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“Please Omit Flowers” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 26, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

With Mannheim gone, the morale of the Fokkers had waned a bit and, for the past few days, the Spads of the Ninth Pursuit Squadron had been enjoying the upper hand in the sky. But today something hit the tarmac with greater force than a Gotha egg. C flight came back tattered and bruised with some very bad news—Von Holke and his The Death’s-Head Squadron had moved in to the area! And they were looking for the pilot who had taken out Mannheim—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

There was one thing von Holke, famous German ace, wanted more than anything else—to see Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham lowered into the ground in a long, black box. And Phineas would do—well, almost anything to oblige an enemy!

“Grindin’ High” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on January 19, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Wings and Air Stories.

This week’s story features that crack pilot for World News Reel, the greatest gelatine newspaper that ever flashed on a silver screen—Nick Royce! Davis wrote twenty stories with Nick for Wings magazine from 1928-1931. Here, in his first story, Nick is mistaken for a world famous stunt flyer while trying to wrangle a job with the World news Newsreel service. And although he doesn’t make a good first impression he does come up with the goods in the end! From the January 1928 Wings, it’s Frederick C. Davis’ “Grinding’ High!”

A blazing steamer—a roaring furnace amid a vast expanse of desolate sea—and Nick Royce, fledgling, zoomed for the greatest scoop of all to prove himself a birdman!

“The Night-Raid Patrol” by Eustace Adams

Link - Posted by David on January 12, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the prolific pen of Eustace L. Adams. Born in 1891, Adams was an editor and author who served in the American Ambulance Service and the US Naval Service during The Great War. His aviation themed stories started appearing in 1928 in the various war and aviation pulps—Air Trails, Flying Aces, War Stories, Wings, War Birds, Sky Birds, Under Fire, Air Stories and Argosy. He is probably best remembered for the dozen or so airplane boys adventure books he wrote for the Andy Lane series.

Lieutenant Bull Meehan, U.S.N., was in a mood. And when Bull was in a mood, let it be said that the United States Naval Air Station at Souilly-sur-mer was a place over which the sun hid behind lowering clouds; where red wine soured on the mess table; where flatfooted gob sentries paced their beats with the snap and the devotion to duty of Imperial Household Guardsmen and where the young naval aviators gathered in the lee of the hangars and cursed with great feeling and remarkable fluency. It was at this time, Ensign Wadsworth arrived wearing his Croix de Guerre under his gold naval aviator’s badge and had a record of two years’ flying service with the French Army…

From the August 1929 issue of Sky Birds, it’s Eustace Adams’ “The Night-Raid Patrol!”

A smashing hit! Follow this plucky Yankee flier through hell-popping adventure. See him zig-zag through the air, spewing havoc and destruction, locking wings with his venomous C.O. Here is a thrilling yam from the pen of a master of tale-spinner!

 

As a bonus, here’s an article about the author himself from the Akron Beacon Journal in 1940!

Argument With Wife Started Eustace Adams’ Career; Author of Adventure Tales Now Wants To Do ‘Better’ Things

by Naomi Bender • Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio • Sunday, March 24, 1934, p.9-D

MIAMI, Fla., March 23.— Ever hear of Eustace L. Adams? Probably not, yet he’s in “Who’s Who”—there’s three inches of small type about him—he writes serials and short stories for most of the better magazines.

He’s had dozens of boys’ books published, as well as a few adventure novels. His works have been published in England. They’re called “Sovereign Thrillers” there, or, in the vernacular, “Shilling Shockers.” He’s 49 and he makes enough money out of his writing to be in the upper income brackets. He calls himself just a good “potboiler.”

“And I have no message for suffering humanity,” the athletic-looking author said, with a grin, as he puffed on a cigaret. We were seated in his workroom, at the rear of his home on Palm island overlooking the bay.

He’s a likable fellow, this Adams, with a nice grin, kindly blue eyes and a nautical air about him. That’s probably because, when he’s not working, you’ll usually find him on his tiny sailboat, for sailing is his one and only pastime.

