The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 13

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 13

  But we weren’t here to admire its somewhat faded beauty, we were here to endeavour to solve its mysteries. Namely was it a breeding site for the Vampire kind or just a slightly damaged castle.

On arriving at the castle, we selected one of the ground floor rooms to be our headquarters, it was quite a large room so I asked Bruno and the Doctor if they would mind collecting some wood and starting a fire, which we would need both for cooking and warmth.

I took Father Michael with me to reconnoitre as much of the castle as we could before darkness fell. I did not want anyone wandering around in the dark until we had checked for pitfalls. As elected leader I took concern in the well-being of my comrades.

The castle itself, dark and foreboding was an unknown quantity, I had no inclination of who? or what? we might find inside its walls. The only thing of any note, that the Father and I found, was on one of the walls in an adjacent room, a somewhat scorched portrait of a lady dressed all in black.

I asked Father Michael for his opinion of who the lady in the portrait might be, His opinion was that it was probably the Countess in her mourning clothes, painted shortly after the death of her husband, the Count.

I told The Father that I found it hard to believe that such a beautiful woman, could be as evil and reviled, as she obviously was. ‘I knew her you know,’ said the Father, ‘ As a young woman she had a kind and generous spirit, but that was before she became a Karlstadt!’

(C) Damian Grange 2019


Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 31

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 31

  ‘Once the volleys are fired, the enemy will be in confusion, they considered us as friends by the time they realise we are not, we should be amongst them clubbing them to the ground with out musket butts, if they run, which will likely happen, we take and hold the position until we are either reinforced or relieved.’ explained Conor.

‘What if they make a fight of it?’ asked Black Michael. ‘We’ll make them regret that decision, quite quickly, I would imagine,’ answered Conor grinning at his men. ‘What if they decide to surrender, what then?’ Queried Shamus. ‘Disarm them and truss them up so they are hors de combat and try to keep them out of harms way.’ Replied Conor.

Conor’s opportunity to put his plan in to action came sooner than expected. The Regiment was ordered to attack a fortified town, occupied by the Austrians. Several forays were made both by the Irish and the French, but all were repulsed by the Austrians who had fortified the town.

Conor and Black Michael did a reconnaissance of the town ands considered they had found a weak spot in the Austrians defences. Conor outlined his plan to his father and asked for permission to take his unit and try and break the stalemate.

His Father reviewed their plans and gave them his blessing, he asked if they needed any support. ‘It might help to have a company on standby, once we have fired two volleys, tell them to come running, there should be lots of prisoners to contend with.’ ‘You seem very confident, my boy! ‘Oh I am, Sir, I am.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 139 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 139 )

  Apparently, Arthur was only here until June, He had enlisted on a six-month volunteer contract. My own enlistment was until the end of hostilities, the way things were shaping we may be returning home together.

We were both eagerly awaiting the arrival of Miss Emily Hobhouse, from what we had heard of her, and what Arthur knew of her. Arthur was certain that her tour of inspection would alter the conditions of the Boer families for the better.

Whether the Commandant liked it or not, her way would prevail, she had the backing of many prominent politicians who sought to appease the Boer nation and avoid further conflict. Although the Boers knew nothing of her, rumours had spread around the camp of changes to come, they were eagerly awaiting to see if these changes would be for the better.

When Miss Hobhouse arrived she went directly to the Boer, issuing blankets, soap and foodstuffs. All of which her charity had funded and bought from London itself. She listened to the many complaints from the Boer womenfolk, nursed their babies, played with their children and within a couple of days had won the hearts and trust of all of them.

After she had achieved this, she came to the hospital to visit the sick and wounded. She was disgusted by the conditions that she found, due to lack of suitable medicines and food. With Arthur and I in toe, she stormed in to the Commandants Office and told him what a despicable specimen of humanity he was to deny food and the proper medical facilities to the people in his care. When she returned to London she would demand that he be immediately replaced, but until then she gave him a list of her immediate requirements. He was just about to protest, but she glared at him, he slumped back in his chair, a beaten man.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces of World War One

Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold – Germany’s Iron Knight 1891 / 1920 Pt 7

