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Being the Narrative of "Lieutenant Jefson, Aviator."



First Edition, June. 1915.
2nd Edition. July. 1915.

Printed and Published by Building Limited.
17 Grosvenor Street. Sydney,


1910.--"The Air Age and its Military Significance."

1911.--"The Highway of the Air and the Military Engineer."

1913.--"The Balkan Battles." How Bad Roads Lost a War.

1913.--"The Schemers." (A Story.)

1913.--"Songs for Soldiers."

1914.--"Town Planning for Australia."

"Ah! when Death's hand our own warm hand hath ta'en
Down the dark aisles his sceptre rules supreme,
God grant the fighters leave to fight again
And let the dreamers dream!"


These are mighty days.

We stand at the close of a century of dazzling achievement; a century
that gave the world railways, steam navigation, electric telegraphs,
telephones, gas and electric light, photography, the phonograph, the
X-ray, spectrum analysis, anęsthetics, antiseptics, radium, the
cinematograph, the automobile, wireless telegraphy, the submarine and
the aeroplane!

Yet as that brilliant century closed, the world crashed into a war to
preserve that high level of human development from being dragged back to

And how the scenes of battle change!

Cities are being smashed and ships are being torpedoed. Thousands of
lives go out in a moment. And these tremendous tragedies pass so swiftly
that it is risky to write a story round them carrying any touch of
prophecy. I, therefore, attempt it, realising that risk. The story is
written for the close of the year 1917. Its incidents are built upon the
outlook at June, 1915.

It first appeared in an Australian weekly journal, "Construction," in
January, 1915, and already some of its early predictions have been
realised; as, for instance, the entry of Italy in June, the use of
"thermit" shells, and the investigation of "scientific management in
Australian work."

To many readers, some of the predictions may not pleasantly appeal. But
it must be remembered that, being merely predictions, they are not
incapable of being made pleasant in the practical sense. In other words,
should any threaten to develop truth, to materialise, all efforts can be
concentrated in shaping them to the desired end.

Predictions are oftentimes warnings. Many of these are.

The story is written to impress the people, with their great
responsibilities in these wonderful days--when a century of incident is
crowded into a month, when an hour contains sixty minutes of tremendous
possibilities, when each of us should live the minutes, hours, days and
weeks with every fibre strained to give the best that is in us to help
in the present stupendous struggle for the defence of civilisation.

Sydney, Australia, June, 1915.

The map, on pages 6 and 7, shows the lines followed by the German
armies through Belgium and France during August and September, 1914.
The main line of the Allies' attack, through Metz, in August and
September, 1915, culminating in the defeat of Germany (predicted for
the purpose of this story) is also shown.

You can facilitate the early realisation of this prediction by
enlisting NOW.




They often met before and fought.
To gain supremacy in sport.
They meet again now side by side.
For freedom in the whole world wide.]



It was the second day in February, 1915.

I'll not forget it in a hurry. That day I fell into the hands of the
German Army. "Fell," in my case, was the correct word, for my monoplane
was greeted with a volley of shots from some tree-hidden German troops
as I was passing over the north-eastern edge of the Argonne Forest.

I was returning from Saarbruck when I got winged. Bullets whizzed
through the 'plane, and one or two impinged on the engine. I tried to
turn and fly out of range, but a shot had put the rudder out of action.
An attempt to rise and trust to luck was baulked by my engine losing
speed. A bullet had opened the water cooler, and down, down the 'plane
glided, till a clear space beyond a clump of trees received it rather
easily. I let the petrol run out and fired it to put the machine out of
use. Then a rifle cracked and a bullet tore a hole through my left side,
putting me into the hospital for six weeks.

That forced idleness gave me plenty of time for retrospection.

I lived the previous energetic five months over and over again. I had
little time before to think of anything but my job and its best
possibilities, but the quietness of the hospital at Aix la Chapelle made
the previous period of activity seem a nightmare of incident.

