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“The Mail Must Go Through!” By Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 9, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Here it is—the first of a thrilling series of True Air Adventures—amazing yarns based on the real adventures of airmen all over the world today! This month, read the true story of what happened to a pilot who stuck to the motto of the Air Mail—”The Mail Must Go Through!”

The Mail Must Go Through

By Arch Whitehouse (Sky Birds, March 1933)

OVER the facade of the New York Post Office building runs a word motto reading to the effect that, in spite of wind and weather, the postal department must remain true to its trust and carry out the business of the Postal Department. But the Air Mail pilot has chopped it all down to a few words: “The Mail Must Go Through!”

It is upon this motto that an almost unbelievable esprit de corps has been founded by the men who carry Uncle Sam’s mail over the skyways.
Things have changed a lot in the past few years, as far as flying the mail goes. The ships are better and faster. The motors are more reliable.

The routes are carefully marked with flashing beacons every ten miles. The airports are no longer cleared cow pastures with a shed at one end. Radio has come to guide the knights of the muzzle-mike. An efficient meteorological system has been worked out, and pilots are warned every few minutes what weather they can expect ten miles ahead.

Above all, every pilot is provided with the airman’s life-preserver—the parachute. If things go wrong, all he has to do is to cut the switch and step off. A billowing canopy of silk blossoms out above him, and he descends slowly to the ground.

But there are airmen in the Air Mail who balk at stepping off and letting the mail go down to a splintering crash—perhaps to a flaming finish. There may be valuable papers in those bags. There may be some widow’s pension stowed away. A love-letter, perhaps, reconciling two youngsters who have been parted by a petty quarrel. There may be the evidence that will save an innocent man from the chair. Or, perhaps, just a letter to some old lady who waits patiently for a happy word from her boy, who has gone away to try his fortunes in some other part of the country. One never knows what’s in the mail bag.

John Wolf, an Air Mail pilot, took off from Cleveland one night for Newark, 390 miles away. In the back pit of his Douglas mail ship lay 900 pounds of Uncle Sam’s choicest postal cargo. Pilot Wolf had often wondered what was in this mail. He’d pondered over it many times as he pounded his way across “the hump” of the Allegheny Mountains.

The airmen have named the hump the Mail Pilots’ Graveyard, for the whole trail is scored and marked with the numberless crashes that have occurred there. Pilot Wolf often wondered whether it was worth it. Then he’d stare at the insignia on the side of his ship—”U. S. Mail”—make an imaginary salute, and climb into the cockpit.

But on this night in question—about a year ago, to be exact—Pilot Wolf would have had all the excuse in the world for saying, “Bad weather upstairs. No use risking a crash tonight.” For there was a welter of fog and rain sweeping across the Cleveland field when he went out to the throbbing Douglas. He had been inside the operations office to look at the weather report coming through from Newark—and it was none too encouraging.

But Wolf took off. The mail had to go through!

Fifteen minutes after he took off, his radio set went dead. This would have been sufficient for most people, but Wolf kept on. There might be a break near Newark. After all, there were 900 pounds of mail in the back pit. He climbed to 12,000 feet to make sure that he’d clear the hump, but ice began to form on his wings, changing the camber and choking the controls. He had to go down lower and risk a crash in the Mail Pilots’ Graveyard.

For four hours he flew, averaging about 115 miles per hour, but no sign of Newark could he find. He was above a fog blanket that shrouded everything. On eastward he continued to push—hoping for a break. His ship bounced and pounded against the icy winds. New and amazing things happened to his instruments, and at times he found himself flying on his back. He kept fighting the Douglas, got back on the course and peered down again. No sight of Newark—or of anything else.

“Look here, John,” Pilot Wolf must have argued with himself. “You only have so much gas in this boiler. How about going down and taking a chance? Or how about slipping off and taking to the silk? Why risk your neck for 900 pounds of mail that is probably only bills, advertisements or dunning letters?”

But he glared at himself in the reflections cast by the dials of the in struments and shook his head. He had to go on.

He finally realized that there was none too much fuel left, however, and common sense prevailed.

He went down—down—down until he felt that he must crash into some buildings. Then he steadied himself and released a parachute flare. The big flaming ball of fire seeped away and went down farther and then, Pilot Wolf saw the cruel, reaching whitecaps of the Atlantic Ocean!
“Whew! Where am I?” he growled yanking back on his stick and pulling the Douglas out of the glide.