  The Courtrai Hospital lacked the facilities to deal with such a complex injury, however it sufficed to keep him alive. It was three weeks before the wounded Ace was stable  enough to be transferred. On the 31st of October he was shipped back to Germany. His pilots alerted his elder sister, Franziska who was a nursing sister in Victoria Lazarett ( Victoria Hospital ) Berlin. She arranged for her brothers transfer to the Berlin clinic of one of Germany’s pre-eminent surgeons, Dr. August Bier, pioneer of cocaine usage in spinal anaesthesia. Berthold entered the clinic on the 2nd of November 1917, he was there for four months and Dr.Bier laboured to save the mangled arm from amputation. Meantime, counter to Berthold’s wishes, Oberleutnant Ernst Wilhelm Turck assumed Berthold’s dual commands of Jagdstaffel 18 and Jagdgruppe 7. Berthold spent his convalescent leave learning to write with his left hand. He believed “If I can write, I can fly” meantime his right arm remained paralyzed as it slowly healed and he remained dependant on narcotics.

By February, Berthold could get out of bed. In mid-month, he volunteered to return to the command of Jagdgruppe 7. On the 1st of March he reported to the medical office of Flieger- Ersatz – Abtielung 5 ( Replacement Detachment 5 ) in Hanover. He was returned to command of Jagdstaffel 18but denied permission to fly. On the 6th of March 1918, he re-joined his old squadron at its new duty station. Within 2 days, on the 8th of March, he had arranged for Hans-Joachim Buddecke’s transfer to the squadron to lead it in the air.Two days later, Buddecke was killed in action.

On the 16th of March 1918, Rudolf Berthold was transferred to command  Jagdgeschwader II ( Fighter Wing 2 ) to replace Hauptmann Adolf Ritter von Tutschek, who was killed in action the previous day. The new wing had been copied from the pioneering Jagdgeschwader II. It was crucial to the German spring offensive that was due to be launched on the 21st of March. Berthold was in a tenuous and stressful situation. He had suffered the loss of a best friend, left his old familiar squadron, was taking command of a larger unfamiliar and newly-formed unit, and was not on flight status. His solution to his dilemma was to take advantage of a loophole. Customarily a Luftstreitkrafte commander being transferred could swap a small cadre of his old unit in to his newer one. Berthold designated Jagdstaffel 15 the wings Stab Staffel (Command Squadron). Then he effected a wholesale exchange of Jagdstaffel 18 Pilots and aircraft in to Jagdstaffel 15. Jagstaffel 15 Personnel and aircraft then transferred to Jagdstaffel 18. Berthold then departed for Buddecke’s funeral in Berlin on the 22nd of March.

To Be Continued………………..

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 138 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 138 )

  Then much to my consternation, Arthur insisted on questioning me about my years in Whitechapel. It seemed like most people he was curious about my knowledge and theories concerning the Ripper.

These events happened twelve years ago and I had tried to erase them from my memory, but unfortunately, they keep coming back to haunt me. Much as I may want to deny the fact of the matter, I was Jack the Ripper, but that is for my ears only.

I had to grudgingly answer Arthur’s questions, or I may have drawn suspicion on myself, like Abberline, Arthur Conan Doyle was not a man to underestimate. it was only when we got down to the intimate surgical details that I felt a little uncomfortable, Arthur, like myself was an accomplished surgeon, on that basis alone I would have to be careful with my answers, less I let suspicion fall on myself.

I thought I had convinced him of the pointlessness of a Sherlock Holmes v The Ripper scenario. But he still insisted on gleaning every gory detail from me, I found it most unnerving. At what finally appeared to be the conclusion of his questioning, He stated, ‘And you are certain that this Jack creature is a surgeon?’

‘I would say so, Yes! everything I witnessed bought me to that conclusion, Abberline could not understand me when I said I was somewhat in awe of the mans skill, the speed he worked at and the conditions he worked under and the results were certainly to be admired.’

‘So you came to the conclusion, that the man himself must be a skilled surgeon, not a butcher, barber, mortuary assistant or medical student?’ ‘All I can say Arthur is that if you had seen the quality of his work you would have arrived at the same conclusion as I did,’ I stated honestly.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 12

The Castle Karlstadt – Excerpt 12

  ‘Ok! I’m your man, what have I got to lose? only my life?’ I said, somewhat stating the obvious. ‘Would it be asking too much too know who I am leading on this foray?’ I asked the assembled sextet. The Doctor, looking a little uncomfortable stated, ‘I have volunteered to come with you, I have some knowledge of these creatures and I am also a marksman.’

