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“Code of the Cuckoos” by Alexis Rossoff

Link - Posted by David on August 7, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a fun tale of the Cuckoo’s Nest from the prolific pen of Alexis Rossoff. The Cuckoo’s Nest stories ran in War Birds in 1930. The Cuckoo’s are an outfit a lot like Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight—a group of hell cats who found themselves afoul of military rules who have been given another chance to die fighting rather than rotting in Blois cell.

Twenty saddened Cuckoos stood with heads uncovered and bowed in the eerie ghost dampness of the new dawn, paying their last respects to all that remained mortal of Jerry Coyne. A sorrowful grease-ball smoothed the surface of the fresh mound while Johnny Walker—his voice husky with emotion—intoned the war-bird benediction. “God, be kind to Jerry Coyne. He was a good scout and our buddy.” The Cuckoos added their earnest “Amen,” and the ordeal was at an end. One more of the flock had gone West to paradise on spirit wings. Who would be the next to follow Jerry Coyne? That was the question. From the April 1930 issue of War Birds it’s Alexis Rossoff’s “Code of the Cuckoos!”

Already the throbbing sky in the distance was heavy with dire promise. It was a grim, spectacular game—the cards were dealt out to a strange group of fighting war birds—as strange as that part of the Front had ever heard of, and the stakes were the now-worthless lives of those men. Johnny Walker winged on to an ominous rendezvous with death. A yarn about an outfit you will never forget!

“Guns of Mystery” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on August 17, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air. From the premier issue of War Aces, Mr. Cruickshank gives us a story of the first installation of machine guns on planes—while not strictly factual, it’s a ripping good read! From the April 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Guns of Mystery!”

It was the unpardonable sin to mount a gun on a plane, but when a blazing path of steel traced itself across his wings Kelly felt icy fingers on his heart and knew that a new horror was winging through the air.

Humpy & Tex in “Hell Bent for Heinie” by Allan R. Bosworth

Link - Posted by David on August 3, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of the Navy’s own Allan R. Bosworth. Bosworth is a third generation Texan, born October 29, 1901 in a tent on a west Texas cattle ranch. He attended school in Ozona TX—known as Millionaires Town, but he was not one of the millionaires—but dropped out junior year in high school. He held down a number of jobs starting from when he was very young. He turned an ice cream freezer for a drug store, skinned cattle killed in a stampede, owned and operated a peanut and popcorn machine, janitored for a pool hall, cowboyed, built fences, and fired a boiler on the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad—and all this before the Navy finally accepted his enlistment in 1922.

After serving four years in the Navy as an enlisted man and entered the Naval Reserve. He sought out work in journalism and quickly found it working as a police reporter for the San Diego Sun in 1926. This led to working on the editorial staffs of the San Diego Union, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Paso Robles Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, and the San Francisco Call-Bulletin. By the mid 1930’s he was the news editor and assistant managing editor of the Chronicle.

While working for the newspapers, Bosworth had been submitting stories to the magazines and finding some success by 1930. As his writing career started to grow more time consuming, Bosworth left newspaper work behind to focus on writing stories full time—selling more than 500 short stories to the magazines. Most of these stories appeared in western and adventure “Pulps,” but about 100 were in the “slicks,” including the Saturday Eve Post, Colliers, Liberty, American, Ladies Home Journal, Esquire, Women’s Day, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker!

Bosworth was commissioned Ensign in the Naval reserve working special intelligence duties. He was called back to active duty in 1940. He served in the North Atlantic, and in South Pacific, at Noumea, Guadalcanal and Bougainville, on the staffs of both Halsey and Nimitz.

After WW2, Bosworth saw Naval duty with the Atlantic Destroyer Force, and the military Sea Transportation Service. He had two tours of duty with the Commander Naval Forces Far East, in Japan, covering more than five years. He was selected for captain in 1951, and was on the staff of Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (The NATO command) when he retired in 1960—after 38 years in the Navy.

He lived outside Roanoke, VA after the War and continued to write novels. Wikipedia lists twenty novels written from 1941 to 1969.

Allan Bosworth passed away July 18, 1986.

Bosworth wrote a couple dozen stories with Humpy & Tex over the course of ten years from 1930 through 1939, mostly in the pages of War Aces and War Birds. The stories are centered around the naval air base at Ile Tudy, France. It had been built after the goose and goat spoor had been cleared away. And even then they used a sardine factory for headquarters, and if there was anything rotten in Finisterre, it was the odor that assailed the noses of pilots who had been out flying over clean salt water and then came back to this seaplane station. “Humpy” Campbell, a short thickset boatswain’s mate, first class who was prone to be spitting great sopping globs of tabacco juice, was a veteran seaplane pilot who would soon rate two hashmarks—his observer, Tex Malone, boatswain’s mate, second class, was a D.O.W. man fresh from the Texas Panhandle. Everybody marveled at the fact that the latter had made one of the navy’s most difficult ratings almost overnight—but the answer lay in his ability with the omnipresent rope he constantly carried.

In “Hell Bent for Heinie”, the two-some are hunting U-boats off the coast of France—only problem is, by the time they find them they’ve already spent their bombs leaving them with just Tex’s rope and their own ingenuity to stop the German U-boats. From the pages of the premiere issue of War Aces—

There was nothing but black water under them until destruction sang through the air. Skulking U-boats still held control of the Channel until a Yank cloud-cracker gripped their heart with the fear of death.