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“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 25: Lt. Sumner Sewall” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on August 30, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Starting in the May 1932 issue of Flying Aces and running almost 4 years, Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Frandzen would feature a different Ace that rose to fame during the Great War. This time around we have one of America’s most famous Aces—Lt. Sumner Sewall!

Sumner Sewall rose to be Flight Commander in the 95th Aero Squadron. He is credited with seven victories and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de guerre and the Order of the Crown of Belgium. Sewall was the first American aviator whose machine had been sent down in flames and lived to tell the tale!

After the war, he worked in a variety of jobs, including being an executive with Colonial Air Transport and a director of United Air Lines before becoming an alderman in Bath, Maine in 1933. From there he was elected to the state legislature as a representative in 1934; then senator in 1936 and being named President of the State Senate with his electoral win in 1938. All this culminated when he was elected govenor of the great state of Maine and served for two terms.

After stepping down as governor, Sewall became president of American Overseas Airlines for a year, then served as the military governor of Württemberg-Baden from 1946 to 1947. After trying for the state senate again in 1948 and finishing a distant third, Sewall moved into banking becoming the president of Bath National Bank in the 1960’s.

He passed away January 26th, 1965.

My Most Thrilling Sky Fight: Lieut. Alan McLeod, R.F.C.

Link - Posted by David on March 8, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Amidst all the great pulp thrills and features in Sky Fighters, they ran a true story feature collected by Ace Williams wherein famous War Aces would tell actual true accounts of thrilling moments in their fighting lives! This time we have Canada’s Lieutenant Alan McLeod’s most thrilling sky fight!

Alan McLeod was one of the three Canadian airmen winning the coveted award of the Victoria Cross, the highest honor bestowed on its fighting heroes by the British Empire, He was the youngest flyer ever to receive the honor, having it pinned on his chest in appropriate ceremonies at Buckingham Palace a few months before his nineteenth birthday.

Whereas most of the other British airmen who received this coveted honor accomplished their deeds of heroic valor in fast, single-seater fighting machines, young McLeod used a heavy, unwieldy, Armstrong-Whitworth two-seater which was poorly equipped for air combat. But Alan McLeod used it just as though it were a pursuit ship, never running from a possible chance lo shoot it out with enemy planes in the air, no matter how heavy the odds were against him. The fight he tells about below is one of the great epics of the air. McLeod was wounded six times, but recovered, only to succumb to influenza five days before the armistice was signed.

 

DOWN IN FLAMES

by Lieut. Alan McLeod, R.F.C. • Sky Fighters, June 1934

WHEN zooming up after dropping my last bomb, I saw a Hun Fokker, coming at me from the rear. I swung my machine up on one wing, gave my observer, Hammond, in the back seat, a chance at it. His first burst of Lewis fire was effective. It went fluttering down like a falling leaf, swaying from side to side.

I climbed for altitude then. At 5,000 feet the sun broke through the clouds. A flight of eight scarlet-painted Fokker tripes burst through with the sun. One dived, then zoomed up under my tail. I banked steeply. Hammond got his guns on it just as the Hun let go with a burst that crackled through the lower wing just beyond my head. It went spiralling down, a black smoke trail pluming behind it.

The seven other Fokker tripes dived in with a vengeance then, attacking from all sides, and simultaneously! The air was full of German tracer. My wings were sieved. Flying wires snapped, coiled up like watch springs. I felt something like a hot knife slide across my stomach. A red shape flashed down in front of me. I pressed my gun triggers, sent in a withering burst of lead that seemed to splatter like a pinwheel as it hit. More struts on my plane cracked, shattered, sheared in two from Spandau bursts. A sharp pain stabbed me in the groin. But the red Fokker went to pieces in the air, tumbled down beneath me.

I glanced back. Tracer streams from two Fokkers were pouring at Hammond. One of his arms was hanging limply. Blood saturated his mitten. He was aiming his Lewis’ with the other hand. I went around in a sweeping, climbing turn, to get him above the attackers. Our plane groaned, crackled some more. More holes appeared like lightning in the upper wing, the lower. Another sharp pain stabbed through my lower right leg. A burst of German tracer found my petrol tank, it puffed into flames. I got in a final shot at a red Hun who swept across my path. He went down, out of control.

The heat from the burning tank lashed back in my face. Flames, choking smoke swirled in the cockpit. I loosened my belt, stepped out on the lower left wing. Holding on with my left hand, moving the stick with my right, I threw the machine into a steep side-slip, blowing the flames and smoke away from us.

Two Fokkers slid down with us, firing as they came.

Hammond, weak and reeling in the back pit, got one of them just before we hit the ground, then climbed up on the top wing. The machine crashed, thudded, bounced, throwing me off. Hammond was swept back into his pit. Flames and smoke enveloped him, the whole machine.

I raced back, pulled him out, carried him away from the fire. Bullets thudded around us, machine-gun and rifle bullets from the Huns in their trenches, not two hundred yards away,

I kept going away from them until a deep blackness descended. That is all I remember.

