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Heroes of the Air: G.S.M. Insall by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on January 2, 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 7 May 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. G. S. M. INSALL WINNING THE V.C. IN FRANCE, NOVEMBER 7, 1915

LIEUTENANT Insall was flying a Vickers “Gun Bus” with A.M. T.H. Donald as his gunner on the occasion of the action which won him the V.C. He was on patrol when he saw and pursued an enemy machine. Insall gave his gunner several chances to fire and their adversary was brought down. Not content with this, Insall returned and dropped an incendiary bomb on the German aeroplane to ensure its destruction. Making for home, Insall was forced to land only five hundred yards behind the British lines, whereupon the German artillery opened fire, intent upon completely demolishing the “Gun Bus.” The two flyers took refuge in a shell hole until nightfall, when they crept out to examine their machine. A new petrol tank was needed. They sent for one and fitted it. Other minor repairs were carried out and a digging party was requisitioned from the trenches to level out a runway for a take-off. As dawn came the Vickers rumbled off and winged its way into the air, before the enemy artillery had time to fire a shot. The award of the Victoria Cross was later conferred on Insall for “most conspicuous bravery, skill and determination.”

Heroes of the Air: A. Jerrard by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 19, 2022 @ 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 30 April 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. A. JERRARD WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS BEHIND THE GERMAN LINES, MARCH, 1918

LIEUTENANT Jerrard was, strangely enough, the only pilot to win a V.C. for an exploit in a Camel. It was on March 30, 1918, that Jerrard found himself a few hundred feet above an enemy aerodrome after just having shot down a German machine. What he saw on looking down would have sent another scurrying home to the British lines. No less than nineteen aeroplanes were preparing to take off. Jerrard acted quickly and decisively. Sweeping low over the aerodrome, he opened fire on the machines and as the first one took off he sent it hurtling back to crash on its own aerodrome. Other machines soon took off and attacked one of the pilots in Jerrard’s patrol. Jerrard at once went to his assistance and sent his third machine that day into the dust. By this time he had received several wounds, but he continued to fight until he was overcome by sheer weight of numbers and forced to land. In spite of his wounds and forced landing he escaped with his life. The award of the V.C. followed on May 1, and it was certainly deserved.

Heroes of the Air: Lieut W.A. Bishop

Link - Posted by David on December 8, 2022 @ 5:35 pm 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 14 May 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. W. A. BISHOP IN COMBAT WITH FIVE GERMAN SCOUTS

THE PICTURE below depicts a spectacular incident in the career of Capt. William Avery Bishop, V.C., which took place the day before he was due to go home on leave. He was on patrol when he was suddenly attacked by five Pfaltz D.12, three-gun scouts. Fifteen guns against two! But Bishop was fearless. Within a few minutes he had sent four of the enemy planes hurtling to the ground in flames. On his way home he tried his hand at a little ground-straffing and later engaged and defeated a two-seater. The event for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross was equally thrilling, although carefully planned. It was June, 1917. Bishop, in the early morning, flew over to a German aerodrome and roused the pilots with the roar of his engine. As he had hoped, the German airmen dashed out to their machines to give combat. As the first took off. Bishop was on his tail and shot him down. The second received the same treatment. Several machines now took off together. Bishop waited to dispose of only one more and then set off for home and breakfast. Notification of his award appeared in the London Gazette of August 11th, 1917.

Heroes of the Air: W. Leefe Robinson by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 5, 2022 @ 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 23 April 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. W. LEEFE ROBINSON WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS AT WOOLWICH ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1915

AT ABOUT one o’clock on the morning of September 3, 1915, the searchlights picked out a Schutte-Lanz airship making its way over Woolwich. Anti-aircraft shells were bursting all round it with no effect. Lt. W. Leefe Robinson, who had already been in the air some two hours, saw it and gave chase. He was flying a B.E.2.C., and, despite the fact that he was in great danger from “Archies,” he eventually overtook the raider and attacked it. A thorough peppering along the underside of the airship did no apparent damage.

Robinson returned to the attack and concentrated one drum of ammunition under its rear. He had hardly finished the drum when he saw that the airship had taken fire. It crashed at Cuffley. On the fifth of that month, Lt. Robinson was awarded the V.C. for “most conspicuous bravery.” He later flew in France, where he was taken prisoner. The rigours of a German prison camp undermined his health, and on his return to England he fell a victim to influenza. Like many other heroes, he died an uneventful death.

Heroes of the Air: F.H. McNamara by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on November 21, 2022 @ 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 16 April 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. F.H. McNAMARA WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS, PALESTINE, MARCH 1918.

