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Not Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on July 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

YOU never know what you’re going to find in Fawcett’s Battle Stories’ letters column, The Funkhole. Frequently there is information about their authors or even letters from them. In the May 1929 issue I was surprised to find a letter from Harold F. Cruickshank himself! It was in response to a reader thinking he may have come afoul of him during the late great hate! (The portrait of Mr. Cruickshank below was in an ad a few pages later!)

NOT HAROLD F. CRUICKSHANK

IT WAS coincidence of name that prompted Edgar Fawcett, 95 High Street, Yonkers, New York, to read Fawcett’s Battle Stories magazine. Likewise, it was coincidence of name that prompted him to write the following letter.

    After reading for the first time the December issue of Fawcett’s Battle Stories, I congratulated you on producing an A 1 book. It was the name Fawcett that drew my attention to the magazine, it being my own name.
    I am American born but when I was sixteen I went to Toronto and joined the Canucks, serving in France and Belgium with them. They made the best of buddies and too much praise cannot be given to them. The name of Harold Cruickshank brought back a memory to me of an officer by that name who once gave me a sentence of three days Royal Warrant. I wonder if he is the same person.
    So much for that, so I will close, wishing you continued success with your magazine.

Here is Mr. Cruickshank’s reply to Mr. Fawcett’s letter:

    How could Mr. Edgar Fawcett think I’d be such a brute to crime a poor, lowly buck private? Say, that’s quite funny, isn’t it? But I’m sorry I cannot recollect any Fawcett in my travels. In any case I have a record that takes a lot of beating. Although I had charge of oodles of men—tough eggs, bums, hard-hitters and crooks, tailors, sailors, cooks and what have you, I never remember criming a solitary man. One time there was a fellow who got nasty, went A.W.O.L. and raised hell in general. I was orderly sergeant at the time and of course had to cover up his absence. I got away with it but when the rotter came back he was worse than ever. I should have reported him and got him sent down for a hefty session but instead I paid him a visit and told him if he didn’t straighten out I’d knock his block off—and in those days I was in good training—did a lot of leather pushing. It had the desired effect for he shut up like a clam.
    I always got along well with the boys—did my share of the work and we never had any trouble at all.
    It so happens that I have my old field book here with the nominal roll of my last platoon. There is no Fawcett listed.
    I say I never crimed a man. I’m wrong. Once a gang of my platoon complained that a member was so dirty that he was lousing them up. I investigated and I never saw so many cooties gathered together in one place in my life. I felt like smashing hell out of that bozo and would have done it if it were not for the fact of a dislike for contact with such a loathsome, dirty swine. We all got together—in conjunction with my officer—and paraded the animal to the bathhouse where he got all that was coming in the way of water, soap and a touch of the hose.
    Give Edgar my regards. Tell him I’ll buy him a drink if he ever drops around to Edmonton. But I’m sorry I wasn’t the “gentleman” who threw him in the jug. At least I have no recollection of any such thing.

 

And look for a new volume of Mr. Cruickshank’s SKY DEVIL stories coming soon!

“Flaming Skies” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on May 19, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another of Raoul Whitfield’s ‘Buck’ Kent stories from the pages of Air Trails magazine. Whitfield is primarily known for his hardboiled crime fiction published in the pages of Black Mask, but he was equally adept at lighter fair that might run in the pages of Breezy Stories. ‘Buck’ Kent, along with his pal Lou Parrish, is an adventurous pilot for hire. These stories, although more in the juvenile fiction vein, do feature some elements of his harder prose.

In the November 1928 issue of Air Trails, ‘Buck’ and his pal Lou have been called in to help rescue some errant Movie men lost in the woods as a raging wild fire bares down on them! Can Buck and Lou find them before the fire does? Find out in “Flaming Skies!”

A groundling’s life and an airman’s code—Fate held the whip and “Buck” Kent fought for both.

“Enemy Air” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 18, 2016 @ 6:00 am in

THROUGH the dark night sky, streaking swiftly with their Hisso engines thundering, is the greatest trio of aces on the Western Front—the famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it! Flying in a V formation—at point was Captain Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio; on his right was little Lieutenant “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito and lanky Lieutenant Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes on his left!

