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“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.”

J.W. Scott’s Sky Devils, Pt4

Link - Posted by David on November 22, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE back with Scott’s final Sky Devils cover! Scott painted covers for practically every genre of pulp—sports, western, detective, science fiction and aviation. Most notable of his aviation covers are the ones he did for Western Fiction Publishing’s Sky Devils, which only ran for seven issues. Scott was very adept at capturing people, so his aviation covers center on the pilots and gunners in the planes rather than the planes themselves for the most part. The issues contained no stories for these covers like other titles we’ve featured, but Scott’s magnificent work was just too good to not share! And besides, he captures the action so well, you can imagine the story that goes with the cover he’s painted.

The cover of the final issue of Sky Devils, the February 1940 issue, reused the painting Scott had done for the first issue back in 1938. Here is that final cover followed by how it was on the first issue!

Sky Devils, February 1940 by J.W. Scott

Sky Devils, March 1938 by J.W. Scott

Check out David Saunder’s page for J.W. Scott at his excellent Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists site for more great examples of Scott’s work!

“Wolf Worship” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 22, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. One of the most successful series of animal wilderness stories Cruickshank produced was the “White Phantom” series which primarily ran in the pages of Thrilling Adventures and West magazines.

Olak, the White Phantom, is an extraordinary wolf. He is large, handsome and is an albino. Because of his unusual coloring, the superstitious natives, Indians, think of him as allied with the spirit world and as such influences their hunting, the weather elements, famine conditions and so forth.

In the January 1940 issue of Thrilling Adventures, Tuc Cramer’s brother-in-law Tan goes searching for his lost friend Sa, son of Olak, the great White Phantom wolf king of Nahanni. Along the way he finds himself in the next valley over where the strange tribe there worships Olak-Achak—and about to be sacrificed to the spirit of the White Phantom!

Tan, the Indian Youth, Follows the Trail of the Son of the White Phantom!

As a bonus, here’s an article Cruickshank wrote about writing his animal stories that ran in the pages of the October 1944 issue of Writer’s Digest!

“Sky Writers, October 1940″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on October 21, 2020 @ 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 October 1940 issue of Lone Eagle.

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

“A Torch for the Damned” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on September 1, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

SKY DEVIL flew through the Hell Skies of 29 adventures in the pages of Dare-Devil Aces from 1932-1935. Cruickshank returned to the savior of the Western Front in six subsequent stories several years later. The first two were in the pages of Sky Devils (June 1939) and Fighting Aces (March 1940). The other four ran in Sky Fighters (1943-1946); and like Oppenheim had done with his Three Mosquitoes, so Cruickshank did with Sky Devil—he moved him to the Second World War where Bill Dawe changes his name to get into the air service and flys along side his son!

Here we have Sky Devil’s second appearance after his run in Dare-Devil Aces in the premiere issue of Popular’s new air anthology title Fighting Aces! In what is probably an unpublished story found in the files from the original run five years earlier, Bill Dawe—America’s Sky Devil—and his Brood had been ordered to Paris, to take part in a general allied army show that was being put on for the sole purpose of stepping up the morale of the French citizenry. Unfortunately, mock warfare turns into the real thing!

Captain Bill Dawe—you’ll like the guy—the way he fights in an open sky, the thrust of his jaw—the beat of his heart inside of his shirt! A fighting eagle brings his brood to rest, and lights the skies of the Western Front with a blazing torch for the damned!

For more great tales of Sky Devil and his Brood by Harold F. Cruickshank, check out our new volume of his collected adventures in Sky Devil: Ace of Devils—Nowhere along the Western Front could you find a more feared crew, both in their element and out. The Sky Devil and his Brood could always be counted on to whip Germany’s best Aces, out-scrap entire squadrons of Boche killers, or tackle not one, but two crazed Barons with an Egyptology fetish! But what happens when they find themselves up in a dirigible fighting a fleet of ghost zeppelins, or down in the English Channel battling ferocious deep water beasts, or even behind enemy lines dealing with a crazed Major Petrie? Plenty, and you can read it all here! Pick up your copy today at all the usual outlets—Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

“They Had What It Takes – Part 41: “Lon” Yancey” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on September 16, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

We have arrived at the final installment of Alden McWilliam’s illustrated biographies he did for Flying Aces Magazine—They Had What It Takes. For this last article he features world famous navigator Captain Lewis Alonzo “Lon” Yancey.

Yancey became interested in aviation and the science of navigation while in the Coast Guard after a stint in the Navy. He quickly became a sought after navigator making his first trans-continental flight as a co-pilot in 1927. In 1929 he and Roger Q. Williams flew from Old Orchard Beach, Maine to Rome (in the picture at left, Yancey is loading provisions on his plane while German aviatrix, Thea Rasche looks on); and the first flight from New York to Bermuda in 1930. In 1938 he flew to New Guinea with Richard Archbold for the American Museum of Natural History.

He unfortunately died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44 in 1940.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 40: Donald Douglas” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on September 9, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Here we are with the penultimate installment of Alden McWilliam’s illustrated biographies he did for Flying Aces Magazine. And this time around we have that giant of American Aviation—Donald Wills Douglas!

Douglas was an influential American aircraft industrialist and engineer who founded his Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921 which would become one of the leaders in the commercial aircraft industry. He went head to head with arch-rival Boeing gaining the early advantage throughout production during WWII, but then sadly fell behind with the advent of the jet age. Douglas retired in 1957 and passed away in 1981 at the age of 88.

