thought of another night in cheerful company had its merits. I was bathed, shaved and ready a full half hour before they were due to arrive. The food was cooking and the presents were gift wrapped and waiting on the sideboard. And all was well with the world or so I hoped.

Then the moment arrived, there was a rapping on the door McGinty answered, relieved them of their coats and ushered them through to thee Dining Room. Fred came first followed by Lizzie, then their niece who was introduced to me as Irene. She was much as I had expected, young attractive and well bought up.

But there was something else about her, that caused me to shudder. She reminded me so much of Mary Kelly. It wasn’t her looks she was dark whereas Mary was fair. I was her mannerisms, the way she held herself, her warm smile and the way she spoke with her hands. She was beautiful, but for a moment or two I found her quite unnerving.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Air Aces of World War One


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Photo – Courtesy of Pinterest
Leutnant Werner Voss – German Ace 1897 / 1917 Part 3

Following his 23rd victory on the 1st of April, Voss fired on the plane and pilot after it had crashed to the ground. On the 6th of April 1917 he staked two victory claims just 15 minutes apart, having bought down a two-seater and a Sopwith Pup near each other on either side of the front lines. The two-seater pilot braved both Voss’s strafing and German Artillery fire to retrieve aerial photography plates for their military intelligence value. The Sopwith Pup, though later seen with Jasta 2 in German markings after its capture, was an unconfirmed victory despite landing behind German lines.

Voss was awarded the Pour le Merite on the 8th of April 1917. It had become the custom to award a month’s leave to a Pour Le Merite recipient, and so Voss immediately left for his vacation, and did not return to combat until the 5th of May. By the time of his leave Voss  had gained impressive marksmanship skills and situational awareness.

The timing of his leave gave him both Easter and his Birthday at home. There was a large family reunion; to the family photos he added a sitting for a formal photograph wearing his award. He also tinkered with and roared about upon, his motorcycle. He was thus out of action for Bloody April, the most intensive air fighting of the war, when the planes of the Luftstrietkrafte and its Aces inflicted heavy losses on the Royal Flying Corps. Richtofen who had scored eleven victories before Voss began his own tally, scored a further thirteen while Voss was on vacation. Referring to his dear friend Richtofen stated ‘He was… My most redoubtable competitor.’

Upon his return from leave, Voss was dissatisfied with his Commanding Officer Franz Walz, who he considered insufficiently aggressive. Voss shared this sentiment with another Westphalian Officer, Leutnant Rolf Freiherr von Lersner. Walz had assumed command on the 29th of November 1916, just after Voss joined the Jasta. An  older man of 31, he was a pre-war pilot and professional soldier who had flown over 300 combat missions in two-seaters before being appointed to command this squadron of fighter pilots. Lacking a background in fighter tactics, he compensated by allowing his more experienced pilots to follow their own inclinations, including solo excursions in to enemy airspace. the fact that Walz followed two brilliant fighter tacticians, Oswald Boelke and Stefan Kirmaier only exposed his unsuitability as Commander.

To Be Continued……………

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 102 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 102 )

  I despatched Mc Ginty to the Police Station with a message for Inspector Abberline asking him to confirm that they were still coming to dinner on Saturday night. He said, ‘That was fine with them but they had a guest, their niece, who was an adult, would it be taking too much of a liberty if she came too, if that was alright with me, they would see me on Saturday.’

I then consulted with Mrs Mc Ginty, I wanted to get presents for the ladies, something useful but not too personal. She suggested a shawl or a stole, after all it was winter and either would be quite acceptable. Fred wasn’t a problem, I had decided to get him a new pipe, the one he had was looking decidedly the worse for wear.

I went out that morning and made my purchases. The Abberline’s had made me very welcome in their home, the very least I could do was return the compliment when they came to mine.

I wondered about the niece, was this a bit of Lizzie’s match -making or pure coincidence. I would find out on Saturday, If it was planned, I was sure Fred would let me know, one way or another.

I discussed the meal with Mrs Mc Ginty and asked if she had any suggestions, she suggested a warming soup for starters, Mulligatawny or something similar followed by Roast Turkey with all the trimmings and to complete the festive meal Christmas Pudding and drinks to follow. I left her to make all the arrangements, confident all would be well.

