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“Lost Aces” by Joel Townsley Rogers

Link - Posted by David on February 4, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Joel Townsley Rogers. Born in 1896 and studied at Harvard, Rogers saw The Great War as an adventure and joined the Navy Air Corp and became one of it’s first few hundred pilots. Unfortunately, the war ended before he saw action and ended up as a flight instructor at Pensacola instead. After the war, he turned his experiences into stories for the pulps. In addition to air stories, Rogers also wrote numerous mystery and science-fiction stories as well.

Zep-strafer extraordinaire, Kenny Blair of the 19th Camels and Captain of the dreaded Gallows Birds, Anton Glick—Two Aces, mortal enemies in the air, find themselves both marooned on an ever-shrinking sandbar in the sea.

Two aces flew to the edge of the world, one toying with treason, one fighting for life in a circle of death. Two aces, two bullets—and only one plane to break a deadlock of doom!

For more info on Rogers, check out “Joel Townsley Rogers—Fiction House Ace” over at the PulpFest website!

From the Scrapbooks: Cover Cut-Outs

Link - Posted by David on December 27, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS Holiday Season we’re delving into a pair of scrapbooks that were created in the late 20’s and early 30’s by an industrious youth, Robert A. O’Neil, with a keen interest in all things aviation. The books contain clippings, photos and articles from various aviation pulps as well as other magazines. What has been assembled is a treasure trove of information on planes and aces of WWI.

Like many in the late 20’s and early 30’s, Robert O’Neil was fascinated with aviation and as such, a large part of both volumes of his scrapbooks is taken up with a cataloging of the many different types of planes. But amongst all the planes and air race flyers and info on Aces are some surprising items. Robert was also fond of including cut-outs from covers of all kinds of aviation themed magazines.

Here are a few along with the full covers Robert excised them from:

August 1931

September 1931


August 1931

MARCH 1932

APRIL 1932


July 1931

August 1931

August 1931

May 1931

August 1931


“Spy Drome” by H.P.S. Greene

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

THIS week we have a story by H.P.S. Greene. Henry Paul Stevens Greene wrote aviation tales from the late 20’s to the early 40’s for magazines like Wings, Air Stories, Sky Fighters and, the magazine this story appeared in—Aces.

What little we know about Greene is from papers he left behind in a cardboard suitcase discovered in a storeroom at the National Press Club.

Greene was known by his colleagues at the National Press Club as the man who lived out of a suitcase, so it only seemed apt that he left his papers behind in a cardboard suitcase that was subsequently discovered in a storeroom of the National Press Club. The papers within the suitcase appear to be the only remaining information about H.P.S. Greene.

Henry Paul Stevens Greene was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 28, 1892, the son of Amy Bodwell Stevens and Henry Brooks Greene. (According to his own genealogical research, both the Bodwell and Stevens families were active in the American colonial and revolutionary periods.)

He graduated from Methuen (MA) High School and wrote the “Prophecy” for the class of 1911.

Greene was a member of the 1916 class of Amherst College but left in January of that year to join an ambulance unit in the French army.

His stories and reminiscences suggest that he may have joined the elite French flying unit, the Lafayette Escadrille, and later transferred to the American Air Service.

In August 1919, he received the Diploma of Honor of the Aerial League of America for his services in the First World War.

Greene wrote aviation tales from the late 20’s to the early 40’s for magazines like Wings, Air Stories, Sky Fighters, Flying Aces, and Aces.

Later on, while in residence at veteran’s hospitals in Tucson, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, he wrote adventure tales of Mexico and the old West. Sadly, by the 1940’s rejection slips had become common in his correspondence.

He passed away in 1947.

In the suitcase, Greene had kept his correspondence and personal records, such as a genealogical survey, his “Prophesy” for his 1911 high school class, a college newspaper which mentions his World War I service, a diploma from the Aerial League of America, and his reminiscences. He also stored typescripts of his articles and novellas, and clipped copies of stories which had been published in the magazines likes Wings and Aces.

The articles consist largely of adventure stories of World War I: ambulance drivers and aviation aces. They appear to be drawn, in part, from the personal experiences of the author. The lack of his military record suggests, however, that they are embellished composites.

