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Monday, May 31, 2010

N.C.-4 Reaches Plymouth England - Hawker and Grieves Safe


Saturday May 311919

Morning Headlines:-
N.C. 4 Reaches Plymouth - Hawker and Grieves Alive and Safe
Sopwith airplane picked up at sea and brought to Plymouth England
"READ ALL ABOUT IT!" - Read The EBook

The Vimy is assembled at Pleasantville on the same site where the Martinsyde was housed.
After their lunch, Ike and Bobby have the rest of the day off and were off to Pleasantville on their bicycles. There was lots of activity on Kitti Vitti at the time, with crews checking out the racing shells and practicing their runs up and down the pond, urged on by their supporters and spectators. Nearing the bottom of the pond was the airplane encampment now occupied by the new group of Bird-men, surrounded by a large group of sightseers.  The Vimy~ too large to fit into the canvas hanger, was outside in the open air and the boys noted that assembly had already started. The boys were greeted by Teddy Brown as they were dismounting their bicycles.
 

"Welcome Lads! It didn't take you very long to pay us a visit." Teddy looked a lot more up-beat then he had at their last meeting.  " I would like to introduce you to the members of our ground crew~~Chaps! these are the lads who showed us around the country side last Sunday."
 

Chatting with the Vickers people the boys quickly learned that no one was very happy with the present location, and that they would never attempt a hop-off from this site with a heavily loaded aircraft.   

Remembering how pessimistic R.G. was about the prospect of convincing the Admiral to allow the Vickers people use his field, Ike suggested flying light to the Lester's field for their final departure as a fall back plan. "I took the liberty to mentions to 
Charlie Lester (7) that you airmen liked his location and that you would like to discuss the possibility of contracting with him to prepare a take off strip."
"That's good! What did he say?" Asked Jack, with a surprised look. "What about Kerr's field? ~~ We were still counting on using that field for our hop-off point."
"That's still a possibility too but, ~~ he says, how he could clear the stones and horse dung from that field we looked at, and could even attempt to do some leveling of the surface to improve your chances for a clean get away of the loaded craft for a fee to be negotiated."






Monday, May 24, 2010

Alcock and Brown Arrive in Newfoudland with their Vicker's Bomber


Saturday May 24  1919
Morning Headlines:-


Fourth British Team Arrives at St. John's
Alcock and Brown Vickers Vimy Bomber Arrives
on SS Gledenvon 
"READ ALL ABOUT IT!" - Read The EBook






Ike and Bobby had decided not to join their friends who were off on a two day trouting holiday, instead they were there on that Saturday morning to see the Gledenvon off loading the crates containing the components of the Vickers Vimy the latest entry in the race. Bold as brass, Bobby after spotting the two who were undoubtedly the aircrew team, walked right up to the pair and said. "You must be Alcock and Brown, this is my friend Ike Crocker and I'm Bobby Johnson. We've been following very closely the progress of all the flying teams since they began setting up their operations here since early April and we can be of great value to you." "You are not very modest are you?" Replied Jack Alcock." By the way I'm Jack Alcock and this is my partner Teddy Brown." "Pleased to meet you" "I assume that you are from this town, tell me boys do you know the best place to use as a flying field?" "We sure do sir. We knows about the perfect place for flying from and it's not that far away." Eric added. "It's so good that on most days you wouldn't even need an engine to get airborne; just tie her to a tree and the wind would will take her up, just like a kite." "Sounds very interesting! Where is this magical place?" "It's up on the high road." Replied Ike. "Is that your aeroplane inside those wooden boxes" Asked Bobby.We were told that the only good places for airfields were at Pleasant Ville and Mount Pearl. We have to check those out first ,before we do anything else. Where can we get in touch with you if those places prove to be not suitable?" "We works for the Railway just call the station, number 196, and ask for Eric Crocker or Bob Johnson; every one there knows us two.

The boys were no sooner back at the station from their morning at the docks, they were sitting in the main waiting room discussing their meeting with the two new bird men, when Shirley took the call. "Eric, it's for you." She called from the top of the stairway (leading up to the offices on the second floor). "Someone named Teddy Brown~~He says that he just met you at the dock and he wants to talk to you ."

"OK I'm coming" Ike shouted, in a voice that did not hide the surprise and excitement that he was now feeling. He flew up the stairway, taking the steps three at a time. Shirley had barely time to turn to start back to her office, before Ike had caught up and  was standing beside her, as they walked down the hall.  Picking up the receiver Ike soon discovers that, Teddy and Jack have rented a car, a 1909 Hupmobile Touring Car...and they want to meet them first thing in the morning so that Ike and his friend Bobby, can direct the two fliers, to those prospective flying sites that they had mentioned at the dock earlier that morning. Ike was so excited at the prospect, he could hardly utter a reply. He could count on one hand the number of times he had been in an automobile, that was exciting enough but, the prospect of spending a whole day in the company of two aviators from England was just overwhelming. "Can we meet  early Sunday morning at the railway station? Lets say at eight o'clock."
"Oh yes sir!" said Ike trying hard not to let too much of the excitement to show in his voice. "Do we need to bring a lunch?"
"No that will not be necessary. The hotel made up a picnic basket for us and there will be plenty of food for all."

Sunday May 25
News reaches that HAWKER and GRIEVE were picked up 1100 miles east of St. John's by the Danish steamer Mary and landed at Thurso in Scotland

