The Birkenhead Badgers

Captain Randolph Challenger

 

Challenger is a stout loud man in his late 50s. It’s not sure where his flying experience comes from but he’s a competent pilot and a skilled aerial tactician. He is also an excellent aerial engineer and inventor. It’s also vague where his customised Bristol Blenheim came from he just turned up with it and a set of spares and offered his service to the Free City.

By sheer force of personality he was given command of the Flying Circus that flies out of Birkenhead Park he promptly named it the ‘Birkenhead Badgers’ and has assembled a Squadron of misfit pilots with various aircraft. Given their bespoke nature the ‘Badgers’ often fly in support of ALFIES operations.

Challenger can be short tempered, rash and overconfident. He can also be given to moments of deep melancholy and introspection.  He is very good and resolving conflicts within his band of mismatched pilots whether by a quiet word or loud bullying.

He tends to wear tired corduroy trousers tucked into flying boots, a black polo or grey roll neck cable sweater and leather overcoat with a flying helmet or civilian yacht captains cap. 

Challenger’s Chariot

 

Personally Challenger flies a Bristol Blenheim which is a bomber but has the ability to work as a long range fighter. The “Challenger’s Chariot’s” capacity is further enhanced by a series of modules he has engineered which can fit in the bomb bay to change the role of the plane. These include:

  • A module fitting the 37mm Coventry Ordinance Works automatic cannon (‘Q’ arranges the production of the ammunition for this.)
  • Twin 20mm cannon
  • Torpedo racks
  • ‘Parachute racks’ for dropping agents or equipment
  • ‘The clutch’ which is designed to snatch items hung from balloons (think ‘The Dark Knight’ film.)
  • Bomb Racks
  • Water skis to convert it into an amphibian

 

Challenger’s Co-Pilot

Flying Officer Peter Gantry

 

A somewhat unsuccessful former Royal Flying Corps/RAF pilot Gantry has found a home with Challenger after proving a disastrous Commander of the Greasby Local Defence Volunteers.

He’s a talented pilot and is meticulous at the details of operational planning and pre-flight checks. He can get stressed with responsibility of command and flustered which is why the co-pilot role suits him well.

He is a little protective of challenger and is known to get quite angry at those who dismiss his chief.

Gantry does not wear his RAF uniform given his disgust as his former service’s backing of the BUF Government.  He wears civilian dress with a leather fur lined jacket and flying helmet. He lives with his sister Beatrice who has took command of the ‘Badgers’ catering and comfort arrangements.

Challengers Gunner/Bombardier/Loadmaster           

Police Constable Warren Ennisland

 

Ennis is a member of the Birkenhead Police in his late 30s (though he looks younger) who served in the RAF towards the tail end of the Great War. He has a habit of flippancy and insubordination which meant he has been stuck at Constable rank in the Police. When Challenger turned up and was looking for an air gunner Ennis ‘enhanced’ his CV (he was actually a mechanic) and got a secondment.

Ennis has acquired a senior police officers tunic and peaked cap which he tends to wear instead of issue constable uniform and wooden top. He has sewed RAF aircrew wings on his tunic and tends to introduce himself to the ladies as ‘The Birkenhead Police Air Wing.’ He only bothers with ubiquitous leathers when scrambled.

He does like the ladies does Ennisland

Lieutenant Maximilian Varney

 

Varney is fresh faced man in his early 20s or late teens in the World War One uniform of a Royal Flying Corp officer. Why he has such an anachronistic uniform is unknown, he keeps very much to himself. 

He flies a black Hurricane and only flies night missions. By a special understanding with Challenger he only flies night missions tending to hunt Government bombers in the night skies. Such is his dedication to maintaining his night vision he does not come out in day light and even avoids electric lights.

 

He does not carouse as such but is known to have congress with the ladies of night of ‘Corporation Road’ and seems to have a mesmeric hold on them.  He occasionally shares the Company of his Squadron mates sipping from a glass of red wine.

He flies an all black Hurricane fighter that seems to have a muffled engine. The source of the aircraft is a mystery.