We’re back with the third and final of three Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes stories we’re featuring this march for Mosquito Month! And this one’s a doozy! Kirby and the boys stumble upon a German spy ring and find themselves in one of their most dangerous missions yet that takes them all the way to a face to face meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm himself! You don’t want to miss it—it’s a true group effort as Travis gets to shine in this tale from the pages of the July 1929 issue of War Birds—when the boys find themselves in”Enemy Air!”

Espionage! That sinister, silent net of war that caught men ruthlessly in its grip and crushed them. Now, in the innocent shape of a Fokker, it challenged insolently to those three sky warriors—the Three Mosquitoes. A story with a most thrilling and startling climax.

“The Saga of Steve West Pt3″ by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 24, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

This month we’re celebrating the talents of that pulp stalwart—Joe Archibald. Back with more continuity from his newspaper comic strip “Saga of Steve West” (1928-1929).

Scarsa and his gang have been wiped out, but not before Scarsa managed to shoot George Edwards in the head, seriously wounding him. The Greek was able to get Edwards to the hospital while the cops rounded up the rest of Edward’s gang. Steve West, who had been boxing out of town, has just heard the news and has hired a car to get him back to Chicago on the double…

Strips courtesy of The Daily News of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania.

To find out what happens next. . .

“The Saga of Steve West Pt2″ by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 23, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

This month we’re celebrating the talents of that pulp stalwart—Joe Archibald. Back with more continuity from his newspaper comic strip “Saga of Steve West” (1928-1929).

Red Hannigan and his hired killer, the slippery Pigeon Steele believe they have permanently disposed of Pete Collins who is secretly hiding at Steve West’s family farm—leaving them to take over driving George Edwards’ trucks of bootlegged liquor and skim some off the top for Joe Marino. After Steve foils an attempt on George Edwards’ life at Marino’s, Marino’s two-timing true colors are revealed leaving Nick Scarsa no choice but to silence Marino for good.

Meanwhile, Edwards has a proposal for Steve…

Strips courtesy of The Daily News of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania.

To find out what happens next. . .

“The Saga of Steve West Pt1″ by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 22, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

This month we’re celebrating the talents of that pulp stalwart—Joe Archibald. Joe had quite the string of jobs that led him to the pulps. Born in 1898, Joe began his writing career at the age of fifteen with a prize-winning contribution to the Boston Post. At the age of twelve he submitted and sold his first cartoon to the original JUDGE Magazine. He is a graduate of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

During World War I he served on a sub-chaser for the United States Navy and was staff cartoonist for a service publication. After the armistice, he was a police and sports reporter for Boston Newspapers, and then went to New York and became a sports and panel cartoonist for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate.

In 1928 he created his first comic strip syndicated by the New York Evening Graphic. Here he had characters, continuity and action. What he came up with was “Saga of Steve West,” a strip about a young man who leaves the farm and heads to the big city to find his way in life. The principle characters are: Steve West, the young man in question who appears to be in his late teens or early twenties; George Edwards who is Steve’s friend and benefactor and—a bootlegger; Edwards’ secretary and sometimes girlfriend, Helen Wyatt, who has a secret warm spot in her heart for Steve; Detective Gaffney who has matched wits with Edwards in gangland; and rounding out the main cast is Steve’s pal Pete Collins.

Beginning on November 12the 1928, the strip ran for almost a year according to Stripper’s Guide—ending its run in late September or early October 1929.

Here’s a taste of what was going on the first week of March 1929. As we join the action, Pete has been hi-jacked while driving one of George Edwards’ trucks. The truck stolen and shot through the shoulder, Pete has managed to make his way to not so nearby farmhouse three miles away where he was cared for and able to contact Edwards and Steve who have shown up to help hide him from “Red” and “The Greek.”

Strips courtesy of The Daily News of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania.

To find out what happens next. . .

“The Sky Terrier” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on July 31, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

Since we’re deep into the dog days of summer, we thought we’d give you a shaggy dog story from the pen of Joe Archibald. Instead of our usual Phineas Pinkham mirthquake we have the story of Muggins, a scottish Irish terrier, that finds himself taken in by a squadron fighting a loosing battle with the Germans and turns their luck around!

