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“Black Flight” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 20, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories 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!

On Easter Sunday, April 9 , 1917, the greatest British offensive of the war got under way. A blazing line of steel whipped across France and into Belgium; from Croiselles to Loos, from Ypres to the Nieuport Canal and to the sea. Under the greatest artillery barrage in the history of the world a grim horde of muddy infantry hit the Hindenburg Line.

April ninth was also the day on which Second Lieutenant Teddy Campbell, R.F.C., reported for duty to the headquarters of Fifth Wing at Albert. He came up jauntily with the pinkest breeches in the entire, air force, with his monkey hat at the correct angle and with the glow of training-camp victories still upon him. His heart raced madly but he strove to capture in his expression an attitude of casual indifference to everything. Like all of his breed he succeeded merely in looking like a raw kid.

However, by the next day he was a veteran and suspected of murdering his flight leader! From the August 1931 War Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Black Flight!”

Every man but one in that flight hated their commander. When they pulled a murderous blade from his heart all were forced to shoulder the guilt, until the Reaper’s Scythe hacked the secret from one man’s wings.

Editor’s Note: The story is referred to as “The Raiders” on the cover which does not seem to be applicable to this story at all. A more apt title than “Black Flight” would have been “The Murder Flight!”

“Synthetic Ace” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories 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!

“Memphis” Mason is a synthetic ace, probably the only one of his kind in existence. Accidental aces there were aplenty in that big he war, but there was nothing accidental about Memphis Mason’s accomplishment. It was planned with an attention to detail that would do credit to a brigadier and it was attested by five of the finest fighters in the R.A.F. Those signatures are at the root of Mason’s secret sorrow to-day. At the foot of a square sheet of note-paper they bear flourishing witness to the fact that the signers witnessed the bringing down of five German planes by one Memphis Mason. Not one of those signers would have lied for anyone. They were officers and gentlemen and they saw what they said they saw. Yet, strangely enough, Memphis Mason never reached France. Therein lies a tale; one of the oddest tales to come out of the war and one that has never been told until this telling.

There was a new breed of angel in the sky one that used Vickers instead of a flaming sword; and the tracer stream of his vengeance spelled death to Prussians!

From the February 1931 War Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Synthetic Ace!”

“Phantom Eagle” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 6, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories 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!

From the Tarmac letters column in the January 1932 War Aces—”Unless we misjudge the reading taste of our readers we feel that “Phantom Eagle,” by W. E. Barrett is about the ideal story. It has that balance of action, mystery and fantasy that gives you a new set of thrills. Obviously, it was too bizarre to be entirely fiction, so we asked the author about it. As is the case with most of Barrett’s fiction, it is based on some true incident. Here is his letter:

    You’ve guessed it. There was a great deal of truth behind that yarn. We were up at Ayr, Scotland, getting the finishing touches on acrobatics. In my flight there was a young English lad of the aristocratic type so commonly turned out by Oxford. He was about the best on the field when he felt like it or thought he had an appreciative gallery watching him. He didn’t have a great deal of stomach, though.

    He wiped his landing gear off one day making a stall landing and it was a week before he got over the resultant ground loops. Most of the chaps passed him by—the white feather was a bit obvious. We were all in a little pub one night imbibing a bit when our hero got into a brawl with a sour old Scotsman. He was getting the worst of it and was looking for a way to quit when the son of the heather knocked him cold.

    A big, burly, slow-moving chap got up out of the corner and came over. He faced the Scotsman and methodically assumed a fighting pose.

    “What a Lauterman starts, a Lauterman finishes.” Those were the only words he uttered, but he gave the Scotsman an unmerciful beating. By inquiring around a bit I found the history of those brothers who were so utterly dissimilar. I learned the history of that German father and English mother—the proud loyalty to anything that a Lauterman did held by that elder brother.

    We went out to France and young Lauterman went with us. He didn’t hold up on the line in combat work and was transferred to a bombing outfit. He turned up missing in action one day and we never heard from him after that.

    The rest of the story is pure fiction. I simply pictured what would happen if those two brothers met on the lines. In the last analysis I believe the elder Lauterman would have acted just as I have him do in the story.

— W.E. Barrett.

Hell’s hinges sealed the lips of that Unteroffizier in the pilotless Spad. None could tell how that phantom transfer had been made in shell-torn skies, or the meaning of that dying speech, “What a Lauterman starts, a Lauterman finishes”

From the January 1932 War Aces, it’s a story you won’t soon forget—William E. Barrett’s “Phantom Eagle!”

