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From the Scrapbooks: Letter Postcards

Link - Posted by David on December 29, 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.

Turning the page, we find two acknowledgments that had been sent out for having written a letter in to the pulps!

The first, from Battle Aces, is an actual postcard mailed on March 28th 1931 at 7:30pm from the Grand Central Annex branch of the post office. It pictures Sarge and a happy plane dancing about and reads:

“SAY, YOU! Thanks for the swell letter! Yours for happy landing,
—Editor Battle Aces”

but upon it, Sarge has written Robert a handwritten note that reads:

“Never mind that ride with my blonde Jane, Bob.
She goes sky bugging with yours truly only!

The second is from War Birds magazine. Unlike the Battle Aces card, this is not a postcard, just a slip of paper and was most likely sent in an envelope. It pictures that “same hard boiled, son-o’a gun, Sarge” reading letters while being flown about and says simply: “Thanks for your Letter!”

Yes, it’s the same Sarge, well…. Depending when the card was sent. Eugene A. Clancy was the editor of War Birds magazine from 1928 to whenever he left in 1930 to take over duties at Battle Aces. The letters column over there was full of all the same things—except the Prince of Zanzibar and a big Swede are his cohorts in his escapades. Aside from that, he’s still going down to Mike’s Place and the Blonde Jane is still helping out. His replacement carried on as Sarge, but it’s obvious it’s not the same Sarge.


“Bombers Down!” by Colcord Heurlin

Link - Posted by David on October 28, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a cover by the great Colcord Heurlin! He provided covers throughout the 1920’s and early 30’s for various pulp magazines—most frequently for your Adventure type magazines. Here we present his cover for the March 1931 issue of Flying Aces—a dynamic cover that once again has a story to tell.

Bombers Down!

th_FA_3103NOT all the danger attending the life of a bombardment pilot was crammed into the few mad minutes he spent over his objective, dodging enemy anti-aircraft fire, intercepting aircraft or the betraying beams of searchlights while his observer pulled the toggles that released the grim eggs. There was the dangerous take-off with a loaded plane. There was the wild flight across the line through the barrage of steel that vomited up from anti-aircraft batteries, and then, above all, there was the flight back.

To carry high explosive was no cinch at the best of times, and many a pilot lost pounds in weight or added years to his age as he sat in the ship carrying the dangerous missiles. Once over the objective, they could get rid of the stuff and heave a sigh of relief. But—suppose the bomb rack jammed and left the bombs hanging by a lone loop. Suppose the observer yanked and pulled on the toggles in an effort to get it off, anyway and anywhere at all, with no success.

This has happened on several occasions, and generally speaking, the airmen are in a tight position. They cannot land with the bomb hanging in that manner. With the nose portion clear of the rack, as is shown in this month’s illustration, the wind vane has been released and the percussion pin has been wound into concussion position. All it requires is a slight jounce, and the 500-pound shell of T.N.T. is touched off. There is nothing to do but try and get the shell off somehow. Many an observer today is wearing a ribbon on his old flying tunic for getting out and releasing a bomb from a rack that has jammed. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes the observer has had to get down on the landing gear and actually file the release pin off, or even shoot it away with an automatic.

There were times when it was done successfully. There were many when they were unable to release it before their gas supply ran out.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombers Down!”
Flying Aces, March 1931 by Colcord Heurlin