I returned to work at the Infirmary and attempted to clear some of my back log of patients treatment notes from the never- ending procession of the sick and infirm which were my regular daily routine. It would be nice to break up for Christmas with a clean slate, but highly unlikely.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 40

Zombies by the Sea – Excerpt 40

  The Mayor, though still holding tight to Samira, was watching the antics of the Zombies, when he saw several of them peel off from the Parade and enter shops. This wasn’t part of their brief, he mentioned it to Sanjay, who also thought it rather odd.

‘Samira, I want you to stay here with your Father, There is something I have to sort out and there may be violence, I want you safe from harm,’ he said with concern. He jumped in his car and drove to his nearest arcade.

He called to two of his biggest employees and told them to get in the back of his car, then he headed a little further down the road to his fun-fair where he collected two more of his boys. Once they were all seated in the car, he explained what he required them for. He drove back to the shops and dropped his boys outside.

He gave his boys their instructions , ‘Just watch and wait and as soon as you are sure they are doing something illegal, jump on them and detain them tie them up if necessary. This weekend has cost enough, without them robbing us to boot!’ was his only comment.

The shops in question were both owned by Sanjay, but that wasn’t the point, an attack on one businessman was an attack on us all. And the Mayor for one wouldn’t tolerate it. We have worked hard and struggled to make money in this town, too much to let bloody Zombies walk in and help themselves.

To cover his back and that of his boys, He requested a unit of the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and a squad of Police from the neighbouring, but larger resort, stating that there was a possibility of a civil disturbance. There is nothing like hedging your bets!

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 14

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 14

  As we three galloped away, I turned and looked over my shoulder, My Mother still stood outside the house following our progress. I wondered if I would ever see her again or was this truly goodbye, I felt a lump in my throat at the thought.

After all, I was travelling to a Foreign land to meet a Father who may disown me, to become a soldier. I knew that I was competent, even skilled with my weapons, but could I kill another man? I had vowed to kill Michael, but now he was my friend, why did life have to be so confusing?

We followed the route of the earlier immigrants, we took passage on a ship from the mouth of the River Shannon to the French port of Brest. It was quite an uneventful journey, although I wasn’t too keen on being aboard ship, I preferred land under my feet not the rolling sea.

Once we had disembarked from the ship. We stopped at an Inn on the outskirts of Brest for some food and were looked at most curiously by the native French. But then, we were a giant of a man 6.4, a tall ginger haired youth and a wiry little man. They must have thought we had escaped from a freak show.

Fortunately, no one made and comments, so there were no problems with the locals. Shamus made enquiries, to my surprise in fluent French. A language that I found both he and Michael spoke and understood. Once again I realised how little I knew about my companions.

(C) Damian Grange 2018

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 101 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 101 )

  Fred was just about to say more, when Lizzie joined us, she entered the room and went and sat at the piano, It appeared that as well as being fed, I was to be entertained. Lizzie went straight in to that well-known traditional song, ‘Greensleeves’ she was a competent pianist and surprisingly, to me at least, a pleasant tuneful voice.

All in all, she put in a very creditable performance, I wondered if there was to be more, Fred sat smiling proudly at his wife’s accomplishments, and so he should. Lizzie then much to my surprise and Fred’s embarrassment commenced to play and sing a Music Hall Favourite by Marie LLoyd with somewhat saucy lyrics. Lizzie did the sing proud and I could see by Fred’s face he took pride in her performance.

For my part, I had been given a most wonderful evenings entertainment, both in the company and quality of the food, drink and entertainment. I couldn’t begin to thank them enough, for I had truly enjoyed myself.

I made a point to invite the Abberline’s around to my house the following Saturday. I knew that Mrs McGinty would respond to the challenge of having guests for dinner. It was the very least I could do, considering the splendid evening that I had just enjoyed.

I took my leave of the Abberline’s and strolled home with a spring in my step. It was a crisp December night and all was well with the world. I had made no mistakes and had been accepted both as a guest and a friend. It felt good.

I had not realised that the following Saturday would fall In the period of Christmas, I must check that they have made no previous arrangements. I have been so tied up in my work that I didn’t realise the months were flying by.

(C) Damian Grange 2018