Ike and Bobby were chatting in the main waiting room, of the station building again, sitting in the corner, near the front plate glass window, on one of the wooden benches. They were waiting to be picked up by the two fliers at eight o'clock and it was now seven thirty. While they wait they began to discuss the miraculous news that Bobby had heard over his crystal radio set earlier this morning. "Did you listen to your radio last night Ike?"
"Na I didn't get a chance. The misses was entertaining her man friend and wouldn't let me string up my antenna. She says that it is too unsightly having all that wire strung through her house."
"That's too bad cause, if you had you would know that Hawker and Grieves are alive. They were safe all this time, while the rest of the world given em up for lost and had them dead and buried at sea, along comes a Danish ship called The Mary, and picks em right out of the sea."
"How come it took so long for the news to be broadcast. It must have been two weeks since they disappeared."
"It might seem like two weeks but, actually it as only been seven days, Ike. They set out on the eighteenth and today is the twenty fifth."
"OK, OK! but why did it take seven days  for the news to be released? I thought that you said that news travels much faster by radio."
"I did say that once and it's true, but could you believe, that in this day and age, they had the bad luck to be were picked up, by a ship that didn't even have  a radio on-board. The world had to wait until the ship reached Thurso in Scotland, before the news got to the press, that poor Harry and ....were alive and well. You wouldn't believe Ike, how the news was transmitted ashore."
"Come on Bobby, tell me?"
"By Pinafore! That's how, they used flags to signal to the light house operator that they were on-board and safe and sound. Can you believe that?"
"Yes Bobby, I can believe it. That's how the Block house tells the majority of ships when they can and when they can't enter the narrows into the harbor. Even today, that's the way it's done, with flags. Did the radio say what happened to them? Why did they have to go into the sea in the first place?"
"It was just just like I was saying, down in Pleasentville, the day that Fred and poor, Chummy Morgan crashed, their engine overheated because of a clogged radiator."
"His name is Charlie Morgan, how could you forget his name, just like that? Here they come, that's them .in that old 1909 Hupmobile that just drove up to the front door. Lets go!"
Ike and Bobby ran out the front door to greet the two fliers, "Good morning lads! are you ready for a long day of scouting out prospective airfields?"
"Yes Sir!" they both echoed in unison's.
"One of you sit up front and give me directions and the other can ride in the rear with Teddy."
"I'll sit up front Sir,if you don't mind I've been in a car more than Ike and I know my way around by road much better." Teddy stepped out from the passenger seat making room for Bobby and Ike and Teddy climbed into the rear seat.
"Well is everyone ready. Where to first?" asked Jack seated behind the wheel the dilapidated old car looking  little uncomfortable, because the steering wheel was on the wrong side for driving to the left.
"I thought we could go up to the Goulds first, Sir. I know a couple of fine pastures up there that would make a fine flying field. Turn left as you drive out onto Water Street and drive straight to the Cross Roads."
The old Hupmobile started off with a couple of jerks and shudders westward to Brown's Corner.
"Take the road on the left, that's Waterfordbridge Road." Declared Bobby.
The conversation turned briefly to the news of Hawker and Grieves briefly, but with the noise from the engine, the wind, and the rumble of wheels rolling over gravel and pot holes, conversation very difficult.
Ike was glad that it was near impossible to converse, he was content to sit back and enjoy the drive and take in the scenery. Passing the General Protestant Cemetery, and the grave diggers house with the saddle roof, situated across the road from Syme's bridge. These were all familiar landmarks to Ike he passed them almost every day on his delivery errands to the Ried home which was just coming up on the right. To most people it was known for it's unique wale bone gate that guarded the entrance, past which few had dare pass, because of their intimidating nature. Few kids ever risked a look through these gates without unconscious thoughts of Joana and his wale encounter. Ike knew well what went on in that other world of luxury and privilege which lay on the other side of those gates. At this moment he was thinking about
beautiful flying site that the Rieds built for Admiral Kerr in Harbour Grace, and what a coup it would be if he could somehow arrange for it to be made available to his new friends for their hop off point, but this was only wishful thinking, so he let the thought pass and went back to sight seeing as Caribou hill came into his view.
The journey continued up hill and down dale until they reached a fork in the road.
"Take the road on the right and cross the bridge." Instructed Bobby. "That's the road to the Southern Shore. It will take us up to the Goulds. I want to show you a couple of nice smooth meadows up by Third Pond that I think would be perfect for a flying field."
"How much further do we have to go Bobby?" Asked Jack, with a sigh, giving off the impression that he was thinking that they had already traveled too far for his liking.
"Not too much farther. I dear say, it's no more than 5 miles from here." Uttered Bobby in a low voice, which registered that Jack's inpatients hadn't gone on noticed.
Fifteen minutes later they arrived at the location that Bobby had in mind.
"This is it." said Bobby  enthusiastically. "Just look how flat and level the ground is."
"It is a fine location with the lake in the background~~it reminds me of a place in Ireland that I used to visit as a boy." Remarked Teddy, trying hard to sound positive.
"Do you want me to take you to the woman that owns this pasture. She lives just over there is that white shack. I'm sure she would rent it to you for, not too much money. "
"No I don't think that will be necessary. I am sure there will be plenty of time to discuss details like that when the time comes."Ike and Bobby sat on the running board of the old jalopy while Teddy and Jack paced off distances with their compass in hand. Turning to Bobby Ike asked. "Where are we going to take them next?"
"I have a fabulous place that I just know, that they will love."
"Are you going to tell me where?"
"It's going to be a surprise. You'll see for your self, when we get there."
After ten minutes or so of walking about and taking notes Teddy and Jack returned to the car.
"What do you think sir?" Bobby asked.
"That was interesting,thank you for bring us here. Both Jack and I think that, this site could be transformed into a flying field with minimum effort we could have a thousand foot east-west runway." "That would be adequate for a maximum gross weight takeoff in moderate westerly winds." added Jack. "Where next, Lads?"
" Well sir we have a choice, we can backtrack to Little Dale and hook up with the Topsail Road or, we can take the Ruby Line across country to Topsail." answered Bobby and you could tell if you listened carefully, which route he preferred.
"Which is the shortest?" asked Jack.
"Well that depends, the shortest distance is the Ruby Line, but the road is terrible and there is not a great deal to see on route, in fact there is practically nothing, except some pretty spectacular scenery all the way to Paradise."
"To where! That's very funny Bobby. I hope that I am not going to paradise this soon in my flying career."
"I am not trying to be funny Sir. I have never taken this route before, but I think that's where it leads to. Paradise on the Topsail Road."
"I see it on the map, it looks like it takes us close to Mt. Pearl and leads to Paradise, according to this map." 
     