Ham and Ceallach Efendi

Ham is a broad shouldered well fed 5’10” gentleman from North Yorkshire. His parents were socialist intellectuals from Turkey who fled once Kemal Ataturk took control of the country. They made some shrewd investments and upon their death from influenza had managed to put a sizeable sum into trust for the young son. Unfortunately untrustworthy trustees tried to keep the fortunate for themselves and to save the money that should have been spent on Ham’s education enrolled him in a Catholic school.

As the son of Atheist parents from a Muslim culture school was not kind to Ham. It did instil in him a rebellious and independent streak which empowered him to quit school make a small stake for himself repairing radios and eventually prize some of his inheritance from the Trustees before they spent it all.  Using it as a springboard for a range of business Ham managed to become an established member on the North Yorkshire business establishment running a modest electronics empire.

Empowering him in all this was his marriage to the Irish descended pretty and voluptuous Ceallach who had been courting since his rebellious youth.  Not one to be restricted by social morays Ceallach assisted Ham in his business dealing and the pair of them indulged in the hobby of flying.

All this came to the end when Moseley came to the power. A few sharp business deals had upset sufficient rivals that the BUF decided to make an example of the couple. Apolitical Ham found himself becoming very political when the pair escaped arrest by the skin of their teeth thanks to the advice of a friendly servant.

Living on the run through out North Yorkshire they finally took their chance to escape via the usual means of steeling a German ‘Falcon Legion’ JU87 Stuka dive bomber managing to fly it to Liverpool they have since enrolled in the Birkenhead Badgers squadron to hit back at the regime that cost them their comfortable life.

Ham’s electronics expertise comes in very handy for the Squadron, while Ceallach’s attentive and displayed approaches to problems has become a boon for it’s logistical arrangements. She is effectively the Squadron’s quartermaster in all but name.

Obvious a German plane would be at risk of friendly fire in the skies above Liverpool so it has adopted a distinct paint job. The underside is a bright blue. The upper services are painted a bright scarlet with a web pattern on them.  The Stuka has nothing to add to the air defence of Liverpool but when the Squadron scrambled for those missions the pair operate AA guns at the squadron.

Ham maintains something of a dandy image with sharp suits, hats and shirts. Ceallach is more demure and understated if always elegant. Both are the very image of pragmatism when scrambled in appropriate flying attire.

 The Squadron has nicknamed them ‘Ham and Peas’ with typical humour.

Samson Loss

A strapping 6’5 working class Londoner with a full beard and thick hair . He wears spectacles and has surprisingly sensitive eyes. He also has a very committed sweat tooth. He’s a committed if eloquent socialist which may explain his service to the Free State. His piloting skills have been developed at the Squadron, and he has worked as a hospital orderly so knows a little first aid.  He flies a Gloster Gauntlet fighter in yellow livery. He also refuses to follow any encouragement to take physical exercise.

Gloster Gauntlet

James Macaque

James is another London working class socialist, with a neat moustache and retreating hairline who also flies a Gloster Gauntlet though this time in red.  It’s believed Samson and James escaped to Liverpool together one step ahead of the dirty-shirts.  The pair frequently disagree on the detail of their politics but share the same broad brush stokes. Both have been used to give political talks on Radio Free Briton and other Free State Radio stations attempting to inspire resistance in the South. He often adopts stray dogs before finding them a good home with a caring family.

Christmas Smith

Smith is 6’2” local from the town of Moreton who is committed to a vigorous regime of calisthenics. His moniker is an alias to protect family he believes to be in BUF occupied territory. Smith has a lumpy angular face and a body hewn from granite. He is demure, polite, even charming with women but can be confrontational, nit-picky and even aggressive with men.  He flies a prototype Fairy Fantome with precision and skill from his experience with the Royal Naval Air Service in the World War. One of his principal additions to the Squadron is the ability to expose the weaknesses of any plan and insist that they are hammered out. His skills as a draftsman have made him useful for transcribing the Professor’s more outlandish ideas into practical outcomes.