ON MARCH 17, 1918, Lt. McNamara, flying a Martinsyde, was taking part in the bombing of a train in Palestine, when he saw Capt. D.W. Rutherford’s machine coming down among the Turks. It had been hit and, although not out of control, Rutherford was forced to land. McNamara landed at once and taxied to his rescue. The Turks opened rapid fire and McNamara was severely wounded in the leg. Seeing the approaching “Tinsyde,” Rutherford dashed up to it and clambered aboard as it shot past. Fortunately, as it happened, he did not wait to set fire to his machine. When McNamara opened up the throttle
he found that his damaged foot had jammed the rudder-bar. The machine swerved round and crashed. Turkish troops were approaching fast. The two struggled out of the wreckage and ran back to Rutherford’s machine, McNamara hobbling along as best he could. The prop, was swung. Miraculously the engine started. They leaped aboard—McNamara in the pilot’s cockpit—and took off over the heads of the Turks without further hurt in spite of concentrated rifle-fire. The London Gazette of June 8 announced that Lt. McNamara had been awarded the Victoria Cross for “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.”

“Happy Hunning Ground” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on September 30, 2022 @ 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!

American military moguls were miserable! For along the Western Front, the Krauts were doing a Russian business which threatened to give the Potsdam Potentate a corner on the Frog real estate market. But meanwhile there was one thing that neither Chaumont nor the Wilhelmstrasse had figured on. This was Phineas Pinkham’s skin game—a redskin game that was a cinch to corner a flock of squarehead scalps!

“Sky Writers, February 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on September 21, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the February 1938 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

Heroes of the Air: Richard Bell Davies by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on September 12, 2022 @ 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.

Serge Drigin (or Sergie, Sergey or Serge R. Drigin) was born in Russia on 8 October 1894.
Without any formal training, Drigin managed to become a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s. He did illustrate at least one book in his native Russia in 1919—E. Venskii’s Skazka o rybakie I rybkie—before becoming big illustrating British magazines like 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.

For a few years in the mid 30s he tried his hand at comics, drawing varioius episodes for Film Picture Stories and the serial “The Flying Fish” in Sparkler. By the early 40s he was working for War Artists & Illustrators who supplied material to War Illustrated, Sphere and other such magazines.

After the war, when paper shortages made it hard for illustrators to find work, Drigin turned to comic strips producing many one off strips from 1947 to 48 for the likes of Scion, Ltd, before hooking up with J.B. Allen in 48 and producing a number of series for his Comet, Sun and Merry-Go-Round comics until 49 and moving into contributing features and artwork to various annuals including Swift and Eagle.

Drigin was naturalized in 1932, married three times and died in 1977.

From the 2 April 1938 issue of Flying:

SQUADRON-COMMANDER RICHARD BELL DAVIES WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS AT FERRIJIK JUNCTION, NOVEMBER 19, 1915.

TWO officers were concerned in this gallant action, Commander Bell Davies and Flight Sub-Lieutenant G. F. Smylie, and the incident occurred during a raid on the borders of Bulgaria. Both officers were flying Nieuport Scouts. Near the objective Smylie’s machine was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and although he was compelled to come down, he first flew over his target and dropped nearly all his bombs. Having done this he landed in a marsh and at once took steps to destroy his machine to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. Looking up, he saw to his dismay that Commander Bell Davies was preparing to land with the obvious intention of picking him up. Commander Bell Davies was, of course, landing as close as possible to the now burning machine, unconscious of the fact that an unexploded bomb was still in it. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie thereupon acted with great courage and presence of mind. Running up close to the bomb he fired at it with his revolver until he caused it to explode. By this time enemy troops were rushing forward to make the airmen prisoners, firing as they ran. Nevertheless, Commander Bell Davies landed near his companion on the ground, and under the very rifles of the enemy picked him up in his machine and carried him home to safety. The award of the V.C. appeared in the London Gazette on January 1st, 1916, and concluded with these words: “This was a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry.”

“Skyway Robbery” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on August 26, 2022 @ 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!

The Boonetown miracle man, Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, and his unwitting hut mate Bump Gillis find themselves down behind Boche lines only to run into a fellow Boonetownian, but one who’s fighting for the Germans!

You can’t blame a fellow for wanting to make his mark. But over on the Heinie side of the Big-Fuss fence, marks were scarce. Yes, and when Phineas staged that “Bank Night of Germany” and hit the jack plot—they were even scarcer!

“Heir-O-Bats” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on July 29, 2022 @ 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!

Berlin’s big guy—Kaiser Bill, by name—had suddenly taken a decided interest in a postage-stamp Balkan state named Pandemonia. That was because a wizard named Mymugiz Grotescu kept shop there—an hombre said to be 10½ times smarter than an inventor named Edison. Only that high Heinie named Bill counted a little too heavily on a dope named Carol Fzog. What’s more, he completely forgot about a gazabo named Phineas Pinkham!