Argument Changes Career

He was an aviator during the war. After that, he became a salesman for an advertising concern. Then fate stepped in and shoved him into a completely different profession.

It all started over an argument with his wife. Well, not exactly an argument, but it was like this:

Mr. Adams traveled quite a bit so his wife decided to take a course in journalism to keep herself busy. That started her writing short stories but, like many an amateur writer, her intentions were better than the results. She rarely, if ever, finished her stories.

So naturally, one day, friend husband said, with a very superior air: “I bet I could write one of those confession stories you’re always playing around with. I’ll show you how to do it.”

And naturally, friend wife, knowing her husband had never written a line in his life, reacted just as any wife would—with a big raspberry.

But this time the husband won the decision. He not only wrote the story, but he received a handsome check as first prize winner of a confession story contest.

This was very nice indeed, but Adams still thought a good job with an advertising concern was better than the doubtful security of writing.

Then Lindbergh made his sensational hop across the Atlantic, which might seem to have no connection with the life of Eustace L. Adams but did.

Adams had been a professional aviator; he had also won a confessional story contest. Lindbergh’s flight put a premium on stories with a factual aviation background. And the pulp magazine editor thought of Adams.

”It just happened that at the time I was one of the few literate persons who knew anything about flying,” Adams modestly explained.

He wrote a serial and five short stories in 60 days and sold them all.

From that time on, he has been a professional writer.

Starts Early, Quits Early

He says he keeps “regular office hours” but there are few offices where the employees arrive at 5 o’clock every morning. Adams works until noon each day on an electric typewriter and then he’s through for the day.

“I take only two holidays a year,” he said, “the 4th of July and Christmas.”

He reads a lot, chiefly better fiction and magazines, plenty of magazines.

“I’m just like an architect looking at other architects’ houses,” he stated. “Times change in popular fiction; each year there’s a tiny shift in fashions and I have to keep up with them if I want to sell my stuff.”

There are days when he’s wished he were a plumber or a dentist. “Anything,” he said, with a wry grin, “but what I am, which forces me to sit here at the typewriter whether I want to or not.”

And he does sit there, without doodling, for a stipulated time each day even when he can’t write a line he thinks is worth a hoot.

For, as with all authors, there are dry periods when things just won’t come through

“Then I try to remember what Edith Wharton once said. It’s helped me over many a tough spot when my mind’s as empty as a bass drum. ’Just put one word after another laboriously,’ she said, ’juat carry your hero along and keep on plodding, then all of a sudden things begin to go.’”

He works on one story at a time even though he does turn out millions of words each year. He doesn’t use a plot machine, either He’s tried it, he confesses, but it didn’t work. He sells the majority of the stories he writes. He has a little card file on which he keeps a record of each story he has written and its fate. If the story sells, the amount is marked down neatly, with the date and the publication to which it was sold. If it flopped, this is noted on cards that go into the rear of the file, marked “Rejected.” The number of these cards is very small.

Like all authors who depend on their writing for a living. Adams fears the day when he may run out of ideas or may not be able to sell his stories.

But when that day comes he hopes to have enough money so that he can sit back and relax and enjoy life.

Influence Isn’t Necessary

Here’s how he would advise those who aspire to be professional “entertainment writers.”

Study the magazines to which you want to sell your stories. “You can’t just write a story, send it around to every magazine from the pulps to the slicks and get it sold. It has to be directed to a particular publication.”

You don’t need any influence with magazine editors. If your stories are good, they’ll grab them.

“About the only break I get,” the author said, “is that if I send a story in that Isn’t quite right, I’ll get It back with something like this written on it. ‘On page 33, you stink. Or your heroine is out of line, fix her up.’ Then I revise the story, send it back and it has a good chance of being accepted.

“The chief handicap any young writer has to overcome,” Adams continued, “Is getting gun shy in front of the typewriter. Most amateurs have to cure themselves of buck fever before they can do their best. Once that’s licked, half battle is won.”