"Which is the shortest?" asked Jack.
"Well that depends, the shortest distance is the Ruby Line, but the road is terrible and there is not a great deal to see on route, in fact there is practically nothing, except some pretty spectacular scenery all the way to Paradise."
"To where! That's very funny Bobby. I hope that I am not going to paradise this soon in my flying career."
"I am not trying to be funny Sir. I have never taken this route before, but I think that's where it leads to. Paradise on the Topsail Road."
"I see it on the map, it looks like it takes us close to Mt. Pearl and leads to Paradise, according to this map."
The road was long and bumpy: It took the better part of an hour, enduring horribly dusty conditions, with a feeling of mud in their throats and hair and clothing as white as a miller's after a very busy day, they arrived at Bobby's choice location,
a pasture that was sitting on top of the Topsail Bluff.
The car puled into an open area surrounded by a line of stunted spruce, fir and pine trees.
"Why are there no houses around here?" asked Teddy, as he placed a hand over his eyes to shade them from the sun that had just come out from behind the clouds, into a large patch of blue sky.
 "This is a communal pasture." responded Bobby as he peered around to take in the scene. "This is  where the local people turn out their livestock in the summer months. The reason that there are so many horses and pones is, they are not need at this time of the year ,the gardens are all tilled and there is no wood to haul, people gather wood in the winter time, when there is plenty of snow, for hauling."
"Why are those animals eating the trees instead of the lush grass." inquired Jack, with a puzzled look on his face.
"It's because they are tired of just eating grass, at this time of the year the trees have their new growth and the animals can't resist the tender tips of the fir trees, because of that the horses in particular have
 a gamy smell to them, like the trees." explained Bobby, as he started walking towards the trees at the western edge of the field. Jack and Teddy resumed their pacing and note taking, while Ike ran to catch up with Bobby who was now at the edge of the trees.
"Where are we going? demanded Ike.
"follow me! I want to show you something." Ike followed a narrow path through the line of trees. They hadn't gone more than twenty feet when Bobby stood to one side to allow Ike to pass. Stepping out of the trees onto a fringe of grass, barley ten feet wide, Ike froze in his tracks. He was standing at the edge of a cliff with the blue waters of Conception Bay
five hundred feet below.
"Blessed God! Why didn't you warn me? You know very well that I can't stand heights."
"I wanted it to be a surprise, and from the look on your face, it was a big one."
" I,m starving, it must be at least one o'clock and we haven't had a bite to eat since seven his morning. Why don't you call the others over and show them this spot. Tell them to bring the lunch basket, cause this is a perfect place to have a lunch."
Bobby turned and disappeared into the woods to find the two fliers while Ike, lay in the grass and gazed off across the bay towards the opposite shore, which appeared as a faint grey band on the horizon. Gazing towards a point where he imagined, Harbour Grace was located, he mused about what was transpiring there at this moment, at that perfect airfield. Was the Admiral away in St. John's attending some high society, social function, or addressing the local Chamber of Commerce on his exploits, in far away countries surrounded by famous powerful people, was he telling his audience about what a wonderful person the Kaiser really is, how he is actually pro British and the like, all the while, his expedition's support team, as he liked to refer to them, idle away their time without direction or focus. He couldn't help but think, what a terrible waste of railway time and effort it was to build such a magnificent airfield and turn it over for, the exclusive use of the Handley Page Team. He was have way through his mental anti establishment, rant when he was interrupted by rest of the survey party.
"What a sight! How did you find this place?" exclaimed Teddy.
"It's a smashing location for a picnic, if you ask me." declared John, as he attempted to sweep the dust from the picnic basket's covering, with his hanky. "Now I know why the staff at the Cochran wrapped our lunch so well, they knew about the dusty roads we'd be traveling on, I'd bet."
"What do you Lads want to drink?"
"What do you have?"
"We have two kinds of beer, Ginger beer and Black Dog."
"We calls it all beer Sir, ginger beer is a temperance drink and my misses says that it's OK for me to drink but, never coke, cause that's the work of the devil, that stuff is."
"What do we have here, baloney and egg salad sandwiches."
After a little while Jack asked. "Is that Harbour Grace, across the bay? Has any of you lads to the airfield?"
"I have Sir, me and my friend Dick Nugent had to deliver deliver the radiators to Admiral Kerr in person a couple of weeks ago."
"That's interesting, you are the first one that I have met since arriving, who actually said that they visited the field. Everyone says that it is an excellent site but no one has seen it."
"I saw it Sir, and it is
smooth and flat
. My boss Mr. RG Ried built it for him, his son is in the Royal Airforce and he is a friend of Admiral Kerr."
"We have to get permission to use that field for our hop off point Teddy~~ What do you think?"
"I think you are right but~~old man Kerr is going to be a hard nut to crack."
With that Bobby piped up. "Don't you like this place?"
"Yes we do, it's a splindid place for a picnic, and if we had lots of time we could smooth out the bumps and raze few trees, install an arrest line because, we sure as hell wouldn't want to topple of the edge of this cliff after we tried to abort for some reason, but yes you are right, it would be nice to be five hundred AGL, at the point of takeoff."
"You have showed us a few good sites but I'm afraid they are all, just too far from town. Cane you show us something that is closer to the Cochran?"
"I can think of one Sir." said Ike, who up o this point, had little to recommend, in the way of prospective sites. "I know of another perfect place that is only a stone's throw from the Cochran, with a car, you could make the trip in ten minutes, or less."
"OK let's pack up and go, it's already two o'clock. Since this is your sugestion Ike, you can ride up front, with me, and Teddy is going to show you how to crank an engine without breaking your thumb."
"You always hold the crank with your thumb pointing ninety degrees to the direction i which your fingers are pointing, the thumb must point in a line parallel to the crank, never over the top; that way if the engine kicks back the crank will fly out of your grasp without catching your thumb. That's it now when Jack gives you the signal, just pull the crank in the clockwise direction."
"Switch on! Contact!" On that command, Ike gave the crank an almighty pull and the old car sputtered into life.
"Good Ike! that's the way it's done, just remember to, never wrap your thumb over the top. Hop in after me and we will be on our way."
They made their way back to town on the Topsail Highway and a half hour later they were within the city limits.
"Turn left here." Ike not being familiar with automobiles didn't give much notice to Jack who was behind the wheel slammed on the rear wheel brakes, causing the old Hupmobile to do a sliding 90 degree turn onto Bennett avenue heading north.
"I can't turn this old bus on a shilling every time~~Ike! You'll just have to give more of a warning when you want me to turn."
"OK! Turn left now."
"But there is no street on the left."
"There will be in a second, when we get there, a path on the left leading up to Lester's Pastures." responded Ike, who was stating to become a little confused himself.
Drawing up to a gate at the end of the path, Jack stopped the car and everyone piled out. Teddy and Jack went off into the pasture, remarking as they walked away, how the site showed promise, being reasonably flat and it was certainly, close enough to the Cochran.
"I don't think it is any where as good as those other places that we showed them~~do you Ike?"
"May be not as good, but you heard them~~it's all about being close to your buddies and being tuned into what's going on with the competition and the weather, of course~~das why they want to be close to the Cochran~~same as you and I would love wa's going on at The Holy Cross, football practices, so as we can beat um at their game."
After ten minutes: of pacing around with their compass and taking down notes, standing with their backs to the boys, they took turns doing their imaginary takeoffs with their hands, other times
on their hands and knees, with their eye at almost ground level, they studied the lay of the land. then they returned to the car, where the boys ere standing.
"Ike, who is the owner of this land?" asked Jack, as he turned to have another look at the pasture.
"It belongs to Charlie Lester, Sir. He the same one who does most of the trucking in this town and delivers the coal."
"It is too rough, the westerly direction is up a slight grade and a couple of fences would have to be removed, to give adequate run way length, but with  lot of work, we think that, it could be made to work." commented Jack with only a hint of optimism showing. "You've been to Harbour Grace to see Kerr's field~~ how would you say it compared to what you see here."
"No comparison, Sir!  Kerr's airport is down by the beach, it is flat as a table, there's not a stone to be seen, and the runway is twice as long as what I see here."

"OK, I've decided that we must get permission from Kerr to use his field.  I will ask the Sopwith people if we can set up at Mount Pearl now that Hawker has gone.  Then it would be an easy flight to Harbour Grace to prepare for the final hop-off."


"Sir, I can take you down to Charlie Lester's place and you can arrange to have your supplies moved to Mount Pearl.  Charlie just lives down on Hamilton Avenue; we passed his place on the way to the station.  You could also ask him if he would be interested in leasing his field in case Mount Pearl is unavailable."

"Teddy and I will have to decide by Monday where to transfer our equipment.  Let's go see Charlie"   They all pile into the car and stop at Charlie's house at 34 Hamilton.  When they meet Charlie, he said he could move their equipment to where ever they wanted, since he had already moved Hawker to Mount Pearl and the Raymor team down to Pleasantville.  When asked whether he would be interested in leasing a field, Charlie said, "I'm sure we could make arrangements for a fee that is."  With that they shook hands and dropped the boys off at the station.  Before parting, Jack turned to Ike and asked him if he would have a word with his boss and ask if he could help persuade Kerr to share his airstrip with them.  They have to find a way to get permission to use the Harbour Grace field as it is the only suitable place for a hop-off with a heavily laden bomber.  Ike said he wasn't promising anything but would have a word with his boss first thing in the morning.

"Jack, we can have a word with Freddy Rathenham, and the Sopwith people tonight at the Cochran, and ask if we could use their sites at Pleasantville for our setup.  Then we would be in a position to select the best option and give Charlie Lester a destination for our equipment~~whether we go to Mount Pearl or to Pleasentville." added Teddy.

To be continued
Read all the chapters of the Great Air Race Now




Wednesday, May 19, 2010

F4U-1 Corsair



F4U-1 Corsair

This battered old Flying Styro model airplane which was once flown with a GM 300 CO2 motor has been resurrected and converted to brush-less electric power. Using a 45 watt Indoor type Out-Runner motor teamed up with a 10 amp ESC and 400 ma 7.4 volt Po-Li battery. Radio controlled with Rudder, Elevator, and Motor control, using a GWS micro radio with two 50 gram servos, round out the set-up for this tiny 630 mm 24 in Wingspan RC model.







