Air Aces of World War One

Picture – Courtesy of Pinterest
Leutnant Josef Carl Peter Jacobs – German Ace 1894 / 1978

Josef Jacobs was born in Kreuzkapelle, in the Rhineland. His family was of Jewish origin. He learned to fly in 1912, aged 18. As a schoolboy in Bonn, he had been fascinated by the activities that he witnessed at the nearby flying school in Hangelar. There he learned to fly, under the tutelage of Bruno Wertgen. When war broke out, he joined The German Imperial Air Service to train as a pilot with Fliegerersatz – Abteilung 9 ( Reserve Detachment 9 )

  On the 3rd of July 1915, Jacobs was posted to FA11 ( a reconnaissance squadron ) for a year, flying long range sorties over allied lines, his first flight occurring on the evening that he arrived there. His first victory, over a French Caudron was occurred in February 1916, however it was unconfirmed, due to lack of independent witnesses. After a period of leave, in April 1916, Jacobs was to posted to Fokkerstaffel – West to fly a Fokker E.III Eindekker and he finally achieved his first official victory, over an enemy aircraft when on the 12th of May, he shot down a 2 seater Caudron, crewed only by its pilot. At the end of July, Jacobs and his unit were pulled back for what became a month’s aerial bodyguard duty, protecting General Headquarters at Charleville. On the 1st of September, Jacobs left this duty that had so disgusted him, and returned to a front line assignment flying a Fokker E.III. On the 19th he upgraded to a Fokker D.II. His old comrade in arms Max Ritter von Mulzer, died in a crash a week later. Jacobs fell ill with dysentery, and was out of action for several weeks. Fokkerstaffel – West became Jasta 12 on the 6th of October 1916, and Jacobs remained with it, although a month later he transferred to Jasta 22, then under the command of Oberleutnant Erich Honemanns, who was a personal friend.

To Be Continued……………………

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 175 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 175 )

  As I suppose I had expected, the days flew by, If anything instead of slowing down we appeared to be getting even busier. My two members of staff, Jenny and Emily coped admirably, always calm and unflappable, no matter what situations came their way.

And praise must also be lavished on my old stalwart, Mrs McGinty, who throughout all the hustle and bustle kept us well supplied with tea and biscuits and other tasty morsels, bless her heart.

Thus far, I have not received a single reply to my adverts for a Junior Partner. But it has only been a week, I must learn a little patience, it will happen in its own good time.

I would much sooner wait, than take second best, as I reiterate, I know exactly what I require in a Junior and I am prepared to accept nothing less. But, in the meantime I am having to work long hours just to keep up with the amount of patients and their many and varied illnesses.

Even with Jenny and Emily carefully vetting them, I still have an inordinate number left to treat. I begin to wonder how long I can continue working under this amount of pressure.

Or is this just another test, another one of the trials that I must undergo to earn my redemption. Who knows? certainly not I.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Karlstadt – The Return Excerpt 3

Karlstadt – The Return  Excerpt 3

  It seemed that an essential to my well-being was the wearing of a crucifix at all times, the creatures apparently found religious objects repellent. Holy water, if thrown in their direction would hold then at bay, but only for a short period of time. Also wreaths of garlic were supposed to repel them, or so we discovered when we reached Karlstadt.

They were hung over every door and window, presumably to prevent access to the creature. According to folk lore and legend the creature could change shape and appear as a bat or a wolf or even a younger version of itself. They were said to use a form of hypnosis to lure victims to them.

There appeared to be only two definite methods of ridding the world of them. The first was exposure to direct sunlight, this in effect turns the creature to ashes and returns it to hell where it belongs.

The second method, exposes the hunter to a certain amount of risk. The creature needs to be found in its lair, usually a dark damp cellar or a mausoleum where it rests during the day in its coffin. They can apparently sleep for years then suddenly awake with a thirst for blood, this is when they are at their most dangerous.

The hunter needs to catch the creature sleeping and hammer a wooden stake through its heart, the creature will return to dust. With this thought in mind, before we left England I made up two packs, both with a dozen fire hardened stakes and a hefty mallet. I had every intention of being prepared.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

The Diamond King – Excerpt 11

The Diamond King – Excerpt 11

  Goldstein was a big stocky man, who reputedly kept a sawn off shotgun behind the bar, I don’t know the truth of that but I knew he is handy with a knife. I would like to use mine on him and make him squeal like the treacherous pig that he is.