Tucked somewhere back in his mind is the thought that some day he may do a “real job of writing ”

He knows most popular authors feel that way and he’s not kidding himself.

“Naturally I would like to do better things,” he confessed frankly. “It would be swell to have real genius, like Hemingway in ‘The Killer’ or ’The Sun Also Rises,’ or Steinbeck In ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ I would like to say to myself that, if I had five years I could do something good, too. I know it may be just an illusion, but I also know that many of our best writers got their training first in the pulp magazine field.”

Heroes of the Air: Capt. F.M. West

Link - Posted by David on January 8, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 9 July 1938 issue of Flying:

CAPT. F.M. WEST WINNING THE V.C. OVER THE GERMAN LINES, AUGUST 10, 1918

ON THE morning of August 10, 1918, Captain Ferdinand Maurice West took off with his observer to strafe the German back areas. For this purpose he went far over the enemy lines and he was flying low, attacking infantry, when seven German scouts came upon him. In his Armstrong Whitworth the odds against him were enormous. Quite early in the fight an explosive bullet shattered his leg, which fouled the rudder-bar and caused the machine to fall out of control. No sooner had he lifted his leg clear than he was wounded in the other. In spite of his predicament, he managed to manoeuvre his machine so as to enable his gunner to get in sufficient bursts of fire to drive off the hostile scouts. Then, with great courage and determination, he set off for the British lines, where he landed safely. Weak from loss of blood, he fainted, but when he regained consciousness he insisted on writing his report before going to the hospital. Happily this gallant officer recovered sufficiently to remain in the service, where he is now a Wing Commander.

“Flaming Bullets” by Franklin M. Ritchie

Link - Posted by David on January 5, 2024 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another story by Franklin M. Ritchie. Ritchie only wrote aviation yarns and his entire output—roughly three dozen stories—was between 1927 and 1930. Today we have another one from the lawyer who wrote pulp stories on the side to satisfy his yen for flying. From an early issue of Sky Birds, Ritchie gives us a tale of the chivalry of the air—but from the German point of view. Enter young Oberleutnant Fritz von Hullesheim who gets himself into a real mess over his flight leaders use of incendiary bullets in his air battles.

From the April 1929 issue of Sky Birds, it’s Franklin M. Ritchie’s “Flaming Bullets!”

The amazing chivalry of the men of the air astounded the whole world during the war. They were true sportsmen, those sky-fighters. Here is a breath-taking yarn from behind the enemy lines showing how the picture looked through the eyes of German War Flyers!

“Traitor’s Tune” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 29, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

Hawker, Ball, Rhys-Davids, McCudden, Mannock—and now Mackenzie—lost. The news of Mackenzie’s disastrous loss spred quickly—youthful Major Mackenzie, the colorful British ace of Scottish ancestry, had captured the imagination of every soldier in the British trenches. They dubbed him “The Mad Major” because of his amazingly daring exploits in “ground strafing” German trenches. Lost.

Enter the Coffin Crew! Somehow The Coffin Crew turns their disastrous landing behind enemy lines to their benefit when Andy McGregor’s curiosity is peaked as the Crew try to head back across the lines unmolested.

From the pages of the January 1938 number of the British Air Stories, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s final Coffin Crew tale—”Traitor’s Tune!”

It was a Strange Clue that First Linked a Lonely Graveyard behind the Enemy’s Lines with the Mysterious Disappearance of Britain’s Greatest Air Fighters, and Led that Crazy Band of Night Bombers, the Coffin Crew, upon the Most Desperate Adventure of their Madcap Fighting Career!

“Tartan Flight” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 25, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

When it was all over, the members of the Coffin Crew realized that Corporal Andy McGregor had had good reason for his actions, and of the three things that happened any one might have provided the clue to his strange behavior. First, there was a letter postmarked Monymusk which Lieutenant Townsend remembered was a small town near Aberdeen. Secondly, Andy had shown unusual interest in an American regiment that was heading for the front line and the special interest Andy had taken in the arrival of a new officer, an American Air Corps captain. But the Coffin Crew did not remember these trifling events when Andy went “barmy”!