The Admirals HP Radiators arrive in Harbour Grace

May 19 1919

"READ ALL ABOUT IT!" - Read The EBook

The delivery of Admiral Kerr's radiators did not go exactly as Dick had planed. George Wells the Boss at the express office calls Dick into his office and tells him that it is not good enough to simply send the missing crates to the consignee in Harbor Grace. George tells Dick that Mr Ried thought that the lads should accompany them to Harbour Garce and deliver them in person, also that they owed Admiral Kerr an apology for misplacing two of his crates, and that the apology should be made to the Admiral himself in person. This needs to be done very quickly, before the Admiral launches a formal complaint against the railway.  George goes on to say. "Mr Reid wants the two of you on the 5:00 O'clock today,  along with the 2 crates, so that the Admiral has his missing items and your apology the first thing in the morning ~~ Don't deviate from these instructions because Admiral Kerr has been notified and will be expecting you at his airfield, the first thing in the morning."
The boys took time on their lunch break to race home and pack a few things and tell their families about the need to go to Harbor Grace for a day or so.

They were on the departure platform with their bags and railway passes in their pockets by five minutes before departure time. The boys were never ones to be boarded and seated before the departure time; it was more their style to wait calmly, until the train got moving smartly, run a few steps, grab the hand rail and swing onto the platform of the very last car.

There they stood on the brakes, until the train was well out of the rail yard on the off chance that they would be spotted by someone who knew them. The young railway workers who worked in St. John's looked up to those who were part of the trains crew; they were referred to as belonging to the " Rolling Trades"  The boys were always looking for ways to be mistaken for "trainmen".

The  sixty mile trip took more than 3 hours.  Pulling into the Harbour Grace station at around 8:30 PM meant, there was still an hour and a half of daylight remaining. The days were long in this part of the world  in the  early summer months. They were thankful for the day light, because they needed the time to locate the place where they were planning on spending the night.  Dick had gotten the name and some rough directions for a crew man's shack that would be available for their use tonight.

Walking along the track towards the far end of the yard, they came upon a long line of small structures that had been erected by railway crews to serve as overnight shelter for times when they were away from their home base on layover.

Aproaching the end of the line Dick spied what he was looking for; the third from the end, just as he had been told, they came across a green shack with a white door, that appeared to be empty and the door secured only by a whittled wooden stick, jammed into the latch.
"This is it Eric. Jerry Flin's old man's place. This is where we are going to spend the night."

The shack was very small but it looked cozy enough.  It was a one room affair, with a low flat roof and a single small window located just to the right of the doorway. Once inside the pair noticed that the place had everything they needed. The cooking and eating area is located near the door and the sleeping area at the back. Located to one side of the door was a small cast iron wood or coal burning stove for cooking and heating. The window side contained  small wooden table with a oil cloth cover and a couple of cheap wooden chairs. 

"This looks good to me." Said Ike, pulling up a chair and letting himself drop into it with a thud.  "I'm starving! all I had on the train was some hard tack and some spruce beer."
"What bunk do you want? Upper or lower?" Inquired Dick as he explored the sleeping area looking for a place to put his army surplus duffel bag.
"I don't care! you choose!" I'm going to light the stove to boil up a pot of tea and get a little heat circulating in here."

After they finished eating they were having a another mug of tea when Ike asked. "What do you plan on saying to old man Kerr tomorrow?"

"I haven't quite decided but sure as hel, I won't be telling him the truth." Dick sat thoughtfully for a moment, before adding.  "If I were to do that, do you know how fast we'd be fired? ~~  We'd be out on the street before you could blink an eye ~~ Do you know Eric; when you work at the Express Office, you have to be resourceful and deal with problems as they arise. .......like last year when the cat, that was being shipped express, to the Labrador on the Northern Ranger got loose and ran away from me when I opened the box to change it's water and food.  I could have told the boss the truth, what really happened and then he would have the problem which would have certainly made him upset enough to chewed me out at the very least........but no! instead, I got resourceful and stuffed Felix; the best mouser in the office into the box and sent him off to the Labrador instead.......haven't heard a word since; I expect everyone is happy and no one is the wiser. ~~ The boss was saved having to write a letter of apology to the consignee; the consignee got a nicer cat; Felix got to see the Labrador; the first cat got to stay in town and learn how to be a better mouser, and most important; I didn't have to take a chewing out from the boss."
After finishing his rant on resourcefulness at the Express office, Dick's mood was growing more upbeat. "Now all we have to do is put our heads together again and think up a story bout these bleeding radiators that will  make everyone happy."

"That's going to be very difficult Dick. Like, how do we explain the weigh bills indicating 109 items when only 107 were actually put on the train?"
"Eric! ~~ The most obvious and believable explanation is also the simplest. The crew doing the loading mistook my 9 for a 7 and 2 item got left at the dock."
 "That sounds simple enough, but does it get us off the hook with old R.G.? ~~ Remember when he told us, that he didn't want any thing going wrong and he was holding us personally responsible for the shipment?"
"Yes! ~~ I remember ~~ so what?"
"So please tell me Dick, Why we didn't make sure all 109 items were on that train that day?"
Looking as though he was having difficulty with coming up with a answer to this question, Dick finally answered in a slow thoughtful manner. So ~~ how about we say that I checked off all 109 items but the long shore raggedy arses only loaded 107; after all they where the ones who created this mess by not listening to me when I pleaded with them  to be careful, in the first place."
"What's wrong with the truth?" Replied Ike, throwing his hands into the air and spilling a half cup of tea in the process. "I'm becoming frustrated by your never ending complicated plans."
" Truth is not what bosses want to hear from their employees when it means more problems for them........don't you understand; deya think that  George Wells  wants to explain to R.G. that one of his employees let the long shore bust up Kerr"s rads; or that R.G. wants have to apologise to the admiral for jeopardising his bid for the big prize; or the admiral wants to hear that Hawko's men repaired the rads for his precious Rolls Royce engines? ~~ You and I know that nobody knows more about rads than Kevin Hawko and when he says that they are fixed better than new, he means it, but Kerr doesn't know that."
"OK you win!" Said Ike, gathering his bag and starting towards the bunks. "That's what we'll tell him in the morning ~~ I'm going to bed."

Morning came very fast; since they were both very tired after putting in such full day, they had fallen asleep shortly after eating and had slept soundly through the night. 

"Come on let's get going it's already quarter to seven and we have  to be at flying field by at least 8:00." Cried Ike, with a hint of nervousness in his voice.
"Oh! relax, we got barrels of time. We don't have far to go, and anyway I doubt if anyone is at work before 10; those people don't work any where as hard as we do Eric." 

They made a fire and put on a kettle of water for a mug of hot tea to have with their breakfast of hard tack and dried caplin; which they toasted on the surface of the hot stove.  As they sat at the table, dunking their hard tack in the tea, and crewing on the crispy toasted caplin, Ike thought to himself; how much he enjoyed simple meals like this, when he was off on his own. He never liked the fatty foods his mother loved to prepare; especially her seal flippers which was her current specialty, he hated them the most of all.  

"Are we going to pick up the rads at the station and deliver them ourselves?"Asked Ike. The tone of his voice said that he wasn't thrilled with the prospects of having to wheel those massive two crates down a muddy road to the flying field by hand cart.
"Are you kidding! No way! I'm guessing they have lots of horses and wagons hired, probably a motor truck too. Let them go pick em up themselves. If it wasn't for the fact that we gets a chance to see the big bomber up close, I'd be feeling pretty sorry for myself right about now."

After finishing their simple breakfast Dick and Ike strolled back the track to the station. Introducing themselves to the staff and gave a brief explanation why they were in town. They got the permission from the station master to freshen up in their station washroom.  Asking directions to the flying field they were told that it wasn't very far.
"Just turn left at the station front door and go a little way down Water street, Ya can't miss it." Said the Express man.