Fairy Fantome

 Uncle Harry

A local man – but with no apparent family to talk of. Harry is rotund & another Goliath at 6’5″ well spoken and well read – probably self educated with a wide ranging interest in science. he smokes a pipe and is thick of hair and beard. Wearing unpossessing dress of a worn Norfolk Jacket and shooting trousers and boots  with a mismatched tweed flat cap his background is kept quite. He is however in himself the very embodiment of avuncular and in a Squadron of passionate political firebrands acts as a smoothing presence. He flies a Serensky P-35-6  inherited from an American volunteer who managed to bring it down but not survive his injuries.

Sir Swintin Swinton

Quietly spoken and modest 5’7″ the bespectacled and balding Smith is an eccentric man of letters who developed an interest in flying as part of obscure spiritualist experiments. He is keenly attractive with an open face which shows little if any ravages of his debauched lifestyle.  Changing his lady friends as often has his headgear (he tends to rotate between fez, Pith helmet, arab headdress and sikh turban depending on the ‘spiritual moment’) he is well known figure about town. His spiritualism in a time of war has made him popular amongst the rich and them popular with his pocket. A unspecific for fierce socialism motivates him to fight for Free State and to pass on his earnings as a medium to the Squadron coffers. He flies a Polish PZL-P7 which he acquired before the wars from a customer who was a Polish General’s wife.

PZL-P7

 James Stolt

A friendly open if occasionally over apologetic corn fed midwesterner James is in the war for adventure. An enthusiastic wrestler and wrestling fan he arranges bouts with other Squadrons and militias for entertainment. He also trains Squadron members in self defence. Also a skilled cook  he often makes the Flyign Circuses rations spread further than they ought and taste better than they should.  He flies a Curtis Peashooter which he might have acquired illegally. He certainly tends to be suspicious of other Americans until they prove themselves.

Curtis Peashooter

 Pirate ‘Ginger’ Jimmy

A peculiar short skinny cove who with shaven red hair and skin so pale it could burst into flames under a magnifying glass manages to bring a ineloquent enthusiasm to everything he does.  Dressing for reasons best known to himself in a piratical headscarf, loose-fitting shirt, breeches and boots he displays a fiery hatred for the BUF. He also has a fiery hatred for nearly everything else in life but seems not to be able to spare the courage to fight it. his Merseysider accent is treacle think and scattered with slang that has probably only ever made sense to him. Where it not for an almost idiot savant brilliance behind the joytick of the Ikarus fighter he has somehow obtained it is unlikely that even Challanger would have him int he Squadron.

Silvia Pelligreeno

A raven haired lithe Italian anarchist Silvia was once a naive and non-political Naples girl who was walking out (chaperoned of course) by a Regia Aeronautica officer.  They eloped in his plane to Albania to be married but on return the Officer was discharged. He then fell into a political argument with the local Blackshirts and was murdered for his democratic principles. Silvia with a little experience in the cockpit from their elopement stole a plane and escaped to Spain in time to contribute to the fighter against Franco and Italian Fascist backers. The fight is being lost there so she has moved gain to the Free State to continue the battle.  The widow still has possession of the Fiat CR32 fighter she started her antifascist fight with. She sees Fascism as just the ultimate example of the evils of Government. She tends to wear black leathers with a  black silk blouse  and headscarf under her flying helmet.

Airman Sajek

An East European who refuses to confirm his nationality Sajek is a sullen figure around the squadron. Constantly tuning his aircraft or checking its weapons – he lives for the fight. He doesn’t engage with the other Squadron members but seems to nurse a quiet crush on Silvia. What ever beef he has with the Government it is VERY personal and unlike most of the other Squadron members he doesn’t like to talk about it. he wears a simple 1908 khaki uniform he’s acquired from the (former King’s) Liverpool regiment and always goes armed with a  pistol and a carbine or shotgun within reach. The closet he gets to socialising is exercising with Christmas Smith or sparring with Stolt.

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Published on December 3, 2010 at 10:38 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] nose cone art. Not sure which of the squadrons sundry aircraft it should appear on yet – https://alfiesantics.wordpress.com/6-a-l-f-i-e-s-allies/aviators/liverpools-air-forces/the-birkenhead… . But would welocme anybody’s thoughts. I’ve gone for a pesudo-Brittannia feel with […]


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