From the pages of the March 1937 number of the British Air Stories, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew in “Tartan Flight!”

Into the Very Shadow of Death Flew the Coffin Crew, the Craziest Band of Warriors in the Independent Air Force, to Discover the Secret of that Sinister Mound of the Dead, Hill 60, and its Strange Effect upon Corporal Andy McGregor, Aerial Gunner!

Be sure to drop by Friday for one last mad cap romp through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

“Bomber’s Luck” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 22, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

To Sergeant Ryan there was one square mile of enemy territory that must remain inviolate—yet Fate made it the objective of the most daring raid of that crazy band of bombers, the Coffin Crew! From the pages of the July 1936 issue of the British Air Stories magazine, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s “Bomber’s Luck!”

A Raid, whatever its Objective, was All Part of the Game to that Crazy Band of Bombers, the Coffin Crew of the Independent Air Force—until Fate Decreed that the Hand of Sergeant Ryan should be the One to Loose Death and Destruction upon the One Square Mile of Enemy Territory that, to Him, Must Ever Remain Inviolate!

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp, or two, through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

“Black Camels” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 15, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

The Crew were through! Armitage had been reassigned to a Camel unit that was to counter whatever it was that was downing troopships in the channel and leaving no one alive on board. But when even Armitage goes missing—that’s all the Crew can take. Thankfully Armitage is not dead, he’s merely put his foot in the middle of the whole diabolical mystery! From the pages of the August 1935 number of the British Air Stories, Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew and the “Black Camels!”

A Black Plague stalked the Channel turning Troopships into Transports of the Dead. And, in France, five Black Camels were Detailed for a Secret Mission that was Destined to give that Crazy Band of Warriors, the Coffin Crew, the Adventure of their Lives!

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

“Hostage of the Gothas” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 8, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re celebrating the Christmas Season with The Coffin Crew! Yes, Arch Whitehouse’s hell-raising Handley Page bomber crew! Piloting the bus is the mad Englishman, Lieutenant Graham Townsend, with the equally mad Canadian Lieutenant Phil Armitage serving as reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. And don’t forget the silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, usually dragging on his short clay pipe while working over the toggle board dropping the bombs with Alfred Tate and crazy Australian Andy Marks or Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

For more than a week old No.11 had been welcoming her new neighbours with T.N.T. and fulminite. For seven days they had been dealing out nightly headaches to Baron Harald von Wusthoff and his Gotha Griffons. Fed up with the nightly barrage and inability to get his Gothas in the air, the Baron engineers the capture of the Crew’s pilot and leader Graham Townsend and subsequent use as a hostage to keep the Coffin Crew at bay.

To the Coffin Crew:
      This should stop you from bombing our field any more. Your pilot will be held as hostage to ensure that fact. He will be staked out on the ground everytime your ’planes come across—so drop your bombs at your own risk, gentlemen. Perhaps now we can contend in the air on terms that are more equal.
                                          (Signed) The Golhas 33rd,
                                          Von Wusthoff, Commanding.

From the pages of the June 1935 number of the British Air Stories, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew in “Hostage of the Gothas!”

When Treachery robbed the Coffin Crew of their Dare-devil Leader, that Crazy Band of Bombers carried their Hate through the Valley of Death into the very Lair of the Gotha Griffons. And in the Air, a Handley clashed with a Gotha in a Duel for which the Forfeit was a Flaming Death!

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

Christmas with the Coffin Crew!

Link - Posted by David on December 1, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re going to be celebrating the holidays with Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew! The Coffin Crew has as checkered a history in the pulps as they did in The Great War. The Coffin Crew is, in reality just a renamed Casket Crew. Arch Whitehouse had many series characters—there was flying reporter and U.S. Naval agent Billy “Buzz” Benson; Kerry Keen—ballistics expert by day and masked aerial crime fighter by night known as The Griffon; Coffin Kirk and his simian copilot Tank; Hale Aircraft Corporation Salesman and soldier of fortune Crash Carringer; Secret Service agents Todd Bancroft and Larry Leadbeater; those two old news-hawks Tug Hardwick and Beansie Bishop; and that hell-raising crew of a Handley Page bomber, the Casket Crew! So many, that when it came time to write a series of tales for the new Air Stories magazine in England, he simply wrote more stories of the Casket Crew and just renamed them The Coffin Crew for British readers.

