“They Had What It Takes – Part 35: Major Fred Lord” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation ran in Flying Aces from 1937 through 1940. McWilliam’s bio-graphical sketch for the December 1939 issue was Major Frederic Ives Lord—a real life version of Chinese Brady! A self-described soldier for hire, Major Lord flew in five different wars: The First World War, The Russian Cival War, The Mexican Revolution, The Spanish Cival War, and The Second World War.
According to his wikipedia entry, Major Lord was a keen writer, often chronicalling his exploits. A number of these appeared in Flying Aces while his unpublished papers are held in the archives of the Rabb Collection along with hundreds of photographes of Lord frequently with his plane. Lord even “approached movie production companies in the hopes that his story would be turned into a feature film.”
He lived to the age of 70 when he was killed by a vagrant in Apple Valley, California in 1967.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 34: Clarence Chamberlin” by Alden McWilliams
Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation was called “They Had What it Takes”, and this week we bring you the 34th installment, which appeared in the November 1939 Flying Aces. . In this week’s installment McWilliams brings his talents to rendering the life of that Trans-Atlantic vet, Clarence Chamberlin.
Clarence Chamberlin just missed out on being the household name that Lindbergh became. When Lindbergh took off, the plane’s owner Levine was still tinkering with the plane and arguing with who would pilot it—thus preventing Chamberlin from becoming the first to fly solo across the Atlantic. However, several weeks later, Chamberlin took off with Levine as a passenger and became the second man to pilot a fixed wing aircraft across the Atlantic to the European mainland, but the first to take a passenger! And he flew further setting a distance record, landing in Eisleben, Germany when he ran out of gas—just 110 miles short of his goal of Berlin.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 33: Arch Whitehouse” by Alden McWilliams
This week we bring you Part 33 of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. He called it “They Had What it Takes” and this installment appeared in the October 1939 Flying Aces. It features our old pal here at Age of Aces—Arch Whitehouse. Whitehouse was a prolific writer, both for the pulps and aviation-themed books after the pulps ended. We’ve posted a number of Whitehouse’s stories from Flying Aces and Sky Birds with some of his long running characters like Buzz Benson, Crash Carringer, Coffin Kirk, The Casket Crew, Tug Hardwick and The Griffon!
Arch Whitehouse was blessed with a fertile imagination which seemed to spill over into the acounts of his own war record. McWilliams piece and Whitehouse’s own biography, Hell in Helmets, credit Whitehouse with shooting down 16 German aeroplanes—at most he may have had 4 kills—it seems that he was something of a serial exaggerator.
We’ve posted this installment long before we started posting the entire series of Alden McWilliam’s “They Had What It Takes”, but here it is in sequence in case you missed it.
Next time: Clarence Chamberlin—Trans-Atlantic Vet.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 32: “Casey” Jones” by Alden McWilliams
Age of Aces presents the thirty-second installment of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. This week McWilliams chronicles the life and contributions to aviation of aero booster No.1—Charles S. “Casey” Jones. Jones, a veteran of the hell skies of WWI, would rise to prominance as one of the great air racers of his time. He used his popularity to sell the American public on aviation, contributing to radio shows and having columns in two leading aviation magazines—”Flying Colors” in Air Adventures (1928-29) and “Casey Jones’ Flying Course” in Sky Birds (1933-34).
In 1932 he founded the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics along with Lee D. Warrender and George A. Vaughn Jr. The school went through a number on name changes, the most recent was in 2004 when it was remamed after Vaughn.
Casey passed away in February 1976.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 31: Charles E. Rosendahl” by Alden McWilliams
In the late thirties Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ monthly illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which was called They Had What it Takes. In the August 1939 issue they featured American Air Ship Ace Charles E. Rosendahl!
Rosendahl started his Naval career aboard battleships and moved into rigid airship duty after the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation circulated a letter asking for volunteers. He distinguished himself by successfully bringing the bow section of the the dirigible Shenandoah after she broke apart in the air! He rose through the ranks serving aboard a number of lighter-than-air craft. Eventually achieving the rank of Vice Admiral in the US Navy, Rosendahl never stopped advocating the virtues of lighter-than-air flight writing several books about them (his papers are archived in the McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas) and was aboard the N class blimp ZPG-3W on its final flight in August 1962 when the US Navy ended airship operations. Rosendahl passed away in May 1977.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 30: Lee Gehlbach” by Alden McWilliams
This week we bring you Part 30 of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. He called it “They Had What it Takes” and this installment appeared in the July 1939 Flying Aces. It features that top-flight test pilot Lee Gehlbach.
In 1935, Time Magazine described him as “a leader in his highly hazardous profession at 32, Lee Gehlbach became an aeronautical engineer because he was “a farmer’s son who couldn’t get used to getting up at 4 in the morning.” Graduated from the University of Illinois in 1924, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, resigned five years later to become a free-lance pilot and consultant. Best known as a racing pilot, he won first place and $15,000 in the 5,541-mi. All-America Flying Derby of 1930, beating such famed speed merchants as the late Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Wedell.”
Here Gehlbach tests out the Grumman F3F-2 “Flying Barrel.”