Turning westward, he tore back toward land, expecting any minute to find himself impaled on the lofty masts of some fog-bound transatlantic liner. He sat tense for nearly half an hour and raced westward peering over the cowling into the blanket of fog.

Then, a light! A dim but heaven sent gleam twinkled ahead. Pilot Wolf shot his Douglas for it with every ounce of power in the big Liberty engine. It was a lighthouse, he could tell by the time of the flashes. He tore up toward it and recognized it as Montauk Light on Long Island. Evidently he had passed over Newark without seeing it.

Now should he bail out? He was over ground, he was certain of that. There was not much gas left, so it would be wise to get out while the getting was good. No, the mail must go through!
He circled the village twice, seeking a place to land. He couldn’t get back to Newark now. He dropped more flares in an effort to find a level space to set the big mail ship down. There was nothing in sight.

Then one of those things happened that people think can happen only in fiction. Some one—a member of the village fire department—was air-minded enough to realize what was the matter. He probably had been a reader of a good aviation magazine—like Sky Birds, for instance. The pounding of the big Liberty up there in the soup and the trickling pathetic flares coming down through the fog told their story.

A fire alarm was sounded, and all the volunteer firemen were sent to the widest fairway of the North Fork Country Club. The air-minded fireman, who goes nameless, superintended the placing of the cars so that their headlights lit up a wide swath of level turf.

Wolf, amazed at the sudden appearance of this uncharted landing field, took a chance. He cut his motor and glided down to a perfect landing—just as the idling Liberty spluttered its last gasp. The tanks were dry.

Wolf slept at the firehouse that night, after seeing the mail safely aboard a train for New York. The next morning he calmly told his story to the air-minded fireman who had unconsciously adopted the Air Mail motto, “The Mail Must Go Through!”

Coming to PulpFest…

Link - Posted by David on July 22, 2013 @ 9:19 pm in

PulpFest 2013 gets underway on Thursday, July 25th and the whole Age of Aces crew will be in attendance. We’ll be promoting our new book—our biggest yet—Battling Grogan and the Dragon Squadron. “Battling” Grogan is an American flyer in command of the Chinese Dragon Squadron fighting to repel the invading Imperial Japanese. The stories are written by Robert M. Burtt who is probably best known as co-creator and writer of such radio classics as The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, Captain Midnight, and Sky King.

Since we wouldn’t have the third Philip Strange book ready in time for the convention, we decided to try to get together a special book just for sale exclusively at the convention. In looking around at what we had scanned and ready to go, we hit upon Coffin Kirk by the prolific Arch Whitehouse. These six stories of Coffin Kirk and his trained-gorilla tail-gunner Tank and their fight against “The Cirlcle of Death” were available in our Age of Aces Presents section a few years ago. We removed them when we were intending on releasing them as an eBook online so it seemed only natural to put them out as a print book.

We had initially planned to offer the book only at the convention, but we thought we’d make it available on Amazon for the week of the convention for those who can’t attend, but would still like to pick up a copy of the book.

new releasesArt Director Chris Kalb show off our two new titles.

So stop by our table and meet the crew and check it out or pick up any of our other titles at special Pulpfest discounts. If you can’t make it—keep your eyes on ageofaces.net to find out more about our new books. And hurry over to Amazon where, for a limited time, you can pick up a copy of The Adventures of Coffin Kirk!

“They Had What It Takes – Part 33: Arch Whitehouse” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on August 24, 2011 @ 9:12 pm in

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.

“T.N.T. Transport” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on July 8, 2010 @ 7:12 pm in

Secret Service agent and flying reporter Buzz Benson approached Sunkist Airport in his slick speedy Corsair for the worst assignment he ever had. Ten days before, three gigantic Boeing transports had vanished from the sky—never to appear again. Was it another Jap plot or something more mysterious?

“The Complete Adventures of Coffin Kirk” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on April 29, 2010 @ 12:01 pm in

 The six adventures of Arch Whitehouse’s “Coffin Kirk” appeared in Flying Aces from October 1937 to June 1941. They featured Brian “Coffin” Kirk’s battles against the evil Circle of Death. Kirk is ably assisted by his simian sidekick Tank. All of these stories have been available for dowload on our site, but we have decided to put them together in one PDF so that our loyal readers can access them more easily.