One long novelette, “A Child, an Old Woman, and a Cow,” is partially an autobiographical statement, detailing the experiences of ambulance drivers and aviators in the First World War and a character who undergoes treatment at a veteran’s hospital. It is also a fantasy which describes a decorated war hero and a successful aviation writer.

The materials from Greene’s suitcase have been archived at the National Press Club into two boxes and arranged in three series: personal files, typescripts, and printed material. Within the typescripts and printed materials, the articles are arranged alphabetically by title.

Spy Drome

A jinxed pilot, Lieutenant Hugo Von Blon, is cornered into taking the fall for his commanding officer’s indiscretion and spend the rest of the war as a prisoner of war or be cashiered out in disgrace. From the pages of the November 1931 Aces, it’s H.P.S. Greene’s “Spy Drome!”

Cornered by a fat little spy, a conspiring squadron commander and an M.S.E. who rigged the Spad for a crash, what could Von Blon do? His last landing was on a German field, hands in the air.


As a bonus, H.P.S. Greene provided some “believe-it-or-not” stories that were printed up in the letters column.

Behind “Spy Drome”

These lines from H.P.S. Greene lend additional interest to the tribulations of Von Blon, and provide fresh proof that strange things happened while the war was raging in the air. Two heroes figure in the incidents described by the author of “Spy Drome” in this issue.

A Boston bird, Gardiner Fiske, attached to the First Bombardment Group, A.E.F., at Maulan, just south of Verdun, fell out of a ship a few thousand feet up. Well, he grabbed the stabilizer as it went past and climbed back up the fuselage and into the cockpit again.

Tell you another? All right. This one’s about an observer with a British squadron— Number Twenty of the Royal Flying Corps. The observer was Captain J.H. Hedley, who at the close of the war had a score of twelve enemy planes and a balloon.

Twenty had arrived in France with Fees on January 23, 1916. Two years later, when the squadron was flying Bristol Fighters, Hedley pulled this same stunt of leaving his ship and coming back again. It happened one day in January, 1918.

The Bristol was flying over the lines way up, with more than eighteen thousand altitude. A black-crossed ship appeared ahead. Hedley, in the rear pit, swung his gun in an attempt to get the E.A. into his line of fire.

Now in the British service observers had begun without safety belts. And of course they had no parachutes. The observer was in the habit of tapping the pilot on the back of his head, thus signifying that the plane should dive.

The German was behind and above, diving zigzag wide open and gaining. His machine guns were sputtering bullets. Hedley was standing up facing back with his machine gun belching fire right back at his opponent. The German suddenly zoomed right down on the Englishman and then pulled almost straight up, evidently preparing to loop and take another dive on them.

When the German took his last zoom and pulled up, Hedley tried to follow him with bis machine guns and in so doing leaned his head back so far that he accidentally bumped the pilot’s head. To the pilot this was a sign to dive straight down and then level off again, and so the pilot pushed the stick all the way forward and started a terrific dive.

Hedley was not expecting any such maneuver, and when the plane snapped down in its dive, it threw him completely out of the plane, into the air.

Well, he fell in direct line with the falling plane and when the plane leveled off after its dive, he hit astraddle the fuselage of the plane close to the tail!

The pilot did not know that his observer had even fallen out. When he felt the jolt on the tail of the plane he looked around, and to his amazement saw his observer facing backwards on the tail. The pilot had no idea how he ever got in that position.

Neither did Hedley. He told his squadron mates that when he was thrown out his helmet slipped over his eyes and he couldn’t see anything. Suddenly he realized that he was straddling something.

You can find proof of the story in the British records of the Twentieth: “Lt. Makepeace, M.C., reports Capt. J.H. Hedley accidentally thrown into air, afterwards alighted on tail same machine and rescued.”


The archival information on H.P.S. Green at the top of the post is from the National Press Club Archive Finding Aid prepared by Christina J. Zamon and Jocelyn Manby.

“The Laughing Major” by George Bruce

Link - Posted by David on December 11, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY we have a story from the highly prolific George Bruce. Bruce, a former pilot, began writing in the 1920’s and became noted for his aerial war stories—several publications even bore his name. In the 1930’s and ’40’s he transitioned into screenwriting for Hollywood action films and then into tv in the 1950’s and ’60’s.