My friend, or should I say the man that I believed to be my friend, things can change rapidly when you are out of sight. Maartens was as I expected, at his usual table, probably gambling away my mine, if he had not already done so.

I tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘Hello Maartens!’ he half-turned in his chair and when he realised it was me, he started to tremble, ‘Don’t you recognise an old friend, have I changed so much?’ I said.

‘It was such a shock seeing you, we had heard that you were dead, killed by the British.’ ‘I can’t say that they didn’t try, I had a couple of close calls but here I am, still alive and kicking, how is Hetty?’

At the mention of her name, he turned a shade paler and looked decidedly uncomfortable. ‘Have you had no news from here, all of the time that you have been away?’ He asked.

‘No! not a word, why what has happened have you gambled my gold away?’ ‘The mine has run dry, but it’s not that, Pastor de Vries is dead, and Hetty is my wife.’ He stated. The look on his face spoke volumes, he looked absolutely terrified, did he think I would kill him?

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 174 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 174 )

  In reality, I suppose what I was really looking for was a younger version of myself. He must be totally committed to the care and well-being of his patients, particularly the poor and needy.

He must be skilled in all aspects of medicine, be prepared to experiment to find new cures for established ailments. He must be open to new ideas and methods. It must seem like I am seeking the impossible, but I feel sure that there is someone out there. Someone who will fit in perfectly, its all a matter of patience, I suppose?

I had placed adverts with the medical journals, there was nothing more I could physically do but wait patiently for potential junior partners to reply to my adverts.

In the meantime, I still had a busy surgery to run and staff to organise, although in all fairness to Jenny and Emily they took very little organising, they seemed to know my every wish five minutes before I did, so organised were they.

I should have understood that everything would not just fall into place at my bidding, I had been very lucky with the girls, but a Doctor was something altogether different. If I were to work with him, there were so many things that had to be just right.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Air Aces of World War One

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Oberleutnant Frank Linke – Crawford – Austro – Hungarian Ace 1893 / 1918 Pt.3

  The Hansa- Brandenburg D.I had serious liabilities as a fighter plane, it spun easily, had poor forward visibility and its machine gun was mounted well above the pilot’s head on the top wing to fire clear of the propeller arc. It was nicknamed “The Flying Coffin” and was responsible for the deaths of more pilots in flying accidents than in combat.

Linke-Crawford’s switch to flying an Albatros D.III mounted him in a fighter that not only offered him a better field of vision, especially downward, but also armed him with twin Spandau machine guns in front of him that were synchronised to fire through the propeller arc. Flying the Albatros D.III he shot down a seaplane on the 23rd of September 1917 to become an Ace. Continuing to use the Albatros he ran up a score of 13 by the 13th of December. In late December 1917 Linke-Crawford was appointed commander of Fliegerkompagnie 60, This unit was stationed at Grigno in Northern Italy until March 1918, this airfield was located in a swampy mountainous basin and was prone to flooding. Flik 60j’s seven pilots flew against an opposition of Italian, French and British pilots.

Linke-Crawford’s aircraft in Flik 60j was a Phonix D.I, he used this slow but sturdy twin-gunned fighter to run up 7 more victories in the first three months of 1918. Flik 60 moved to Feltre, also in Northern Italy, this was a better airfield than Grigno. Linke -Crawford scored his last victory in a Phonix on the 11th of March 1918. aircraft of this type where still in the early phrases of development, and in mid-March he grounded all his Phonix fighters due to their increasing unreliability. Beginning on the 10th of May 1918 Linke-Crawford switched to an Aviatik (Berg) D.I at least five of his seven victories in this machine were over superior aircraft, such as the Sopwith Camel and the Bristol F2b Fighter. On July the 30th 1918, the day after his final victory, He was flying an early model Aviatik (Berg) D.I in a formation of four. He was shot down in flames by a pair of Italian Hanriot H.D.I’s. Linke – Crawford was the fourth ranking Austro – Hungarian Ace with a total score of 27 victories.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 173 )

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 173 )

  The following day, I interviewed Jenny’s friend, a Miss Emily Wilkins, I liked her immediately she had a brusque no-nonsense attitude which I thought rather typical of a qualified nurse.

I explained to her what I considered her duties to consist of, she replied, ‘So basically you want me to wheedle out the malingerers and attention seekers, thus leaving you free to attend to the patients that really require your skills.’

‘Yes, that in a nutshell, is exactly what I want, if you want it? the position is yours.’ I said. ‘That would suit me very nicely, thank you Doctor.’ she replied. ‘When we are not in the public eye, Jack is fine, but in front of my patients, it is always Doctor.’ ‘Thank you…Jack, when would you like me to begin my employment.’ she enquired.