Whitehouse had seven stories in the pages of the British Air Stories magazine—six of them were Coffin Crew adventures. This month we’ll be featuring those six tales as Age of Aces Books brings you “Christmas with the Coffin Crew!”

The Coffin Crew man a Handley Page bomber for one of the squadrons that makes up the Independent Air Force during the First World War. The Independent Air Force was chiefly brought about by the intensive Gotha raids on England during the first six months of 1917. The public demanded reprisals, so three squadrons were banded together with the purpose of giving back to the Germans what they had been doling out to the British.

The Handley Page 0/400 was generally crewed by five people. You had your front gunner, tail gunner, pilot, reserve pilot/bombing officer, and bomber. In the Coffin Crew stories, there is generally a sixth man whose job is to relay the info from the bomb sighter to the bomber so he knows when to pull the toggles and drop the bombs. Characters come and go, but the core members of the Coffin Crew are Lieutenant Graham Townsend, the mad Englishman, is the pilot of the bus with Lieutenant Phil Armitage, equally mad Canadian, the reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. Silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, dragging on his short clay pipe, frequently worked the toggle board dropping the bombs and Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

The Casket Crew started with two stories in Airplane Stories (November 1930 & March 1931) before flying into the pages of Aces for 7 adventures in 1931 and 1932; followed by an additional 7 adventures in the pages of Wings in 1934 and 1935; and wrapping up in the final two issues of War Birds in 1937. These adventures of The Coffin Crew would slot in between the Wings and War Birds issues.

The Coffin Crew starts off with a bang—even being on the cover of the first issue of Air Stories by S. Drigin. In this first story, the Crew is joined by one Meridith Lovelace who makes quite the entrance.

Mr. Meridith Lovelace was ready for the air. And how! His beaming countenance was encased in a fur-lined leather helmet, for which about three hundred Swiss yodellers must have hunted the elusive chamoix for years to get such priceless skins. On top of this rested the finest pair of Triplex glass goggles money could buy. Their lenses were bound in silver bands and the mask-pad was downy with sleek beaver. Beneath the turned-up leather collar of a gaudy flying-coat was wrapped a scarf that would have made Joseph and his Biblical coat go out and take the veil—evidently Meridith’s school colours. The coat in question was a natty garment cut for a musical-comedy aviator, but which must have put a heavy crimp in Mr. Lovelace’s Pay and Mess Book No.54. Beneath that glistened the most polished pair of knee-length, fur-lined flying-boots ever turned out of Bond Street. And then, as if this were not enough for one evening, Mr. Lovelace sported a pair of flying gauntlets, fur-lined, of course, and a long ebony cigarette-holder that glowed at its tip like the gleam of a rapier that is just about to puncture someone’s mess department.

Despite this, the boy knows his stuff and comes through in a pinch and they soon wonder whose war their fighting. From the pages of the May 1935 number of the British Air Stories, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew in “One Man’s War!”

When the exquisite Mr. Meridith Lovelace was appointed to the toggle-board of Handley-Page bomber No. II, there were doleful prophecies of the fate that would befall the Coffin Crew—that happy band of R.F.C. warriors whose exploits were known from end to end of the Allied lines. But Mr. Lovelace had his own ideas about winning the war—and the Coffin Crew soon found themselves embarked on the craziest adventure in all their mad-cap career.