What a buddy for a fighting, daredevil pilot! Yet this dog was air-wise, every inch of him—and he proved it through the snarling menace of a thousand flaming Jerry tracers.

“Sky Lines” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on July 24, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

Raoul Falconia Whitfield (1896-1945) is probably best remembered for his hardboiled crime fiction published in Black Mask such as the Jo Gar stories about a Filipino detective in an inter-war Manila. But Whitfield also wrote fiction for titles like Adventure, Blue Book, Breezy Stories, Everybody’s Magazine, as well as Battle Stories, War Stories, Boy’s Life and Air Trails. Frequently his stories in Air Trails featured “Buck” Kent, an adventurous pilot for hire. The stories, although more in the juvenile fiction vein, do feature some elements of his harder prose.

The July 1929 issue of Air Trails featured two pieces by Whitfield. There was the monthly dose of the adventures of “Buck” Kent and in the back of the issue was a cheifly autobiographical piece from his time as an aviator in the first World War. The autobiographical article is presented below; while the “Buck” Kent story, “Sky Lines” can be downloaded at the bottom of the post.

 

Sky Seconds That Count

by Raoul Whitfield • Air Trails • July 1929 (vol.2 no.4)

Mr. Whitfield, famous pilot-writer, author of the “Buck” Kent stories, tells about some of his own exciting moments in the air.

THIS fellow Whitfield has had some sky seconds, that have counted—even if he has to interview himself in order to admit it. We have to go back a few years to the days when army pilots didn’t pack ‘chutes; when stabilizers and inertia starters were things to talk about and say: “Well, maybe. Ten years from now—maybe.”

We have to go back to the days when a lot of good chaps were getting into tail-spins and not getting out of them. Back to war days.

There was the time a De Haviland’s Liberty conked out, over the Gironde River in France. That wasn’t so good, even though Lieutenant Whitfield did stretch the ship’s glide and reach a sandy strip along the stream’s edge. There was the time a Nieuport got her nose down and went into a tight spin five hundred feet off the ground, near Issoudoun, France.

That wasn’t so good, even though she whipped out of it a hundred feet above the earth. And there was still another time when a gray wall of fog swept northward across Colombey-la-Belle, and sent the lieutenant down for a nose-over on a soggy stretch too close to the front for comfort. And there were the seconds when a J.N. 4’s wings scraped those of another Jenny—at Kelly Field, Texas.

But the sky seconds that counted most slipped by at St. Jean de Monts, on the Bay of Biscay, France. This fellow Whitfield was flying a dep-control S.A.E. She was a terrible crate, and he was testing her out for target towing.

In the rear cockpit of this two-place ship was a noncom who had never tossed out a wrapped target sleeve before. The lieutenant was flying over the beach, headed into the wind.

He got the ship’s nose up and nodded his head. The noncom stood up and the prop wash battered him off balance. Instead of tossing the packed silk out, he held it momentarily.

Whitfield shoved the wheel forward and the nose dropped. A down current dropped it a bit more. The noncom recovered his balance—and let the packed target sleeve go.

The tail assembly slanted up—and the silk lodged between the rudder and elevator fins. The wind pressure jambed it there, tight—very tight. The plane was going down with power on, her dive angle around thirty degrees. And the more Lieutenant Whitfield tugged on that wheel—the worse the silk sleeve jamb became!

Seconds were counting, and counting big!

THE lieutenant swore at the noncom, howled at him to jerk the pack loose. The lieutenant cut the throttle speed, and stared down at the white beach. The ship had less than two thousand feet, and her dive angle was just right for a sweet crash.

A crash in this particular plane meant that the pilot would rate the engine in his lap, and plenty of fire to top off. Whitfield was pretty scared.

But he worked the wheel forward and backward, perhaps an inch. That would have meant something in a Nieuport or a Sop. But this crate didn’t notice the movement. And the target sleeve stuck like Bishop on a Boche’s tail.