‘Initially I am running my free clinics on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but I will no doubt find other duties for you, once the practice is up and running, at the moment we are all feeling our feet a little.’ I explained by way of apology.

So, that was the problem of the nurse solved, but I had a feeling that the Doctor would not be quite so easily settled. the problem was I knew exactly what I required in a Junior, and I was prepared to accept nothing less.

(C) Damian Grange 2019



Karlstadt – The Return Excerpt 2

Karlstadt – The Return Excerpt 2

  Mine was a Military Family, so like my Father when he was my age, I had enlisted and fought under the colours. Serving as a junior officer, I fought in the Second Boer war in South Africa. I saw plenty of action whilst there and on my return, I had leave due to me and a little back pay, not a fortune but enough to get myself and a companion safely to Karlstadt and back.

I say companion, because my Father insisted that it was unsafe to travel alone, he never said why? but implied that on his own adventure there, someone he could trust implicitly would have been invaluable.

I think I knew just the man! my old Sergeant and comrade in arms, Jock McAllister. Rank aside, he and I were close friends and there was no one I would sooner trust. We had been in tight situations before and survived, so why should this be so different.

But before I enlisted Jock’s aid, my Father insisted that I learn all that there was to know about my potential enemy, the Vampire. My father led me to his study, where to my surprise, as I had no former knowledge of them. He had a collection of books, mostly old, about the Vampire kind and how to protect oneself against them.

Browsing through them today, it was like taking a trip back to the middle ages, when superstition was rife, and all manner of creatures were said to walk this earth. Depending of course on your location, and education or lack of it.

(C) Damian Grange 2019



The Diamond King – Excerpt 10

The Diamond King – Excerpt 10

  Thank god! it worked, in a relatively short time, riders appeared leading what appeared to be my horse. Did this mean Henrik had gotten home safely, I prayed this was so. I knew none of the men, but the way they sat their horses and their rough camaraderie suggested to me that these men like myself were ex- Commando’s. They were well armed and had that quiet confidence that only a seasoned warrior possesses.

The leader or spokesman of this band stated that they were hired by Mynheer de Klerk, the Father of my friend Henrik, to find me and return me to him, dead or alive. I explained that I was extremely grateful to Mynheer de Klerk, but I had been away fighting for three long years and needed a few days to get my affairs in order, I would then happily seek out Mynheer de Klerk and thank him personally.

My answer appeared to satisfy them, for when we reached the turn off for my township, they raised no objections, but left me with directions on how to find the de Klerk’s. I thanked them gratefully for possibly saving my life, but they just shrugged and rode away. They had known I was in no danger, but had quite happily taken de Klerk’s money. I didn’t blame them, they like me had chosen the wrong cause and would now have to suffer for it.

When I arrived back at the settlement, most of the buildings were in darkness, but for one, the pub, ran by Nathan Goldstein, the Jew. Goldstein was the type of man I personally despised, he behaved as if he were one of us, but whilst the rest of us were away fighting for a cause, he and his cronies were helping themselves to the profits from our mines. The gold that we had toiled and sweated for.

(C) Damian Grange 2019

Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 172 )

  Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 172 )

  With this in mind, I despatched my Brother a telegram, Explaining my situation and asking for his own views on the subject. The following day I received his answer, it came as something of a surprise, usually he is very cautious when offering advice. But his answer read, ‘Go with your instincts, but if you feel that you need a Doctor and a Nurse, then hire them. If you delay too long it may lose you patients, something you may regret at a later date.’

I will admit, this was exactly what I too was thinking, but it was good to have a second unbiased opinion. My own feeling were that I needed a full time Doctor and a part time Nurse, initially to assist with my free clinics, but with the possibility of more once my surgery was over the initial opening period and things were more settled.

I placed an advert in the Medical Journals, offering a Junior Partnership to a young, possibly newly graduated Doctor, if I felt that he possessed the abilities that  required. I Made the advert a little ambiguous, because I wanted the applicants to convince me of their worthiness for the position.

I mentioned to Jenny about recruiting a part time Nurse and she said she had a friend who might possibly be interested. She had done some training with Jenny but continued on to become a fully qualified Nurse. I asked Jenny if she would contact her and if she were interested, to make her an appointment for an interview.

I had no qualms about accepting Jenny’s recommendation. In the short time she had been in my employ, she had more than proved her worth.

(C) Damian Grange 2019