“They Had What It Takes – Part 29: Ernst Udet” by Alden McWilliams
This week we bring you Part 29 of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. He called it “They Had What it Takes” and this installment appeared in the June 1939 Flying Aces. It features that Ace of The Black Cross, Ernst Udet. Udet was the highest scoring Ace to survive the Great War. With 62 victories he was second only to his commander in the Flying Circus, Manfred von Richthofen.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 28: Roscoe Turner” by Alden McWilliams
In the late thirties Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ monthly illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which was called “They Had What it Takes”. In the May 1939 issue they featured the “dashing racing Ace” Roscoe Turner! Roscoe learned to fly during WWI and started barnstorming in the 20’s which led into air racing. A triple winner of the Thompson Trophy, Turner was sponsored by the Gilmore Oil Company who provided him with a lion cub named “Gilmore” (complete with his own cub-sized parachute) for publicity reasons. Turner frequently took Gilmore on tour with him.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 27: C. P. T. Ulm” by Alden McWilliams
Starting with the February 1937 issue of Flying Aces, Alden McWilliams began his illustrated tribute to the pioneer aviators of that era. He called it “They Had What it Takes”. It appeared in each issue of Flying Aces until June 1940. Part 27 apeared in the April 1939 issue and featured Another great Austrailian Air Pioneer—Charles Thomas Philippe Ulm!
Ulm is probably best known for his association with Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith who was covered by McWilliams two years earlier. He was Kingsford-Smith’s copilot on many of his famous flights including the 1928 first crossing of the Pacific in the Southern Cross. And together they founded Austrailian National Airways.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 26: Geoffrey De Havilland” by Alden McWilliams
“They Had What It Takes” was Flying Aces‘ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation by Alden McWilliams that ran from 1937 through 1940. Part twenty-six is all about that British aviation pioneer and ace aircraft designer, Geoffrey De Havilland.
De Havilland built his first plane with money borrowed from a Grandparent and worked his way into being the cheif designer at Airco where he designed planes, all designated by his initials DH, flown by the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force during WWI. In 1920 he formed his own aircraft company and started producing the Moth series of aircraft. Their Mosquito plane played an important part in WWII and their Comet planes were some of the first jet airliners used by major airlines.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 25: Assen Jordanoff” by Alden McWilliams
This week we bring you the twentyfifth installment of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. He called it “They Had What it Takes” and this one appeared in the February 1939 Flying Aces and featured Assen Jordanoff, competant and versitile flyer, noted inventor, aviation author and the pride of Bulgaria.
“They Had What It Takes – Part 24: “Jackie” Cochran” by Alden McWilliams
In the late thirties Flying Aces ran Alden McWilliams’ monthly illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which was called “They Had What it Takes”. In the January 1939 issue they featured Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran, a pioneering American aviator who was considered to be one of the most gifted racing pilots of her time. Originally working in the cosmetics industry, her husband encouraged her to take up flying as a means to travel more efficiently, Jackie took to it like a duck takes to water and soon realized that flying was her passion, not cosmetics.
A few career highlights beyond McWilliam’s piece: in 1942 Jackie was asked to organize the Women’s Flying Training Detatchment (WFTD) to train women to handle basic military flight support; the following year she was appointed to lead the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP); in 1953 she became the first woman to break the sound barrier, and set eight more speed records in 1967 when she was over 60 years old!
Jackie kept going until a serious cardiac condition finally grounded her. By the time of her death in 1980, Jackie had recieved more than 200 awards and trophies and set more speed and altitude records than any other pilot.
“Hawks From the Smoke” by Arch Whitehouse
In this adventure, two of Arch Whitehouse’s most popular flying duos team up to foil a Japanese invasion of the Phillipines. Tug Hardwick and Beansie Bishop are joined by Coffin Kirk and his simian assistant, Tank.
Peculiar white wisps on the ocean below! What sinister thing did they hide? Tug had to know. But Beansie had no time for that mystery—what with gun-bristling Mitsubishis swarming down the skies to face his twin Brownings. What’s more, he now was encountering a mystery of his own. For a strangely-marked Breda had suddenly dived in among those vengeful “Rising Sun” fighters. And the gunner aboard that Breda was too efficient to be human!
“Hell Over Hainan” by Arch Whitehouse
Those two news-hawks, Tug Hardwick and Beansie Bishop, were well acquainted with Old Man Trouble. And by steering clear of Hainan they were sure they could stay out of his clutches. But what Tug didn’t know—though he would soon find out—was that Old Man Trouble could find you anywhere, especially in China where oil flows thicker than blood.
Arch Whitehouse: WWI Pilot and Pulp Writer
One of our favorite aviation pulp writers here at Age of Aces is the extraordinarily prolific Arch Whitehouse. The series characters he created for Flying Aces and Sky Birds were extremely popular with the readers back in the 30’s and 40’s, and they are among the most popular downloads in our “Age of Aces Presents” section. Month after month he brought these colorful aces to life. They had names like Buzz Benson, Tug Hardwick, Coffin Kirk, Crash Carringer, the Casket Crew, and many more.
Seventy years ago this month Flying Aces magazine ran an illustrated profile of Whitehouse’s life, including his exploits as a WWI pilot. Here it is as it appeared in the October 1939 issue.
While Whitehouse’s account of his war record is entertaining, experts have attacked it as, at best, an exaggeration. And at worst, outright fabrication. It seems that the line between fiction and non-fiction was a little blurry for Arch Whitehouse.