Sure enough they hadn't taken more than a few steps and they could see the form of the airplane surrounded  by masses of scaffolding and vertical timbers forming giant tripods.

Drawing closer they could see the forms of workmen climbing on and purchesed on top.
"Hello up there! We are from the railway in St. John's ~~ We're here with news about your radiators." Shouted Dick to the men who appeared to be working on the engines.
" About bloody time!" Came back the answer.
"Where here to see Admiral Mark Kerr." Replied Dick. 
"Well you will have a bit of a wait if you need to see him...... he's usually here by 10:00; but I can't guarantee it."
"We're in no hurry, we can wait."Replied Ike. 
"Suit yourself; your welcome to stay as long s you like as long as you don't get into the way." 

"Did you say that you brought the radiators with you? ~~ We will be needing the very soon and I was starting to worry because I wasn't able to locate them."
"That's what we have to see the Admiral about."
"He's not interested in details like that.~~ I'm  A. P. Arnold, the chief engineer with this expedition, Anything to do with the propulsion system is my business."
"Well in that case, the answer to your question is yes; We brought them last night and they are at the station ready for pick up."
During the next couple of hours they learned a lot about the Handley Page Expedition, while they waited for the arrival of the Admiral.

They learned that:
The Kerr Team had the best of everything;  the air-drone was prepared prior to their arrival;  they were set up on a stretch of flat ground not far from the railway yard; they had half the town working for them, including all the resources of the railway as well as the shipyard.  R.G. Reid's eldest son Robint had been a Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during the Great War that had just recently ended.  The Admiral himself had recently founded that same air force into existance. 

There was obvious a strong desire on the part of the Lieutenant to please the Admiral.  Lieutenant Reid had spear headed the preparation of the work for the air-drone which was well underway before the team arrived. The runway extends for three quarters of a mile along the shore, with a gentle downward slope to the waters edge.  A perfect place for a take off into the prevailing westerly wind.  The flying site was located only a short distance from the from the main railway line making it a easy task to transport the huge sections of the airframe by the shipyard tracks to the assembly point. The Admiral's team was favored by every possible advantage: including having their own on site meteorologists, Taylor and communications officer lieutenant Clements of the British Air Ministry.

The Bomber was to be equipped with a powerful radio transmitter and receiver, so that it could maintain contact with shipping through out the entire Atlantic crossing. The team maintained their own extensive supply of aviation fuel, currently the Admiral had at his disposal all the av-gas that there was on the whole island of Newfoundland.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Race Begins in Earnest

Sunday May 18 1919

Headlines:- NC-4 Reaches Horta Azors Safely NC-1 Crew Safe NC-3 Missing:- Spooked by the Nancy's success, Hawker Gets Away:-  Raymor expected to Follow, hoping to make up the time
"READ ALL ABOUT IT!" - Read The EBook

Ike had passed by the field in Pleasant ville where the Martinside crew were setting up and readying their craft for their big flight;.on the long walk home, after the C-5 blew away, just a few days earlier. He had wanted to stop and check for progress then, but he was just too tired, and also he knew that his misses and Ed Voisey were worried about him, because he had been away far too long as it was.

Today was different; it was Sunday the boy's regular day off work, and he could spend the whole day at Pleasantville watching his favorites preparing their aircraft for flight. He and bobby had been up half the night, listening to the radio transmissions. The airwaves were abuzz, with transmissions from the Navy at Trepassey tracking their NC's expedition, which had gotten airborne yesterday with 3 aircraft. including the Lame Duck NC-4, which had finally overcome it's mechanical problems.

The Hawker team had been eagerly monitoring the Navy's progress, they were transmitting messages to their backers in England, signifying their intentions to commit tomorrow, it at all possible, and try upstaging the Navy's head start advantage. Similarly the boy's favorite team had informed their backers, in Brooklands; indicating that they didn't want to be found asleep at the starting gate, and that they would also be right on hawker's heels, should he decide to go.

As they cycled down King's Bridge road, two abreast; weaving their way through the throngs of pedestrians, all heading down to Pleasantville. Ike turned to Bobby saying. "This is going to be interesting, with Hawker already in the air, and we already know that, his chances of making it across safely have got to be slim at best.~~ We know that they still hadn't completely licked the overheating problem ~~ remember the last time I saw them doing their testing, and I can't help thinking about, what the Yanks were saying in that news conference ~~ about overheating being the big threat to engine reliability."
"Ya I remember it well" said Bobby. Slowing his bicycle and giving a blast of his air horn; to warn a group of teenagers to clear a path for the bicycles to pass through, one behind the other. Resuming speed again, Bobby shouted over his shoulder.. " I also remember that you and Neugent busted old man Kerr's rads."
"We did not!" replied Ike, from behind, and adding as he drew abreast once again. "It was those raggedy-arse longshoremen who busted em ~~ me and Dick are getting em fixed ~~ they'll be good as new. ~~ In fact; better than new, with larger tubes .~~ Kevin says that the little tubes they had would clog in no time"
"No need to get defensive, wit me.~~ Ike."
 "Changing the subject." Said Ike, as they rounded the corner at the foot of Kennas Hill, and headed down towards Pleasantville. "Looks good for Charlie and Fred, don't you think?" 
"Ya, as long as they stay away from that lower field and use the upper one, they have a good chance of getting airborne." said Bobby thoughtfully. "But, you know Ike, I have a bad feeling about them setting out today ~~ they don't have the wind for a clean  getaway ~~ it's coming from the wrong direction."

Preparations were well underway when the boys arrived at Pleasant Ville.. They resisted the temptation to join the crowd of curious spectators who were pressing closely around the ground crew, who were feverishly readying the big biplane for flight. The crowd was obviously hampering the operations and the crew were starting to show their frustration by physically pushing back the worst offenders.
"Half the town must be here to watch this spectacle; I bet Hawker and Grieve didn't have anything like this size of a crowd to contend with this morning, when they were gassing up the Sopwith."  
" Let's go over by that tree and just observe the going's on from there, Ike! good thing you thought of bringing Ed Voises field glasses wit ya; we can get a close up when we want to." 

Sitting under the only tree around the area, the two boys entered into a discussion about the developments in the race that had transpired over the last few days. The Americans were in the air, the Sopwith Atlantic with Hawker and Grieve had been spooked into a premature move by the Navy's NC's departure. Last night had been an exciting night for the boys; they had spent hours, listening to the radio transmissions on their crystal radio set. The transmissions were mainly from the Navy's 20 odd destroyers which were strung across the Atlantic and spaced a approximately 50 mile intervals, to monitor the progress of the NC's and to mount a Search and Rescue operation, if the need should arrive. They had heard the numerous attempts to get a confirmation transmission from NC-3. The attempts had gone on continually through the night without any success. No word was received from the lead craft that was carrying the mission commander John Towers.

"Do you think they are all right?" Ike asked, referring to the fate of NC-3 and her crew. 
" No! I think they are done for. I am thinking they were forced down into the sea, sometime during the night. Can you imagine trying to set one of those flimsy box kites down into 12 foot swells in the dark? said Bobby. using his hands to simulate a landing, as he had learned from watching the pilots.  " She would be smashed to smithereens by the first wave she struck.."
"Don't  you wish you were there yesterday when they were making their take-off run across the bay?" Asked Ike with a wishful tone in his voice. 
"your dam right I do! ~~ I can just close my eyes and picture to scene ~~ we could have been in buddies boat getting a close up view as they thundered across the water one after the other ~~ with a fine spray coming off the step and transitioning into a cloud of mist engulfing those three red white and blue colored tail fins.~~ Leaving the water one at a time, climbing and slowly disappearing into the dark eastern horizon ~~. What a sight it must have been."
"Gees Bobby!  You got some imagination ~~if I didn't know any better, I'd  swear you were there" said Ike, rather sarcastically, adding." we didn't go, all we heard about the start, was the message of farewell from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt. who ever that is."