Heroes of the Air: Major L.G. Hawker

Link - Posted by David on June 19, 2022 @ 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 28 May 1938 issue of Flying:

MAJOR L. G. HAWKER WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS OVER THE GERMAN LINES, JULY 25, 1915

IT WAS on July 25, 1915, that Major Lanoe George Hawker was on reconnaissance over enemy territory. He was flying a Bristol Scout when he saw a German two-seater. He at once engaged it with such fury that it turned tail and fled. Continuing on his way, he encountered another two-seater. This time he was more lucky, for he sent his opponent down out of control. His third victory that day over yet another two-seater, was gained on the way home. It was almost dark at the time and the German machine must have presented a grim picture as it spun down in flames. These three successes were all the more surprising because Major Hawker, at that time a Captain, was armed only with a French cavalry carbine, while his opponents were armed with machine-guns. For his gallantry on that day he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Notification was made on the 24th of August in the London Gazette, for “ most conspicuous bravery and very great ability on the 25th July, 1915.” This fearless airman finally fell to the guns of Richthofen, but only after a long and bitter engagement which in the end was decided by the German’s superior equipment—as Richthofen himself admitted.

“Cocarde Sharpers” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on May 27, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” You heard right! 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. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Looks like the Boomtown Miracle Man is public enemy No.1. Everyone wants Phineas Pinkham dead! The Germans are looking for him and bombing the 9th unmercifully in hopes of hitting their mark. As a result, everyone at the 9th Pursuits would like Pinkham to expire. Even his girl, Babbette wants that fiery-headed Yankee Peeg dead. What’s a Pinkham to do? Find out in Joe Archibald’s latest, larrupin’ laff fest—from the September 1938 Flying Aces, Phineas Pinkham puts the “poke” in poker in “Cocarde Sharpers!”

“Get das Pingham!” war-cried the flocks of squarehead flyers facing Bar-le-Duc. And when they proceeded to pour seven months’ output of Krupp poison onto the drome of the fighting Ninth in seven days, the battered and bomb-sprayed Major Rufus Garrity had to admit he was licked. “Pinkham,” he said, “for the safety of the rest of the service, go out—and get yourself killed!” And wasn’t Phineas always a man to obey orders?

And lest you think the legend that is Phineas Pinkham resides only in crumbling old magazines from 80 years ago, the modern day Flying Aces Club keeps his spirit alive! The field where they hold their competitions is named “Pinkham Field” after the great, grinning, jug-headed buffoon. In fact, he’s even been known to put in an appearance!


The FAC’s Information Technology Guru, Rick Pendzick was awarded the FAC Blue Max at the September Outdoor Contest at Pinkham Field in Connecticut. That’s Rick on the right with Phineas Pinkham.

“Tripe of Peace” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on April 29, 2022 @ 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!

The Germans have developed a new, sinister gas bomb that makes a person have no desire to fight and love their fellow man. What kind of war would that be? Needless to say, the Boomtown marvel sets out to find the source of this new deadly destruction and in the process inspires a put-upon German corporal named Adolph to dream big—real big!

When the Kraut concoction cooker-uppers caused a flock of Allied flyers to forsake their battle buggies in favor of a Western Front version of the Yassar daisy chain, Rufus Garrity roared, “It’s impossible!” Of course, when his own sky-scrappers got messed up with Kid Maxie, the Munich Mauler, the fiery Major’s opinion had to be revised. All of which was a mere trifle. For after Phineas deftly tossed his Uncle Thaddeus’s Sioux shillelah, Heinie-land’s whole history had to be revised—believe it, or else!

“Zuyder Zee Zooming” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on February 25, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham. The Boonetown miracle is misdirected to the wrong train in Paris coming back from leave and finds himself knee-deep in tulips and treachery! It’s a Dutch treat special—it’s Phineas in Holland! from the July 1938 issue of Flying Aces, it’s “Zuyder Zee Zooming!”

Ludendorff was well satisfied. He already had his sand and gravel on the Holland canals, and now his eye was on the Hollanders’ ports. But when he began putting ants in their pants, Phineas raised the ante. All of which proved that there’s a limit—even to Dutchman’s breeches.

“The Spider and the Flyer” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 28, 2022 @ 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!

The Boonetown miracle man, Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, is attached to help Captain McSniff over in the Isle investigate rumors of Kraut skullduggery rife on his home soil. Apparently, Scottish folk along the Firth of Solway had begun to get the jitters and that a fisherman had claimed to have seen a Heinie pigboat slipping through the fog that always hung over the Firth as thick as porridge.

When that bonnie braw Kraut shooter, Captain Gregory MacSniff button-holed Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham regarding an “Annie Laurie” journey, that jaunty jokester didn’t appreciate it. He scowled about going to Scotland. And he groused about going grousing. But the flying headache of the 9th quickly found out that orders are orders, and cordite is cordite—even though fish aren’t always just fish.

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