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

“Junkers–C.O.D.” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on November 24, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

For almost three weeks now the welfare of Butch McGinty had been a matter of great concern to the war birds of the Ninth Pursuit. For on the shoulders of this one hundred and seventy-five pound greaseball, once a prelim boxer in cauliflower alley across the pond, rested enough squadron pay to buy out every estaminet in Bar-le-Duc. In just two days Butch was going into the ring to battle Sergeant “ ’Arry Hingleside,” pride of the British Air Force and runner-up for the British light-heavyweight title. The problem—Butch’s training was under the guidance of one Phineas Pinkham! From the pages of the November 1931 Flying Aces, it’s Joe Archibald’s “Junkers—C.O.D.!”

King George offered five hundred pounds in good British currency to the peelot who brought down Mannheim, the famous German Ace. Oh well, business before pleasure had always been the motto of Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham.

“The Devil’s Ray” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on November 17, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of Donald E. Keyhoe—his first in the pages of Flying Aces magazine, which ran a story by Keyhoe in most of their issue from January 1930 through September 1942, featuring characters like Richard Knight, Eric Trent or Captain Philip Strange! Before Keyhoe started up the series characters, he wrote other stories of then present day aviation situations—especially situations in the Far East.

Sandwiched inbetween two early Philip Strange adventures was Keyhoe’s “The Devil’s Ray” in the December 1931 Flying Aces. The story acts as the introduction to a new series for a couple of characters—Mike Doyle and Dusty Rhoades—that never came to be. This didn’t stop Keyhoe from throwing all his best stuff into the mix. There’s a presumed dead German scientist, von Kurtz; he’s developed a diabolical radium ray—one second of the ray’s beams is enough to soften the tissues of your brain and start you on the road to madness; it’s set in Macao where anything and everything could and most likely did happen; add in an opium den, hell-bent zombie pilots, and a dwarf for good measure. What you get is pure Keyhoe genius!

“Stop those planes—before it is too late!” gasped the dying man on the deck of that huge plane-carrier. “Tell the captain Hoi Kiang’s—Macao—the dwarf—” Ten feet away a shadowy figure swiftly moved his hand—a shot rang out—and the dying man fell back as a bullet found his heart. And Mike Doyle looked up from the dead man’s side and saw six planes taking off—racing madly to the peril that was yet unknown!

Heroes of the Air: Sergt. Thomas Mottershead

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 2 July 1938 issue of Flying:

SERGT. THOMAS MOTTERSHEAD WINNING THE V.C. ON JANUARY 7, 1917

SERGEANT THOMAS MOTTERSHEAD had the distinction of being the only noncommissioned officer in the Royal Air Force to win the Victoria Cross. On January 7, 1917, he was on patrol with Lieutenant W.E. Gower, his observer, when they were engaged by several enemy scouts. Mottershead, flying an F.E.2D, at once manoeuvred his machine so as to enable Lieutenant Gower to use his gun to the best advantage. After a short but courageous fight an incendiary bullet penetrated their petrol tank, which burst into flames. Although almost overcome by the heat Sergeant Mottershead brought his machine slowly to earth, and choosing an open space where he would not injure anyone on the ground, managed to make a successful landing. Unhappily Sergeant Mottershead succumbed to his injuries the following day. Notification of the award was made in the London Gazette of February 12, 1917, with the following words: “For conspicuous bravery, endurance and skill. . . . Though suffering extreme torture from burns, Sergeant Mottershead showed the most conspicuous presence of mind in the selection of a landing place, and his wonderful endurance and fortitude undoubtedly saved the life of his observer.”

“Flying Ghosts” by Franklin M. Ritchie

Link - Posted by David on November 10, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another story by Franklin M. Ritchie. Ritchie only wrote aviation yarns and his entire output—roughly three dozen stories—was between 1927 and 1930. Today we have another one from the lawyer who wrote pulp stories on the side to satisfy his yen for flying. From the premier issue of the short lived Eagle of the Air, Ritchie tells the story of rookie pilot Eric Folsom and his rise to responsible squadron veteran.

From the October 1929 issue of Eagles of the Air, it’s Franklin M. Ritchie’s “Flying Ghosts!”

Battle on battle surged in the clouds—men leaped to death through tracer-scorched skies—but when the squadron leaders went down, Eric Folsom just had to find his wings!

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