"Fred and Charlie look pretty ridiculous in those leopard skin suits commented Ike in a disapproving tone to his voice.
"Know something interesting Ike? dos suits have electric wires for keeping them warm while they are up in the air. they are plugged into batteries"
"Das interesting ~~ Bobby! ~~: changing the subject again ~~ how the hell did Charlie and Fred pick this place for a starting point? ~~ taking off from dis place, is like trying to pull yourself out of a hole. All around this place is nothing but rising hills, especially going west .~~ Taking off to the east is out of the question cause when the wind blows from there it's never fit to fly ~~ Easterly wind around here means fog cascading over the hills, and bad weather all around. No body in his right mind would fly wit an East wind." Ranted Bobby.

"Where is the best starting place around." "The best place, I would say is somewhere up n the highroad; one of them fields off Le Marchant road." "Ya your right! it would be a snap to take-off up there. Ya almost takes off yourself up there when the wind is blowing and there she is almost always blowing  gale." "All they would have to do is point her down the hill and let her roll over the edge; ya'd be flying before you knew it, me thinks."

The conversation switched to the Sopwith team of Hawker and Grieves. Ike had made friends with some of the with a couple of the mechanics when he was delivering telegraph messages, which he had done on several occasions. They had even gone for a swimming session at the Twin Falls" swimming hole, which was not far from where they had set up operations at their  Mt. Pearl flying field. The friendship had grown to the point where they would confide in him enough to make candid comments concerning the state of the development their technical preparations for the  crossing attempt. The last time that Ike was at the Mt. Pearl field, one of the mechanics commented that he was concerned about the big flight because he was still struggling to find the solution to a persistent engine overheating problem. Ike had asked at that time if the engine in the Sopwith was anything like the engines in Kerr's Handley Page..Bob had told Ike that all the aircraft engaged in the bid for the Atlantic were using basically the same engine; even the Americans, the Liberty engines in the NC's was a V12 water cooled engine very similar to the Rolls Rice 12 cylinders that powered the Marinsyde and Sopwith airplanes. Ike had been amazed by this piece of information, because these aircraft were so radically different, except for the Sopwith and the Martinsyde of course, which bore many similarities to one another. Ike started to put it all together. The problem that Hawker was having with that radiator, Ike surmised that the problem rad must be the one that was not damaged in the mishap at the dock. he recalled what he had heard at the news conference at Trepassey and the words of the radiator man at Kevin's shop at the dockyards. and now he was suddenly concerned for the safety of the crew of the Atlantic, Hawker and Grieves.

" D'ya 
think they will make it." uttered Ike.
"Who!"
"Hawker and Grieves of course.~~ What do you think their chances are of making it across knowing what we do about the overheating problem?"
"I think they are going into the drink that's what I think.~~ hand me those glasses; I think that they are about to fire up the Martnsyde they are moving back the crowd from around the airplane." 

The aircrew were seated in their cockpits and the ground crew were lifting the tail from the makeshift saw horse type support upon which it had been supported.Taking turns the boys followed the progress through their pair of field glasses. There were four men handling the tail and one positioned on each of the lower wings. 
"They are swinging her around to go downwind to the end of the field." Said Bobby in an excited voice. 
"I don't hear the engine."
"They haven't started it yet. They have to push her back to the far end of the field so they will have the longest ground run. They don't want to needlessly waste precious fuel taxing around on the ground. They may just need that fuel at the other end of their journey."
"Hand me those glasses ~~ Does it look like they will be using the roadway for the take-off, or the lower strip by the water?"
I can't tell yet ~~ they are using the roadway for the push-back.".
"What's happening!"
"Hold on a minute.~~ I think they are starting to turn her around. There are still dozens of kids and others milling around and getting into the way"
"My turn!~~hand me those glasses; I'll tell you what's going on."
"Those ground crew guys must be awful strong; two of em just picked up the tail and swung her around into the wind, with Fred and Charlie sitting in the cockpit."
"Don't be silly you don't have to be strong to do that. Most of the weight is up front; balanced just aft of the main wheels; less than 5 percent is carried by the tail skid.~~ any way, she only weighs about 3000 pounds and 5 percent is 150 pounds at the tail. I could lift that much myself." 
"Your full of it Johnson! Where did you learn all that?"
"Charlie told me." replied Bobby, indignantly . " and I think, he should know. ~~ he told me all about their Martinsyde;.how she's a one off, built especially for this mission. Do you want to know what else he told me?" 
" yes! ~~  Go ahead; I know your just dying to tell me."
"Well! ~~ for your information.~~ she's an enlarged version of the two-seat two-bay wings version of the F.4 Buzzard..The  Buzzard has a span of 41 ft and a length of 26 ft  and is fitted with a 285 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon twelve-cylinder, water-cooled V-engine. Fuel tanks have a total capacity of 370 gal giving it a range of 2,500 miles at an average speed of 100 mph with an all-up weight was 3,250 lb."
"Very impressive Bobby! Now tell me how long will it take them to get across to Ireland?" 
"That's easy, if every goes according to plan, they will be in Ireland 19 hours after they take-off.from here." 
"That means if they get away by four, they will be there at 11:00 tomorrow morning. They are getting ready to start the engine."
 
" I can see them priming the cylinders by turning that big wooden propeller slowly, one blade at a time." 

As the boys watched Fred raised his left hand as a signal to the ground crew that he was turning the ignition switched and on hearing the word contact from the pilot the two man prop crew with a left hand holding a blade of the huge wooden propeller and the right holding his partners left; they combined their effort to pull the smartly engine through a partial revolution. The Rolls Falcon responded with a roar and bellowing clouds of black smoke issuing from the exhaust stacks on both sides of the engine cowling.

Within a few seconds the roar and smoke transitioned into a even throb and the black smoke disappeared and was replaced by a thin wisp of grey exhaust.Fred eased the throttle open as the ground crew restrained the Raymor from inching forward to slowly warm up the Falcon to it's normal running temperature. This seemed to go on for an eternity to the boys eagerly watching through the lone pair of field glasses. Then finally after a couple of short bursts of throttle; with one almighty roar the craft started it's takeoff ground roll across the bumpy terrain agonizingly slow at first the craft began to look a trifle light on her wheels as she approached flying speed.

"I don't like the look of this." Uttered Bobby who was now in possession of the glasses. "They are running out of runway. They are heading for the creek." 
"You don't need those glasses now. They still have a way to go before they reach the creek. Those glasses are giving you a distorted view."
"It's gonna be touch and go though; she is still accelerating and she is not ready to rise. Just look at her bouncing over that rough ground.

Come on Fred, yank her off, make her fly."  Then suddenly, without warning the undercarriage collapsed after striking a small ridge just as it looked like she was finally ready to take to the air. The force on the collapsing gear pitched the ship downward and she plummeted into the creek bank nose first. 
"Holy Moses! Lets  get over there." Cried the two boys in unison as they grabbed their bikes and cycled quickly towards the crumpled hulk which rested partly hidden from their view barely three hundred feet away. They were at the crash in a flash, dismounting and dropping their bikes as they skidded to a halt.
"My god! I think they are alive but I don't like the look at that nasty gash on Charlie's forehead." 