“The Singing Major” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on September 11, 2020 @ 9:28 pm in

THIS week we have a story by Raoul Whitfield! 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. We’ve posted a few of his Buck Kent stories from Air Trails. While the Buck Kent stories were contemporary (1930’s), “The Singing Major” from the January 1932 issue of War Aces is set in The Great War and, in fact, based on a real person. At the time of publication, Whitfield told the editors of War Aces that the legends of this major are still talked about among the peasants in one locality. His was a temperament they couldn’t understand, hence many are the wild stories about him.

One in particular they like to tell. A ranking colonel came to the major’s field for one of those everlasting inspections. The major smilingly met him and then, in front of the whole company and while humming Madelon, he knocked the colonel down. He did it to get the court-martial that would relieve him of his command, but the audacity of the act left him scot free. The colonel excused the act on the grounds of ragged nerves from overwork and war strain. His next effort was to knock a buck private kicking, but again it didn’t work. The major went through the war with something eating him inwardly and trying all sorts of things at the most unexpected moments to get himself in clink.

He looked mild, but he was rough, tough and nasty—that Singing Major, Up and down the Front he was famous for anything from arson to mayhem until he answered his third curtain call and found the Reaper himself blocking the wings.

“Test Flight” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on June 12, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air.

After Captain Ted Strang, Yankee Flight Commander, is injured in a crash—he fights his way back to being able to fly again. Thinking it may be his best chance, he makes the most of a test flight in hopes of getting back in the game! From the August 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Test Flight!”

They clipped his wings and sent him to the rear. When the black menace of the enemy reached out to spread it’s venom over London he knew that only the magic of his guns could prove his valor.

“Hell in the Heavens” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on June 5, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Being a Navy man, Bosworth’s stories primarily dealt with the Navy. In this week’s story from the pages of War Aces, Bosworth gives us something different—the story of The Slasher!

Old-timers told of Boche pilots who flew low over marching infantry during the first year of the war, and tossed out handful after handful of these steel darts. Needle sharp, weighted at the lower portion before tapering to a deadly point, they would plummet downward to strike the helpless foot-sloggers. Now The slasher had revived the flechettes and was making hell in the heavens for the Umpty-third. Six fine men lost, four of them down over the trenches or enemy soil. Two others who managed to land their planes near the home tarmac, with cruel steel flechettes piercing their bodies, dying before they could tell how it had happened! From the pages of the April 1931 issue of War Aces, it’s “Hell in the Heavens!”

The “Slasher” scorned guns! His victims felt the deadly bite of steel darts. The hands of all men were against him but only one dared to attack.

“The Cradle of Hell” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 22, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories 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!

In this final Barrett story for the month we have the story of Captain Jim Fogarty, a Montana Irishman in the service of Britain. He was Youth triumphant, a, veteran of six weeks on the fighting Front, commander of a squadron, and officially credited with victories over sixteen enemy airmen. The twin Ds of Death and Defeat had not touched him—but when it did, they brought him straight down into the cradle of hell and nearly cost him his life!

At the mercy of those taunting Boche guns, Fogarty learned that there can be a worse end than death. Only when Death’s substitute pointed her hand at him did he know the terrific cost of his ransom.

From the October 1931 War Aces, it’s the novel you won’t forget—William E. Barrett’s “The Cradle of Hell!”

“Famous Firsts” June 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 20, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. 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!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The June 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features George Washington (who witnessed the first Air Journey in America—really!), The 94th Squadron, the 185th Pursuit Squadron and The Second Balloon Company!

“Breed of Angels” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 15, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday with one of his pulp stories 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!

Today we have the story of Captain Frederick Dietterich who is being relieved of his temporary command as captain and squadron leader to serve under a Prussian, Hauptmann von Kopf. Dietterich was an Alsatian and that had been a handicap. The Imperial Government accepted great service from Alsatians but withheld its trust while accepting them. His reputation on the other side of the line had hurt, too. He had been known as a clean sportsman. H.Q. had frowned at that. It favored officers who were feared. The last touch was his popularity with his men. The men of his jagdstaffel spoke of him as “Fritz”. The Imperial command could not associate authority with familiarity and Dietterich was going back to the flying ranks.

Von Kopf biggest problem upon assuming command is an American flyer known as The Angel who has already downed four of the Jadgstaffel’s Fokkers and seven others. When Dietterich manages to shoot Angel down, it is von Kopf who underestimates the Yankee flyer!

There was a new breed of angel in the sky one that used Vickers instead of a flaming sword; and the tracer stream of his vengeance spelled death to Prussians!

From the April 1931 War Aces, it’s William E. Barrett’s “Breed of Angels!”