“Raider Wings” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on April 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am in

Tug Hardwick’s sleek Northrop was beautiful as it hurtled over the shimmering Sulu Sea—beautiful, that is, until its vitals were poisoned with whistling lead! Anyhow, this hot interview was something the Flying-Reporter  hadn’t expected. Why, before his story was written it was getting punctuated—with bullets! But bullets or no. Tug was bent on tracking down his man. And he knew he was on the right track when a booming laugh brought forth—a little ship that wasn’t there!

“The Flying Fortress” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on February 18, 2010 @ 2:48 pm in

A Yank pilot said too much at a Paris estaminet, a British airman said too little on the way to the Front. And a battle that began at twelve thousand feet hurtled to a hangar door. Will this be the end of The Casket Crew?

“Hawks From the Smoke” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on November 25, 2009 @ 1:27 pm in

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!

“Rip-Cord Ruse” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on November 4, 2009 @ 9:49 pm in

The Griffon is in the air to solve another high flying mystery. When is a good dollar counterfeit? That was only one of the baffling riddles that faced Kerry Keen after he attended that fashionable night club—by request. Sure, bad money is queer, but some things are a lot queerer—getting offered half a million bucks just for putting on a 200-mile air express act, for instance. Certainly, that was one for the book. And as for the silk-hatted man of mystery who had invaded Graylands—well, that was already in the book!

“Hell Over Hainan” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on October 7, 2009 @ 4:11 pm in

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.

“Guile of the Griffon” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on September 30, 2009 @ 8:42 am in

Join Kerry Keen and Barney O’Dare as “The Griffon” returns with another exciting adventure.

Down through the ebony night dived a strange, black amphibian. Glistening in the reflected light of the great Montauk beam, it glided to the water and taxied to a ramp where two men stood in the shadows. And from the cockpit of that eerie craft crawled a hideously deformed creature—a man whose very existence was a cruel mockery of the grave. “I built—” he croaked, leering at the taller man, “not one plane, but two. The other,” he continued in a queer cackle, “went to a man whom you, Keen, will kill—though as yet you’ve never even heard of him . . . .”

Arch Whitehouse: WWI Pilot and Pulp Writer

Link - Posted by Bill on September 7, 2009 @ 1:05 pm in

whitehouse1 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.

War Skies of Shanghai by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on September 2, 2009 @ 10:01 pm in

Reporter/Flying Ace Billy “Buzz” Benson returns with a new adventure. Westward toward Shanghai, where smoldered a fire of war that threatened to blaze forth and enflame the whole world, a Yankee submarine cut through the waters of the Pacific. Deep in its hold was the Sea Hawk, the plane chosen to carry Buzz Benson straight through the Japanese air zone with secret orders that would mean war or peace. But not twenty cable lengths away steamed a Japanese sub, and in its hold was another Sea Hawk—awaiting the moment when Benson should begin his mad air race to Shanghai!

“Death Flies to Fukien” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Chris on August 11, 2009 @ 12:30 pm in

This is the second story in Arch Whitehouse’s series about flying newspaperman Tug Hardwick. Tug and his sidekick, Beansie Bishop, knew where they could find Old Man Trouble if they wanted him. Shanghai was the place—for the welcome they’d get there would be a rousing one profusely punctuated with bullets! But meanwhile, Old Man Trouble had grown tired of waiting for them. That was something those two Yanks didn’t know—until a man fell at their feet with a knife in his back!

“Shanghai Snare” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on May 8, 2009 @ 6:08 pm in

In December 1937 Arch Whitehouse introduced a new character to the readers of Flying Aces. His name was Tug Hardwick. Tug was a fighter ace and test pilot for the US Air Service until a plane he had certified crashed and killed his brother. He gave up flying and became a correspondent for the Amalgamated News Service. His first assignment was in war torn Shanghai. It was there that he met portly “Beansie” Bishop, who also worked in China for Amalgamated. The two of them became fast friends and stuck together through all kinds of spine tingling adventures, starting with “Shanghai Snare”:
Just why had he got mixed up in that maddening war-correspondent game in bloody, shell-racked Shanghai? Tug Hardwick pondered over that question. But before he had time to answer it, Fate sent that hardy young newsman to cover an amazing story which wasn’t listed in his assignment book. The stage was set for that story when Tug dropped into the Astor House—and the bang-up action began when a bomb dropped in after him.

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