By Richard Marman
After the initial assault on Le Hamel, Callan was busy causing as much havoc as he could for the Boche. He took some ground fire, but there were very few enemy planes in the sky and the RAF seemed to have them under control. At last the allies dominated the sky.
The ground below was a mass of artillery and mortar smoke. Shells exploded in accurate lines just ahead of the advancing infantry. One of Callans Fairy III crews tasks was to drop maps to the Australian gun crews indicating the new enemy positions and ensuring they didnt pour friendly-fire onto the Diggers and doughboys.
Amid the palls of smoke Callan spotted a column of German storm troopers advancing along one of the support trenches to reinforce their beleaguered front-line comrades. He marked their position on his chart, but before he returned to the artillery sites he couldnt resist one quick pass. He banked his plane sharply and lined up along the trench which ran at ninety degrees to the main defence line.
The Pups wheels were barely above the barb-wire when Callan headed for the approaching Germans. His machinegun rattled and a trail of deadly lead scythed into the men in the trench. The Germans had nowhere to go. Soldiers fell into the muddy trench bottom some ripped apart by bullets and some diving for cover.
Callan banked again and pulled the Pup skywards when he reached the point where the trench turned at right-angles again. But, if he thought the Boche storm troopers were going to take a pasting lying down, he was sadly mistaken. The survivors quickly clambered to the trench rim and a hail of rifle fire zinged after Callans plane.
Slugs ripped through the canvas covered wings and fuselage, but the Pup was tough and still airworthy. As Callan registered the hits, he felt searing pain knife from his right ear across his temple. The pain was so sharp Callan immediately felt a peculiar vagueness, almost as if he wanted to go to sleep.
He’d received a head wound from a stray slug and momentarily passed out. The lurching aircraft jogged Callan back to consciousness as the nose dipped alarmingly earthwards. Instinctively Callan drew back on the control stick and the Pup reared skywards. Normally this would have been a simple manoeuvre, but in Callans semi-aware state he grossly over-controlled, causing the plane to porpoise through the sky.
He was unable to recall if he came to his senses or drifted into oblivion and relaxed, but the plane stabilised and returned to level flight. The searing pain returned to his forehead, becoming so unbearable he lost all rational concentration.
From then on he flew by instinctively trimming the flying controls for level flight. Callans vision was so blurred he could not make out his compass. He carried on for over an hour until his petrol ran out.
What he didnt realise was hed been flying the wrong way deeper into Germany all the time.
The wound may have been just a graze and Callan finally came to his senses when the motor quit. Maybe it was jolt that brought him round just in time to pick a field and land the machine.
Callan remembered clambering from the cockpit. There was no danger of the plane exploding as the petrol tank was empty. The next thing he was aware of was a crowd of bellicose locals rushing towards him. They were armed with farm implements including axes, scythes and pitch-forks along with a few shotguns and fowling pieces. There were a few militia and policemen with the crowd and they were armed with Mauser rifles. The males were either senior citizens or boys.
He may have been groggy, but Callan was smart enough to know it wasnt a welcoming committee. All pilots were issued with a Very-pistol as well as their service revolvers. Callan drew his Very- pistol and fired a flare into his plane.
Although there was no fuel to ignite, the fabric caught fire under the flares intense sulphuric heat. As the oncoming crowd had no fire-fighting equipment, the plane was destroyed in moments. That enraged the locals and a couple of shots came his way, until the militia ordered a cease-fire. Callan raised his hands and walked towards the oncoming mob…….
In Chronological Sequence.
Action and Adventure aplenty.
McALISTER's TRAIL - Set against the panoramic backdrop of New Mexico, Sonora, Arizona and California in 1867, Jubal Quinn is desperate. He is a black trooper in the newly formed 10th Cavalry accused of murdering a white man. Behind bars and doomed to hang, his only chance is to escape from the stockade with the help of Billy Songbird, a wayward, half-breed, Kiowa teenager. And so the action begins…..
McALISTER AND THE GREAT WAR - On his seventeenth birthday, New South Wales farm boy, Callan McAlister joins the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and is swept away to war.
His first taste of blood comes in the Sinai Desert, before he is shipped to Gallipoli. Callan receives a shock while convalescing in peaceful, idyllic Ireland during the Easter of 1916. But the Western Front awaits - all before his nineteenth birthday. He falls in love with a lovely English beauty, Ivy Brown, but their path to happiness is neither easy nor pre-ordained. A lowly Australian private is viewed with doubt and disapproval by Ivy’s aristocratic family not to mention Callan’s chances of surviving the brutality of the Great War.
McALISTER’S WAY - By his 15th birthday, young Danny McAlister goes on the run. Escaping from a draconian boarding school after seriously injuring the principal. His flight takes him through Northern Queensland to the New Guinea Highlands where he searches for his father, lost while fighting the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.
“Mad Monty” teaches him to fly meets and he meets Angela Holyman. Together they cross into Frenchy Duval and his cut-throat pirates.
McALISTER’S HOARD - only months after escaping from Frenchy Duvals band of cut throat pirates (McAlisters Way), Danny McAlister and Angela Holyman are once again thrown into a thrilling, helter-skelter adventure in their tropical, South-Sea paradise. More action and adventure aplenty.
McALISTER'S SIEGE - Danny McAlister and Mad Monty are on the run once more. They find themselves working for General Claire Chennault’s China Air Transport only to be dragged into the last throes of the Chinese Civil War and then onto Korea where Danny learns first-hand the horrors of battle. But far worse is yet to come.
After the Korean cease-fire, General Chennault assigns Danny to Vietnam where he rejoins his old flame, med-student, Angela Holyman. Unwittingly Danny and Angela are thrown into the desperate, bloody climax of the siege at Dien Bien Phu.
MCALISTER'S ALLEGIANCE - After recovering from injuries suffered at Dien Bien Phu, Danny is straight back into action in Saigon via Taipei. The 17th Parallel has just been created with the communists to the North. But South Vietnam is awash spies and agents from the CIA, MI6 and other secret service types from the West, but especially Russian, Chinese and with North Vietnamese infiltrators, all vying to fill the, soon to be, power vacuum currently being created by the French who are starting to pull out of Indochina.Still flying for CAT airlines, commonly referred to as the most shot-at airline in the world, Monty and Angela join him as they plunge headlong into another non-stop, breathtaking odyssey which spreads across five continents, landing in one desperate scrape after another. Finally all three make heart-breaking decisions which ultimately define their true allegiance.
McALISTER’S SPARK - Advance fifty years and in an instant the developed world is destroyed and plunged into anarchy. Can Zach McAlister, Karen Davenport and Mike Farrow survive as theyre thrust into a feral and deadly new order?
Not only must they come to terms with their Stone Age environment and the use of only Medieval technology, but also face the terror of marauding tribal gangs, whose only method of survival is violence and conquest.
Will they be able to forge a future themselves and their descendants? The question can only be answered through their courage, determination and friendship. But, is that enough?