The noncom was pulling at the rope coil—methods were crude in those days—but it was no go. Five hundred feet above the sand, Lieutenant Whitfield cut the ignition switch and thought of a girl back in the States. (He married the other one later).

He was still tugging at the wheel control, a hundred feet off the sand. But the dive angle was still thirty degrees or better. It looked like he’d eaten his last Bay of Biscay lobster and partaken of his last bottle of Mumms’ champagne. Then the wheel pulled back an inch—two inches—three inches! That helped.

There was still plenty of crash. The undergear went first, then a wing ripped along and buckled. The plane nosed over and the prop splintered. The pilot and the sergeant crawled out of the wreckage. The ship didn’t burn. She sizzled, but she didn’t fry.

The silk sleeve was still lodged between the rudder and elevator fins, partially opened. As the lieutenant writes, he yawns and looks at a splinter of that ship’s prop, hanging on the wall.

A lot of seconds pass by in eleven years. But he didn’t yawn then—and every second counted when he tugged at that diving crate’s wheel.

 

 

AND now down to New Orleans where “Buck” Kent has been earning his keep with a little sky writting, and some favors on the side in Raoul Whitfield’s “Sky Lines.”

“Buck” Kent matches his airman’s wits with the snarling bullets of bandit guns.

“Deliver or Destroy!” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on February 20, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

“Let’s Go!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

Were back with the third of three Three Mosquitoes stories we’re presenting this month. This week Kirby is hand-picked to to currier valuble war plans from Paris to Colonel Drake at his own drome. Sounds easy enough—but nothing is ever easy when there are more spys from imperial inteligence than frenchmen on the route. And Kirby is told he must either deliver the plans or make sure they are utterly destroyed if they fall into enemy hands! It’s another exciting tale of Ralph Oppenheim’s The Three Mosquitoes that originally ran in the February 1929 number of War Birds magazine!


That simple mission that Kirby was on suddenly turned into a seething cauldron of intrigue and mystery. Death and the sinister shadows of the Imperial Intelligence crossed his path, and there was the wily von Hertz who always did the unexpected.

“The Sky Raider Pt15″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 31, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. In the last installment . . .

    With Carmichael’s help, Dick manages to catch Perez, but the line-chief refuses to talk. In an effort to loosen his lips, Dick takes Perez up in his plane and puts it through every heart-stopping trick he can think of. In the end Perez begs to be put down saying he will talk. He admits to sabotaging Lawson’s gas-gauge, but will not name any of his co-conspirators. Dick does get Perez to sign a confession that he hopes will be enough to free Old Man Rand. Dick dashes off to Starkville with the confession…

Will Dick get there in time with Perez’s confession? Who helped Perez kill Lawson and steal the Federal Reserve money? Find out who really killed Lawson and masterminded the plan to steal the money in the final installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

“The Sky Raider Pt14″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 29, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. In the last installment . . .

    With Wilson’s help, Dick manages to make his night-time sky-writing device a reality. Trying it out on a run to Henshaw Field, Dick finds he needs to work out the releasing interval. The news of Dick’s success does little to lighten Mary’s heavy heart. She makes Dick promiss that he will somehow free her father before his execution.
    The wreck of Lawson’s plane is released from the locked hanger it’s been stored in and Dick finds evidence of sabotage while inspecting it—the gas-gauge was crimped with pliers to give a false reading. Asking Wilson who checked over Lawson’s plane before his fateful run, Dick finds out it was the line-chief Perez…

Was it really Perez who killed Lawson? Was he working alone? And can Dick get the bottom of all this before Old Man Rand faces death that night? Find out in the fourteenth installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

And come back on Wednesday for the exciting conclusion!

“The Sky Raider Pt13″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 26, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. On Wednesday . . .

    With all hopes exhausted, the trial of Old Man Rand gets under way. Old Man Rand’s innocence is little comfort when the jury returns with a guilty verdict and the judge sentences him to death. A distraught Mary exhausts all her financial resources in trying any and every lawyer in hopes of finding an appeal that might free her father. Dick, in trying to raise some money for Mary, discusses making his night-time sky-writing invention a reality with Wilson, a mechanic at Rand Field. Excitedly he tries to tell Mary about it, but her thoughts are miles away in a tiny cell with her father…

Can Dick get his invention working? And if he does, will it prove helpful? Find out in the thirteenth installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

And come back on Monday for the penultimate installment!