The two aviators sat motionless for a few moments in a daze then slowly began to climb down from their seats in the twisted wreckage as the first rescuers arrived at the site with a car to drive the two shaken airmen to hospital. 
"I feel sick for them; after all that effort, it's all over for them. They didn't even get off the ground." Stated Ike in a disheartened  voice. "
"I know! and just look at those raggedy arse kids making off with the wreckage.
There will be nothing to rebuild if we don't stop them." 
 "Beat it kids! Get out of here! Leave it alone! We're taking over this crash scene until the crew chief gets here to secure the site. The first one who lays a hand on this aircraft will get  busted arse from one of us."

The boys were able to hold the kids at bay until the ground crew with the aid of a couple of local constabulary were in position. 
" Bobby! I want a souvenir of the Raymor"
"Pick up a piece of that smashed propeller; no one is ever going to put that back together again."

Initial newspaper reports said that Morgan's injuries were not serious but, later reports confirm that he had lost his left eye and his sight in the right eye was threatened. Before leaving Newfoundland Morgan wrote a touching farewell to the friends he had made during his 4 month stay. He thanked the people of Newfoundland, for their support and encouragement. He also made an apology to the spectators; for what he referred to as hisl curt comments and unfriendly gestures he had made at the flying site. Sighting the stress of not knowing their fate and not being in control of their destiny during those frantic days leading up to their attempted departure. He also referred to what he thought at the time, was the death of his comrades Hawker and Grieves; seeing that they had been missing for four full days without any reports of their fate.

The Martinsyde was rebuilt, given a new name (Chimera), and fitted with a new engine to replace the one damaged in the crash. Raynham found a replacement navigator for the injured Morgan. After a long search, Lieutenant Conrad Biddlecombe accepted the challenge ,and on July 17,  a second take-off attempt was made; only to end as did the unlucky first.
Continued
To read all the chapters of The Great Airplane Race of 1919 now

Monday, May 17, 2010

ED Bee Mk 1 1.0 cubic centimeter displacement

ED Bee Mk 1 1.0 cubic centimeter displacement, manufactured in England in the 1950's. It was famous for it's ease of starting and reliability.  This was my first diesel engine and it sat in a box for many years before getting around to running it. Installed in a single channel Keil Kraft high wing cabin model controlled via a rubber powered simple escapement hooked to the rudder (one pulse right two left). A perfect recipe for relaxing flying, until faced with a downwind fly away. Pictured here sporting its new Kirby manufactured needle valve assembly and custom compression adjuster made with a special thread to match the thread restoring Helicoil insert that was used to repair the stripped head threads.  See this little gem run on homemade fuel, using a mixture of 60 % lamp fuel, 20% Castor oil and 20% Cold Engine Quick Start (Ether).


For more information on other model aircraft vintage engines,don't forget to visit my other Blog at: http://antiquemodelenginesrunning.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ohlson and Rice 23




Manufactured in The U.S.A. in 1949 by Ohlson and Rice, this is an upgraded glow version of a popular low priced ignition engine of that time. This version features a roller bearing supported crank shaft, front intake and large side exhaust stack. Click on the object below to see and hear this old girl run and note for yourself the difference in sounds of this long stroke design, as compared to our short stroke modern engines.




For more information on other model aircraft vintage engines,don't forget to visit my other Blog at: http://antiquemodelenginesrunning.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 10, 2010

Third British Transatlantic Flight Entry Now in Newfoundland

Saturday May 10 1919







Headlines:-


HANDLEY MACHINE REACHES ST. JOHN'S; Third British Transatlantic Flight Entry Now in Newfoundland. READY IN THREE WEEKS Vice Admiral Kerr of Royal Air Force in Command of the Giant Bomber's Crew.
"READ ALL ABOUT IT!" - Read The EBook



On Monday May 12, the day after they returned from their trip to Trepassey, Ike and Dick make their way across the tracks to the dock yards, to meet the steamer Digby, which is tied up and off loading cargo. The steamer arrived in Port on Saturday and because Sunday was a holiday they had to wait until Monday to offload their cargo. As the two approached the steamer, they could see that a large crowd of curious spectators had turned out to witness the unloading of the giant Handley Page Berlin bomber. Ike and Dick threaded their way, one behind the other through a large group of local men, mostly longshore men who could always be found hanging around these docks, forever hopeful of a few hours work.



There were also hundreds of sailors from the cruiser Chicago that was also in port as part of the flotilla of U.S. warships assigned to support the NC seaplanes and the C-5 dirigible that were also bidding for the honors to be the first to cross the Atlantic by air. Ike noticed from the sailor's hats that they didn't all belong to the Chicago, many were from other U.S. Navy ships that were anchored at Trapassy bay. These sailors were on shore leave and had come in on the morning special train put on for the occasion.



The two young workers finally elbowed their way to the gang plank and scampered on board, making their way to the main cargo hatch where Dick presented his documents to the ships purser and the hatch crew boss.

Hi guys I'm from the Express Office, said Dick; we're here to weigh in the stuff das going to Harbor Grace.

"Oh! ~~ that stuff is being off loaded from the forward hatch." said the boss of the hatch crew.

"Do you see who I see?" Said Ike, as he looked around for something large enough to hide behind.

" Oh jaysus! exclaimed Dick, with a startled look on his face. "That's old R.G. him self, the big boss, don't let him see us."

"He already has!" said Ike, giving up on his search for cover and stiffening up to face the inevitable. "and he is coming over this way."

"Hello boys!" said Robert Gillespy Reid. Known respectfully throughout the railway as simply, R.G.  Waving his arms, in the direction of the forward hatch, as he approached the the boys. "over this way ~~ I want you to expedite this shipment ~~ This is a very important material, and I want you to give it your undivided attention ~~ handle these boxes and crates, with extreme care and caution ~~ they belong to The Vice Admiral of the Royal Air force ~~ He is standing over there with those other men ~~ You will do any thing he asks; without question ~~ Do you hear what I am saying?"

"Yes Sir!" replied the two, standing at attention, with their caps in their hand, waiting for more orders.

"These people are going to be the first men in history, to fly to England from North America, and those boxes contain their special equipment ~~ and I do not want it to be said that my railway is responsible for any actions that hinder the fulfillment of that goal. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes Sir!" uttered the two young workers again



With that R.G. Ried (4) senior vice president of the Ried Newfoundland Railway,. walked slowly back to the Royal Air force contingent standing near the railing. Chancing a look in that direction Ike and Dick started to laugh under their breath.

“Just look at that guy” said Ike, fighting back the laughter as he spoke. “all dressed up with a chest full of ribbons and medals; he looks like he could be the Kaiser himself”

“What a pompous ass” replied Dick, stepping back from the hatch where he was standing, defiantly, with his left foot perched upon the rim.



With a hiss of escaping steam, and a whirring sound, from the pulleys and gears of the steam driven winch, bundles of boxes began to be hoisted from the hold of the ship They were coming in bundles of two or three at a time.

“Tell those guys down there to send them up, one at a time” “will ya?” said Dick to the hoist operator.

“Buzz off kid, who do you think you are; we've dun dis before, millions a times” Said the hatch boss, who was now standing in Dick's former position, with his hands placed on his hips.