“Famous Firsts” April 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. 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!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The April 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features Lt. Alan McLeod, The Sopwith Tabloid, and the Number One Battle Squadron!

Next Wednesday Barrett features George Washington (who witnessed the first Air Journey in America—really), The 94th Squadron, the 185th Pursuit Squadron and The Second Balloon Company!

“Famous Firsts” February 1932 by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 6, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS November we’re celebrating William E. Barrett’s Birthday. 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!

Among those factual features was “Famous Firsts” which ran frequently in the pages of War Aces. “Famous Firsts” was an illustrated feature much along the lines of Barrett’s “Is That a Fact?” that was running in War Birds, only here the facts were all statements of firsts. And like “Is That a Fact?” in War Birds, this feature was also taken over by noted cartoonist Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza in 1932.

The February 1932 installment, from the pages of War Aces, features Bill Thaw, Jimmy Bach and the real Captain Strange!

Next Wednesday Barrett features Lt. Alan McLeod, The Sopwith Tabloid, and the Number One Battle Squadron!

“The Flying Manual” by William E. Barrett

Link - Posted by David on November 1, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

WITH his birthday on the 16th, we’ll once again be celebrating William E. Barrett’s contributions to the pulps! 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!

To get things going, may we present a poem Barrett published in the October 1931 issue of War Aces titled “The Flying Manual”

Starting next week we’ll be once again featuring his one page factual pieces Famous Firsts from War Aces and Is That A Fact? from the pages of War Birds, both illustrated by Victor “Vic Vac” Vaccarezza and of course a few of his great stories on Fiction Fridays!

“High Boomerang” by Arthur J. Burks

Link - Posted by David on August 23, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by prolific pulpster—Arthur J. Burks! Burks was a Marine during WWI and went on to become a prolific writer for the pulps in the 20’s and 30’s. He was a frequent contributor to War Aces.

Meet Hank Flynn, second lieutenant in the air service, was six feet two in his stocking feet and could whip any German that flew. His friends had told him so, and he modestly admitted when pressed, or even when not pressed, that they probably underestimated his abilities. He wasn’t a braggart, a bluff or an ass; he was just too young for his job and too full of the spirits of life. To others the war might be an excuse to discuss deep questions of psychology; to Hank it was a grand chance to have a hell of a good time and be decorated for it.

He had flaming red hair and a hawk nose smothered in freckles, and a grin that reached from here to there. But when, out of a clear sky, he was ordered to join that peculiar outfit in the woods across the lines from Masmunster known as “The Boomerangs,” something whispered to him that maybe there mightn’t be so much to smile about after he reported. From the pages of the July 1932 War Aces, it’s Arthur J. Burks’ “High Boomerang!”

Hank Flynn thought that a bag of ten gave him the right to give the skipper a few points, but he didn’t know that the best boomerangs always fly in a curve!

Humpy & Tex in “Flight of the Goofus Bird” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on January 4, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Bosworth wrote a couple dozen stories with Humpy & Tex over the course of ten years from 1930 through 1939, mostly in the pages of War Aces and War Birds. The stories are centered around the naval air base at Ile Tudy, France. “Humpy” Campbell, a short thickset boatswain’s mate, first class who was prone to be spitting great sopping globs of tabacco juice, was a veteran seaplane pilot who would soon rate two hashmarks—his observer, Tex Malone, boatswain’s mate, second class, was a D.O.W. man fresh from the Texas Panhandle. Everybody marveled at the fact that the latter had made one of the navy’s most difficult ratings almost overnight—but the answer lay in his ability with the omnipresent rope he constantly carried.

Humpy & Tex find themselves down in the ocean with a dead motor, their only hopes of rescue depend upon their beloved Goofus Bird! From the pages of the une 1930 issue of War Aces it’s Allan R. Bosworth’s—”Flight of the Goofus Bird!”

Down with a dead motor on the cold waters of the Atlantic they were at the mercy of the U-boat that lay in wait. Humpy and Tex faced a terrible death, but then there was their beloved Goofus bird—

“100 Minutes of Gas” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on December 7, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The Plan was a simple one: Strip down a Nieuport to it’s barest essentials in order to nip across the lines and get the low down on Germany’s latest plane—the Pfalz. The plane was stripped so down that it was filled with only 100 minutes of gas, which left only ten extra minutes for trouble. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned! From the July 1932 issue of War Aces, it’s O.B. Myers’ “100 Minutes of Gas!”

It took a crazy man to fly into that trap; but when be found that he was the bait, Speck had them singing, “—and we learned about flying from him”

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