“The Sky Raider Pt12″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 24, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. On Monday . . .

    With some hesitation, Lois Hamilton provides an alibi for Tommy Rand, saying he was with her the night before the murder leaving late the next day. After some thought on the matter, Tommy realizes where his father was the morning in question and why he won’t tell anyone. Tommy believes his father was at von Siechner’s gambling establishment on the edge of town looking for him. Dick, Tommy and Mary head there. Von Siechner describes their father as having been there, but when he’s questioned by the police, he doesn’t recognize Old Man Rand!

Is there any hope for Old Man Rand? And what is the cruel fate that follows him? Find out in the twelfth installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

And come back on Friday for the next installment!

“The Sky Raider Pt11″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 22, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. The story so far . . .

    Dick Trent, novice in the Air Mail Service, incurs the displeasure of Carmichael, Superintendent of Rand Field, when he flies through the Rocky Mountains in a blinding snowstorm to bring back young Tommy Rand, who is stranded in a drinking in gambling haunt. Old Man Rand, owner of the field, beloved by his men, thanks Dick. Mary Rand, his beautiful daughter, is also greatful to Trent.
    The next day in a spectacular flight, Dick sweeps alongside Mary’s disabled machine in midair and saves her from a fatal crash. They express their Love and Dick is happily thinking of the future as Lawson, his buddy in the service, tells him he is leaving to marry a beautiful blonde. On his last flight Lawson’s plane goes missing. Dick, in searching the country, comes across the burned plane and Lawson’s dead body. A package containing $25O,OOO in government gold is missing. The only clue to the crime is a heavy Luger pistol used to club Lawson’s skull. Mary recognizes the pistol as her father’s.
    Old Man Rand, questioned, admitted giving the pistol to Lawson. He refuses, however, after talking tto his son, Tommy, who has been missing again, to account for his actions during the ealy morning hours when the crime was comitted. When the charred money bag is found in his own furnace Rand is arrested for murder. Dick, along with the other men of the service, is dejected. They all love the old man and know he is innocent. Mary, in hysterics, turns away from Dick, attributing her father’s arrest to the pistol he found.
    After his next run, Dick sets out to visit the old man in jail, but Rand insists he is willing to pay the penalty. Returning, Dick meets Mary, who asks his forgiveness. Dick takes her in his arms and the two vow to solve the murder mystery to clear her father.
    Suspicious of Carmichael, Field Superintendent, who knew of the gold shipment, Dick is later convinced of his innocence, when he intimates Lawson’s connivance. Dick recalls Lawson’s blonde fiancee. With her initials for a clue they learn she left for Hawaii. Jumping into a plane Mary and Dick come to greif in a field. Continuing by train they locate the girl, Dorothy Curtis, who angrily accuses Mary as the daughter of her fiancee’s murderer. Mary assures her of her father’s innocence. Asked to help solve the mystery the blonde mentions a mysterious man who talked of money and left a flask in Lawson’s room. It belonged to Tommy Rand. Accused by Mary he denies guilt of Lawson’s murder, giving Mrs Hamilton as his alibi. Mary calls her up…

Will Mrs. Hamilton give Tommy an alibi? How will this help Dick and Mary in their efforts to clear Old Man Rand? Find out in the eleventh installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

And come back on Wednesday for the next installment!

“The Sky Raider Pt10″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 19, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. In Wednesday’s installment . . .

    Dick and Mary are looking for Lawson’s fiancee. With her initials for a clue they learn she left for Hawaii. Jumping into a plane, Mary and Dick come to greif in a field. Continuing by train they locate the girl, Dorothy Curtis, who angrily accuses Mary as the daughter of her fiance’s murderer!

Will Dorothy help Dick and Mary in the efforts to clear Old Man Rand? And what does Tommy have to say for himself and his missing time that fateful morning? Find out in the tenth installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

or

And come back on Monday for the next installment!

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