Then the other priest spoke, ‘I am coming with you to represent the church, I am Father Michael, you may need my help in defeating these creatures,’ he spoke confidently and personally I was glad to have him with me, I instinctively trusted him. The blacksmith, Bruno growled, ‘ I go too, these creatures took my Maria, they owe me a life, I intend to take it.’

After a few hours preparation, I and my motley crew of heroes / volunteers left Karlstad to travel up the valley to the Castle. The Doctor and I were mounted, the Holy Father and the blacksmith walked behind us. The Father carried a large cross, which as he plainly put it, he intended to plant in the Castle yard.

Bruno also carried his own supplies, a haversack containing a dozen sharpened stakes and a mallet with which to hammer them in. Judging by the size of his mallet and his muscular arms, anything that crossed his path would be well and truly impaled.

After a few hours of uneventful travel, we were within sight of the castle, it looked exactly as I had left it on the previous day. Speaking as a stranger, with no knowledge of its history. I would have admired it for what it was, a fine piece of military engineering. A noble structure.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 30

Conor Dillon – Beginnings  Excerpt 30

  Sheridan had proved to be an excellent all-round marksman, and so had Flaherty once he had learned to hold his musket correctly. That left Conor with sex men who were not skilled with the musket, Conor decided to seek the advise of his advisors Shamus and Black Michael.

‘Should we keep them or replace them, its that simple.’ said Conor. ‘Personally.’ said  Michael, ‘ I have been watching them, they are loyal to this unit and are keen to learn, its just taking them a little longer.’ ‘What about you Shamus, what is your opinion? asked Conor.

‘Is six out of thirty, such a big thing, what I would suggest is you promote Sheridan and Flaherty and make them responsible for their training, that will leave us free for the bigger picture,’ replied Shamus, voicing his opinions.

‘Fair comment!’ said Conor, ‘ I want a word with my Father, I want to borrow a couple of drummers. Drummers.’ said Michael, ‘Whatever for?’ Because I want the enemy to know that we are coming, If we march like the British, wear red coats just like them, march to the beat of the drum. Their allies will think that we are British come to relieve them, not to attack them,’ stated Conor explaining the basis of his plan to his companions.

‘I like it!’ said Shamus, ‘It’s a fine wee plan,’ ‘ I approve too,’ said Michael, ‘Its so simple, it can’t fail. ‘ It works like this, get close enough, fire two accurate volleys at close range to thin out the enemy, the charge and take the position. That is why I insist on accurate fire, it is crucial to the plan, that with the volleys we decimate the enemy’s forces,’ stated Conor.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 137 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 137 )

  ‘I can understand your misgivings, but even as we speak, there is a lady, a Miss Emily Hobhouse, who has started a charity to help the Boer wives and children. She is coming here on a fact finding mission and she will report her findings, there will be no cover-ups and she will not be silenced, she has many friends in high places,’ explained Arthur.

‘I apologise for doubting you, but I’m just a poor general practitioner, I don’t mingle with the rich and famous the way that you appear too.’ ‘It’s fine!’ said Arthur, ‘In your position I would probably have reacted in a similar way, you may have not mixed  with the famous but what about your brushes with the infamous?’

‘Infamous?’ I repeated, not understanding where this conversation was leading. ‘Yes Infamous! weren’t you based at the Whitechapel Infirmary during the Ripper’s reign of terror, and were you not involved in his pursuit?’ ‘I was, I admit involved, but purely as a second opinion by Inspector Abberline, a man for whom I have a great deal of affection and respect, Why do you ask?’

‘I was contemplating a Sherlock Holmes story where Sherlock apprehends and unmasks the Ripper, I’m sure it would be popular, after all he was never apprehended.’ ‘I hate to burst your bubble, but if anyone is to apprehend Jack the Ripper, it will be Inspector Frederick Abberline of Division ‘H’. He is still investigating a number of suspects, he will not cease until he has his man. I am not decrying your fictional detective, but Fred Abberline is the real thing, a dedicated man.’

(c) Damian Grange 2019



To all my friends and followers on WordPress

 I have been absent due to a short illness and some technical problems with my router, this has been replaced by a more current model and I will re-commence posting this Friday, the 22nd. I apologise for any inconvenience I may have caused my followers and would like once again to thank the ones who contacted me with their concerns during my absence, Bless you all.

Kind Regards Malkie