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“Non-Commissioned” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 9, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with four of his pulp stories—one each Friday.

Before he became renown for such classics as The Left Hand of God and Lilies of The Field, Barrett honed his craft across the pages of the pulp magazines—and nowhere more so than in War Birds and it’s companion magazine War Aces where he contributed smashing novels and novelettes, True tales of the Aces of the Great War, encyclopedic articles on the great war planes as well as other factual features. Here at Age of Aces Books he’s best known for his nine Iron Ace stories which ran in Sky Birds in the mid ’30s!

This week we have another tale of sausage men—those brave individuals who risked their lives dangling in a basket below a balloon to help the artillery get an accurate range for their guns. And that basket is mighty small when you’re a non-commissioned officer hanging under the bag with Cecil Granville Terence Dwight-DeLacey! Cecil Granville had been hatched on a parade ground. His buttons shone with a holy radiance and he saw no reason why the buttons of the world should not shine with equal luster. Nor did Cecil Granville take kindly to men who slouched or drank or forgot salutes or who assumed comfortable positions. In short, Cecil Granville was the type of officer best calculated to make any branch of the service unattractive to the poor devils he outranked. Jimmy Carr, the noncom in the basket with him, was his entire command and Jimmy got all the grief which would have been heavy if distributed over an entire company. But events transpire that lead Carr to prove that not all Cecil Granville’s beliefs are true!

Rank counted for little when officer and man glared at each other in the basket of that drifting Sausage. Then came fog and Fokker to prove that courage is owned by no man.

From the January 1931 War Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Non-Commissioned!”