The Fourth Squadron hated Major Powers. That hatred seeped out of the soul of the lowliest of the ground crew exactly as it surged unceasingly in the souls of the pilots.
He never seemed burdened by fatigue. His eyes never lost the half-feverish, half-mocking light—never lost a peculiar brilliancy which seemed to feed upon his soul. His face was never anything but a pale mask, contorted by a never-changing grin which drew his thin lips back over his white teeth—and made every man on the field harbor the insane desire to smash his fist against Powers’ face and drive those wolf-like teeth down the Major’s throat. Yes, The Fourth hated Major Powers—that is, until they got to know him.

The pilots of the Fourth fought black-crossed ships, but they kept their hate for the man who led the way into the sky. They hated his sneer, his jeers, his scorn—but most of all they hated his laugh.

From the December 1931 issue of Aces, it’s “The Laughing Major” by George Bruce!

“Dual Control” by E.W. Chess

Link - Posted by David on December 2, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TO START off our twelve stories of Christmas 1931, we have an excellent tale by E.W. Chess from the pages of the December 1931 Aces magazine!

Martin Hale became a man without a country—He had been found guilty of desertion and insubordination. Rather than leave the war, Hale assumes the identity of an American pilot who has been presumed dead after his plane crashes and burns. But just who is Jerrald Hammond? What starts out as a way to stay in the war turns into a tale of espionage and intrigue.

One pilot passed to the tune of tapping drums, another fell with crimson flame to mark his end. But behind the Front was a strange rendezvous for the ghosts that walked the war night.

From the pages of Aces, it’s “Dual Control” by E.W. Chess!

Pulpflakes posted an excellent post about the life of “Elliot Chess—Fighter pilot, Author” last year. You can check it out here!

The Aces of Christmas 1931

Link - Posted by David on November 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WHILE browsing through eBay a couple months ago, I came upon these two snapshots from a family’s Christmas in Memphis 1931. What caught my eye was the little boy all dressed up as a WWI ace with leather jacket, aviator’s cap with goggles, and some sort of tall leather boots(?)! It got me thinking about what stories that boy could have been reading that rather mild, snowless December in Memphis.

So this month we’ll be featuring stories published in the December 1931 issues of Aces, Sky Birds, War Aces and War Birds, by some of our favorite authors—Arch Whitehouse, O.B. Myers, Frederick C. Painton, Frederick C. Davis, Donald E. Keyhoe, and George Bruce—as well as a couple new or seldom seen authors to our site—Elliot W. Chess, Edgar L. Cooper, and Robert Sidney Bowen.

Looking at that impressive list, you may be wondering where a few of our most often posted authors are. Authors like Ralph Oppenheim, Harold F. Cruickshank, Lester Dent and Joe Archibald. That’s a bit of good news/bad news. The good news, we’ve already posted the stories Ralph Oppenheim (“Lazy Wings”) and Lester Dent (“Bat Trap”) had in the December 1931 War Aces; the bad, I don’t have the December 1931 issues of Wings featuring George Bruce, F.E. Rechnitzer and Edwin C. Parsons or Flying Aces with Keyhoe, Archibald, George Fielding Eliot, Alexis Rossoff, and William E. Poindexter. And as for Cruickshank—he didn’t have a story in any of the air pulps that month.

With that in mind—and since it’s Monday, let’s get the ball rolling with the covers of Christmas 1931!

ACES by Redolph Belarski

BATTLE ACES by Frederick Blakeslee

FLYING ACES by Paul J. Bissell

SKY BIRDS by Colcord Heurlin

WAR ACES by Eugene Frandzen

WAR BIRDS by Redolph Belarski

WINGS by Redolph Belarski

Come back on Wednesdays and Fridays this month for some of the great fiction from these issues!

“The Black Bat” by Syl MacDowell

Link - Posted by David on September 4, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Syl MacDowell! MacDowell is probably best known for his westerns. This time, MacDowell gives us brief tale of the mysterious Black Bat—is he man or beast? From the November 1931 issue of Aces, it’s “The Black Bat.”

Behind the curtain of night Weird wings hovered over the Yank tarmac. A ship crashed with no hand at the stick. . . . And the priceless eye of the army was missing.

“The Flying Fortress” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by Bill on February 18, 2010 @ 2:48 pm in

A Yank pilot said too much at a Paris estaminet, a British airman said too little on the way to the Front. And a battle that began at twelve thousand feet hurtled to a hangar door. Will this be the end of The Casket Crew?