“You don't understand; these are very delicate aeroplane parts and Mr. Reid is holding me personally responsible for their safe shipment.” Uttered Dick in a pleading tone”



Dick had no sooner finished his plead when, just as another bundle of boxes was being hoisted the strap slipped and two crates tumbled back into the hold with a crash as they struck the bottom, the boxes broke apart spilling their contents. Both Ike and Dick spun around to see if the Vice Admiral heard the crash, but were relieved to see that they had left their position on the rail and had apparently gone ashore.



Leaping into the hold together they quickly inspected the contents for visible damage. They didn't have to look too closely to discover that the crates had contained four cooling radiators and they were damaged. Two had landed on their corner and were sprung and twisted out of shape. The other two, which were first thought to have escaped unscathed, but on closer examination, one had been punctured in several places.

“Holy Moses Wat do we do now?” moaned Dick, with the look of doom written all over his face.
“Why! Ya know we didn't do anything."  Pleaded Ike. With a shrug but at the same time his embarrassment showing all over his face.  "It was those crazy bastard longshore men in the hold ~~ and anyway I'm not suppose to be here at all ~~ remember; your the one who works for the Express Department ~~ I'm just a messenger”

“You heard what old R.G. said:  Your the one he was looking directly at." Replied Dick. Not wanting the whole responsibility of the disaster to fall on his shoulders, he drives the message home, by prodding Ike in the shoulder with his index finger.  "He knows you you are always around; at his mansion; in his office; your his number one gofer”

"Guess your right! ~~ We had better think of something real fast, after what the old man just said.” Ike replied, as he walked around in circles thinking out loud, and adding. “Maybe we can get the boys at the car shop to rebuild them ~~ we could collect them, and send them out when their fixed ~~ we could sort of loose em, then find them at the last minute ~~ just before they fire us.”

“It's a crazy plan but I can't think of anything else and it might just work.” replied Dick, as he perched himself on one of the boxes, with his head in his hands. “We have to think this thing through ~~ they want this stuff on the morning train to Harbor Grace and it's all going as express; That's my orders from my boss.”

“I over heard old man Reid say that the aircrew were staying at his mansion on Topsail Road for the week but, the maintenance crew are going with the shipment tomorrow morning” Said Ike.

“The paper work says there are 103 boxes under hatches and 6 large crates on deck; we will have to show that on the weigh bills but ~~ sneak the busted ones over to the repair shop, without any of those maintenance guys noticing ~~ by the time they realize there are two missing items, the shop will have the rads all patched up as good as new”. Said Dick.

“I'm going to ask the guys to send up the busted crates after everything else has been landed and den I'll run them over to the shops on a hand cart.~~ meantime Dick, you do your thing”
“OK! I'll do up the weigh bills an, accept the rest of the shipment and have them loaded on the cars."  Said Dick, his spirits beginning to rise again.  "I'll catch up with you later”.

“I think that's a good plan!” said Ike, starting to relax a little himself. “I'll let you know later, how I made out at the shops.”

The contents of the broken crates were hoisted from the hold and slung ashore behind the crowd of onlookers. Ike stacked the two broken crates onto one of the hand carts that were lying about on the track side platform, without attracting the lest bit of attention as: all eyes were on the loading progress of the more impressive larger crated items, some measuring  as much as 40 feet in length.

The component parts of the gigantic Berlin bomber were clearly visible through the openings of the wooden crates and the spectacle was enough to hold the attention of the onlookers, while Ike slipped around the corner of the freight shed, pulling the hand cart.

At the rear of the shed he turned left on an alley way lined with work shops. trudging past the boiler shop, then the lighting shop, the welding and fabrication metal shops with the loaded cart in tow. He heard one of the younger workers call to him.
“Watcha ya got there Crock?”
Looking over his shoulder Ike spotted Toe Burne, one of the gang that he went down to Trapassey with last weekend.

“Just some busted old radiators that need fixing” Replied Ike. Changing to a softer voice, he whispered into Toe's ear. “Listen Toe! we got a big problem; they belong to the Handley Page shipment, that arrived this morning on the Digby that's tied up at the freight dock and those bastard longshoremen busted em up.”

“So what! those guys are always busten stuff” Said Toe, in a big nonchalant voice.
“I know but old R.G. himself told Dick and me we were personally responsible fur delivering them to Harbour Grace safely.”
“Well that's different! Said Toe, pointing down the alley as he spoke. “Let's take um down to the heating shop and see if the Super can help ya out” Kevin is always there when an employee needs a rabbit job done in a hurry”

The next shop up the alley was the heating shop where they fabricated and repaired heating systems for all railway buildings, ships and rolling stock. The Superintendent was Kevin Hawko, a short handsome man in his early forties with an olive complexion, and jet black hair. Kevin was a cheerful type always with a smile and friendly word for everyone. As Ike and Toe walked through the wide open door, pulling the load of damaged aircraft radiators. They arrived as Kevin, his back to the door, was engaged in conversation with one of the shop's workers. The worker looked up as the boys entered, Kevin picking up on the distraction swung around to seeing the boys pulling this strange load.
“What's all that stuff Crock?  You usually come here with the pay envelopes "  Said Kevin. Adding with a laugh.  "and you don't need a hand cart fur dem, ~~ do ya?.”
“No! ~~  next week is pay week. said ike, placing his hand on one of the broken crates. “ I got a couple a brace a rabbits here that needs fixing”

The meaning of Ike's explanation, was universally understood by all railway workers, especially to Kevin. Ike was asking for a big personal favor, which usually took precedence over official business within the railway community.

“ Usually people are after a new firebox for der kitchen range or a hot water heating coil to stuff in their stove for some hot running water but You got suppen very different there” Said Kevin, who eyed the radiators with interest.

“ I'm in a bit of a jam cus the big boss said he would hold me to task if any thing happened to dis shipment ~~ and the no sooner had he uttered the words when these things went crashing into the hold of the Digby” Said Ike, turning it on a bit to appeal to Kevin's generous nature.

“ We'll do what we can Ike.”said Kevin, with a shrug, indicating that there were a lot rabbits needing attention at this moment. “Just put em over there in the corner”



On Tuesday the 13th Dick made a visit to the boiler shop to see what progress on the broken radiators. "They are almost finish Dick. Go have a word with the boys in the back; they can give you a better idea when they will be ready to be picked up." said Kevin adding. "Who ever is using them should know that ya have to use distilled water, not well water but distilled ~~ like, what I puts into R.G.'s Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, all the time."

Dick went to the back of the shop to a room where the rads were being painted. "Hi Dick! What are you doing over this way?"

"I came over to see if there was any good news with those busted rads that Crock left with you guys yesterday.”

"' they are almost finished ~~ they were painted this morning and they will be dry by 5 or 6 tonight ~~ We had to replace the core on three of them, and the other tested out fine just a small dent in the top chamber which we repaired with solder. The new core material has slightly bigger tubes than the original but no one will never notice that; it only means that they are less likely to clog."

"Great! one of us will be over to collect them later today.”

After their shift had ended Dick and Ike crossed over the tracks and headed for the dockyard shops pushing a hand. Turning to Dick, Ike asks. "So tell me Dick. Did we get away with it so far? Has the muck hit the fan at the Express Office? I haven't heard boo about it at the Telegraph Office."

“There is only an Inquiry reporting that Harbor Grace only received 107 packages of a shipment of 109 and asking us to look into it .~~ Fortunately the boss gave it to me to investigate and that was just this morning. I'm going to have good news to report before I get out of here tonight. I can report that the two missing crates were found at the Dockyard and will be in-transit to the consignee at Harbor Grace at the first possible opportunity ."

"That's the best news I heard all week." Replied Ike.

To be continued

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