“Sky Fighters, June 1934″ by Eugene M. Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on March 7, 2016 @ 6:00 am in

Eugene M. Frandzen painted the covers of Sky Fighters from its first issue in 1932 until he moved on from the pulps in 1939. At this point in the run, the covers were about the planes featured on the cover more than the story depicted. On the May 1934 cover, Frandzen featured the German Junkers and D.H.4!

ON THE cover this month th_SF_3405you will find the German Junkers biplane and the American Liberty-motored D.H.4. The D.H.4 was our one and only contribution to the front. That plane took nearly a year to produce.

It was designed after the famous British D.H., which earlier in the war; could stand up to any of the enemy planes. But the war moved fast. The Germans and the Allies changed and improved their planes so often that it was hard for this country to keep up with the advancement made on the other side of the pond.

A Difficult Task

We sent over commissions to nose around and pick out a few types of planes which could be put into mass production in this country, built around the bulky twelve-cylinder Liberty motor.

It took the boys on the commission several weeks to make up their minds as to which of the Allies* planes could be copied and be satisfactory. When they finally got back to Washington and got the designers busy it took three weeks of night and day work for them to complete their work.

They Were Obsolete

Just as the duplicate sets of plana were ready to go to the manufacturers word came from abroad that the planes the Americans planned to build were obsolete. Another commission hopped the ferry for Europe and went through the same stunt.

Again the designs were drawn; again they were pitched over because they were out-dated. Finally, after nearly a year of discouraging experimenting and disappointments the cumbersome American D. H. 4 started to roll off on the production line in an endless stream. In the first quarter of 1918 the first shipments were delivered to the Yanks at the front. They took ‘em, gritted their teeth and did what they could with a type of ship which the British had abandoned as obsolete some months before.

There were 23,000 screws holding that old D.H. crate of ours together, also 600 separate pieces of wood in a single wing; possibly that’s one of the reasons that delayed the boys back home from delivering the planes before they were listed in the antique class.

Well, the pilot and observer in the D.H. on the cover got a break when they got in a scrap with the German Junkers biplane. It was also a crate of earlier vintage, but a good one. The Junkers outfit was associated with the Fokker Company. This thick-winged job shows the Fokker influence.

The Fight Is On!

Returning from a reconnaissance expedition the D.H. ran across the Junkers. Both pilots decided that he could outsmart the other; the fight was on. The planes, evenly matched, tore in at each other like a couple of hungry wolves, ripped bullets through each other’s wings and squared off for another round. Again and again they tangled.

The D.H. was getting the worst of it. Suddenly a Fokker D.7 comes in from the distance. The Yank gunner spots it, points it out to his pilot. But a passing Frenchman in a Spad sees the set up and kicks his fleet plane into the show. He is in a position to pop the Fokker down. The Junkers zooms up under the D.H.’s tail.

It Looks Like Curtains

It looks like curtains for the Americans. The Yank pilot flips his tail down. The German tries to miss a collision. He succeeds, but the tip of his propeller blade grazes the aft part of the D.H.’s fuselage; just barely touches it, but that is all that is necessary.

Bingo, his prop flies to pieces. He is gone, through, licked. And the D.H., with its 23,000 screws, shakes its ruffled tail feathers and sails proudly for home—victorious.

The Ships on The Cover
Sky Fighters, ,June 1934 by Eugene M. Frandzen
(The Ships on The Cover Page)

“No Fuelin’!” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 30, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” You heard right! That marvel from Boonetown, Iowa is back to square off against the Mad Butcher of the German Air Corps—Hauptmann Heinz, but not before getting even with the guys at the Ninth for all the razzing he’s been getting lately.

Wilson found a green snake in his bed. Bump Gillis had an unhappy visit from a snapping turtle. And Captain Howell sat up until three a.m. digging iron filings out of the soles of his feet. The boys had been picking on Phineas—and the Pinkham revenge had begun. No foolin’!

“Lives of the Aces in Pictures – Part 24: Captain Quigley” by Eugene Frandzen

Link - Posted by David on October 21, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Back with another of Eugene Frandzen’s “Lives of the Aces in Pictures” from Flying Aces Magazine. The series ran for almost four years with a different Ace featured each month. This time we have the June 1934 installment which pictorialized the life of that great Canadian Ace—Captain Francis Granger Quigley!

Private Quigley enlisted in December 1914 and served with the 5th Field Company of the Canadian Army Engineers on the Western Front. He transfered to the RFC in September of 1917 where he was assigned to the 70th Squadron RFC. By this time he had made the rank of Captain and flying a Sopwith Camel, he is credited with 33 victories! He earned the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and the Military Cross with Bar!

Wounded in March of 1918 when a bullet shattered his ankle, he was sent to Le Touquet Hospital to recover. He finished his convalescence in Canada where he served as an instructor at Amour Heights. Requesting a return to action in France when his ankle had heeled, Guigley came down with the influenza on the way back to England. He died in a hospital two days after his ship docked in Liverpool.