He was such a big figure in Aeronautics that Popular Science also ran an illustrated feature on his life and career in their December 1940 issue. Illustrated by B.W. Schlatter.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 39: Tony Fokker” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on July 16, 2012 @ 6:07 pm in

With the 39th installment of Alden McWilliams’ “They Had What It Takes” in Flying Aces, he chronicles the man who is maybe the greatest aircraft designer of all time—The Flying Dutchman himself, Anthony Fokker!

Fokker was training as an automotive mechanic in Germany when he built his first plane—”The Spider”—in 1910. That plane was subsequently destroyed when his partner flew it into a tree. Fokker built another and managed to gained his piolt’s licence flying it. By 1912 he had started his own Airplane Company and quickly established a reputation for building some of the fastest and most stable planes flying at the time. One of the keys to his success is that he personally tested all the planes he designed and kept the pilot in mind asking their opinions on the planes. He sought out the advice of the men on the flight line and brought in the best engineers he could find.

With the outbreak of WWI, Fokker’s designs were very much in demand and soon the greatest names in German aviation—Voss, Immelmann, Boelke and Richtoffen—were being cursed at while flying his planes.

After the war he returned to his native Holland establishing a company there and later emigrating to America where his tri-motor planes helped establish the fledgling airlines and some of the great airplane records of the 30’s. Fokker unfortunately died at 49 in 1939 from pneumococcal meningitis after having been ill for three weeks.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 38: Grover Loening” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on July 9, 2012 @ 4:57 pm in

Alden McWilliams continues his look at the great airplane designers in his “They Had What It Takes” feature from Flying Aces. It’s March 1940, and this time we have Grover Loening.

Grover Loening was a noted American aircraft manufacturer, who got his start as an assistant engineer to Orville Wright before starting his own company. He was known for test flying his own planes and at one time employed Leroy Grumman, William T. Schwendler, and Jake Swirbul who left to form Grumman. Of his many accomplishments, Loening was appointed chief aero-engineer for the Army Signal Corps in World War I and was chief consultant to the War Production Board, NACA and Grummand during the Second World War.

Grover Loening lived to the ripe old age of 87, passing away in 1976.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 37: Leroy E. Grumman” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on July 3, 2012 @ 2:59 pm in

In this and the next few installments of Alden McWilliam’s “They Had What It Takes,” McWilliams turns his pen to those who designed the planes. First up, from the February 1940 issue of Flying Aces we have Leroy E Grumman (or Leroy R. Grumman as history records him).

Grumman may have started out as a Navy flier, but he went on to become one of the leaders in Aircraft design and beyond. The company he founded in 1930 by mortgaging his house and pooling that money with several other investors would go on to build some of the key planes of WWII—The F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat and the TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. After the war the company continued to supply the Navy with excellent fighter aircraft like the A-6 Intruder in the 1960’s and the F-14 Tomcat of the 1970’s, but sought out new markets as well. They developed the Gulfstream series of corporate Jets and the Apollo program’s Luner Excursion Module (LEM) that landed astronauts on the moon!

Grumman passed away in 1982 at the age of 87, but his company, which had been aquired by Northrop lives on as Northrop Grumman, one of the largest defence contractors in the world.

“They Had What It Takes – Part 36: Billy Bishop” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on June 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm in

This week we bring you the thirty-sixth installment of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tribute to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation which he called “They Had What it Takes”. We’re up to the January 1940 issue of Flying Aces where McWilliams featured Canada’s Greatest WWI Ace—Billy Bishop!

William Avery “Billy” Bishop, V.C. has been credited with 72 victories making him the fourth greatest Ace of the First World War. He was made an honorary Air Marshall of the Royal Canadian Air Force and placed in charge of recruitment in 1938 and developed a training program for pilots across Canada during the Second World War. Stress would eventually see him resign his post in the RCAF in 1944, but remained active in aviation, even offering to return to his recruitment role with the RCAF with the outbreak of the Korean War (he was politely refused by the RCAF due to poor health).

Billy passed in his sleep in 1956 while wintering in Palm Beach, Florida and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Owen Sound, Ontario where he was born 62 years earlier.

“Raider Wings” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on April 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am in

Tug Hardwick’s sleek Northrop was beautiful as it hurtled over the shimmering Sulu Sea—beautiful, that is, until its vitals were poisoned with whistling lead! Anyhow, this hot interview was something the Flying-Reporter  hadn’t expected. Why, before his story was written it was getting punctuated—with bullets! But bullets or no. Tug was bent on tracking down his man. And he knew he was on the right track when a booming laugh brought forth—a little ship that wasn’t there!

“Rip-Cord Ruse” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on November 4, 2009 @ 9:49 pm in

The Griffon is in the air to solve another high flying mystery. When is a good dollar counterfeit? That was only one of the baffling riddles that faced Kerry Keen after he attended that fashionable night club—by request. Sure, bad money is queer, but some things are a lot queerer—getting offered half a million bucks just for putting on a 200-mile air express act, for instance. Certainly, that was one for the book. And as for the silk-hatted man of mystery who had invaded Graylands—well, that was already in the book!

“Balloons For a Breda” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on April 10, 2009 @ 5:30 pm in

Only one green balloon was supposed to be floating above the U.S.S. Marblehurst. But somehow the plans had gone haywire—for there were two! Which was the right one? “Coffin” Kirk had to choose—and choose fast. Because three lead-hurling Mitsubishis were roaring down the heavens! Still, none of it fazed “Tank.” He was always ready—even when Kirk deliberately put a Jap Intelligence officer on their own sky trail and presented him with—a bouquet of lavender!

“Savoias Out of Sapporo” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on March 24, 2008 @ 11:23 am in

A Bancroft and Leadbeater Adventure.
It wasn’t that anything untoward had happened that made Todd Bancroft and Larry Leadbeater cringe. Practically nothing had happened, and you can‟t take a punch at nothing…

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