I remember how surprise held me that I should be lying wounded in a
German hospital--I, a lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps, who for
years before the war, had actually been a member of an Australian Peace

Zangwill's couplet had been to me a phrase of force:--

"To safeguard peace--we must prepare for war.
I know that maxim--it was forged in Hell!"

I remembered well how I had hung on the lips of Peace Advocate Doctor
Starr Jordan during his Australian visits, and how I had wondered at his
stories that Krupp's, Vicker's, and other great gun-building concerns
were financially operated by political, war-hatching syndicates; that
the curse of militarism was throttling human progression, and that the
doctrine of "non-resistance" was noble and Christianlike, for "all they
that take the sword shall perish by the sword."

I remembered how in Australia I had grieved that aviation, in which I
took a keen interest as a member of the Aerial League, was being
fostered for military purposes instead of for that glorious epoch
foretold by Tennyson:--

For I dipped into the future far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonders that would be,
Saw the heavens filled with commerce, Argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales.

I remembered I felt that the calm of commerce held far more glories than
the storm of war; that there was no nobler philosophy than:--

"Ye have heard it said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;
but I say ... resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy
right cheek, turn to him the other also. If any man take thy coat,
let him have thy cloke also."

Then came the thunderclap of war; and in the lightning flash I saw the
folly of the advocacy of peace. I felt that I, like others, had held
back preparation for this great war, that had been foreseen by trained
minds. I felt that extra graves would have to be dug, because
dreamers--like myself--had prated peace instead of helping to make our
nation more secure.

"Non-resistance" may be holy, but it encourages tyranny and makes easy
the way of the wrongdoer. If every man gave his cloak to the thief who
stole his coat, there would be no inducement for the robber to lead an
honest life. Vice would be more profitable than virtue.

"Non-resistance" may be saintly, but it would make it impossible to help
the weak or protect the helpless from cruelty and outrage.

All law, all justice, rests on authority and force. A judge could not
inflict a penalty unless there were force to carry it out.

Creeds, after all, are tried in the fires of necessity. "They that take
the sword shall perish by the sword." Well, the Kaiser had grasped the
sword. By whose sword should he perish except by that of the defender?

Christ's teachings are characterised by sanity and strength. He speaks
of His angels as ready to fight for Him; He flogged the moneychangers
from the temple: He said that no greater love can be shown than by a
man's laying down his life for his friend; and the Allies fighting
bravely to protect the oppressed, were manifesting to the full this
great love. Germany's attack on a weaker nation, which she had signed to
protect, called for punishment from other nations who had also pledged
their honor.

Unhappy Belgium called to the civilised world to check the German
outrages on its territory and people.

My peace doctrines went out like straw before a flame. I was a
"peace-dove" winged by grim circumstance; and that is how I became a man
of war.


England to Belgium, in 1870: "Let us hope they (Germany) will not
trouble you, but if they do--"

(Tenniel, in "London Punch," at the time of the Franco-Prussian War.)]


The First Three Months of War.

I was in England when the war cloud burst, having just completed a
course of aviation at the Bristol Flying Grounds; so I volunteered for
active service; and, after a month's military training, was appointed a
lieutenant in Number 4 Squadron of the R.F.C.

I remember how the first crash of war struck Europe like a smash in the
face. How armies were rapidly mobilised! How the British Fleet steamed
out into the unknown, and Force became the only guarantee of national

It is hard to write of these things now that many days have passed
between, for events followed each other with the swiftness of a mighty

How Germany thrilled the universe by throwing at Belgium the greatest
army the world had ever seen. An awful wave of 1,250,000 men crashed
upon the gate of Liege.

How the great Krupp siege guns slowly crawled up, stood out of range of
the Liege forts, and broke them at ease.

How through the battered gate a flood of Uhlans poured to make up for
that wasted fortnight, preceded by their Taube aeroplanes spying out the
movements of the Belgium army; the German artillery following, and
smashing a track through France!

How that fortnight gave France and England the chance to interpose a
wall of men and steel, which met the shock of battle at Mons, but was
pushed back almost to the gates of Paris.

It was at the battle of Mons that the squadron to which I was attached
went into active operation, reconnoitring the battle line on our left

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