Royal Zeppelin Capturing Society
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The Royal Zeppelin Capturing Society was started in 1915, early in the Great War to capture German Zeppelins in British airspace. The most commonly used method of bringing down a full-sized zeppelin was the zeppelin shoot, with a normal elephant-hunting rifle, though connoisseurs recommended use of highly trained pigeons. Of course, once you managed to puncture the zeppelin itself, it would start falling, and they only looked graceful from a distance, let me tell you. From the ground they came down like a hundred tons of steel and canvas that was superheated by burning hydrogen which is pretty much what they were. Ah, fond memories of shooting from Somersby's hill in the Autumn, drinking hot cocoa and foiling the German war effort.
edit The Beginning of the Society
It must have been back in 1905 when old Jack Farnsworth, what a man, had a head of hair like you wouldn't believe and could shoot the hat off a hare from a mile and half away, though in those days to find a rabbit wearing a hat you practically had to go over the wall into Scotland, most rabbits these days don't bother with the fine niceties of life, I blame it on the damn Protestants, ever since they started reforming the mother Church nobody's been quite as polite as back in the day. Any rates, it seems old Jack was trying to find himself a woman by the accepted method of shooting her father and then paying his respects the next day when he accidentally shot a small balloon with a fellow name of Augustus Portsworthing riding in it to Ireland. Augustus, he gets out, and he's been a veteran of several wars by this point, including that Prussian nastiness in France, and he says that we really ought to make the whole thing more organized, as he's never had so much fun and he reckons Jack hasn't either.
After this it was mostly a problem of finding a club house and a cook (we already had maids, Bulgarian triplets who went by the name Susannes), and a man to do the monogramming over the door. Ah, the old RZCS, with David Longsworthy and Harold Spaldingshiresworthingtonhat. Such men haven't been seen for a long time. Used to be you could walk out a door in London and run into no fewer than three members of the RZCS without turning from your course to the diner on the Thames. Seems like these days no one knows about the RZCS, and it's probable that we can blame that little oversight on the Russians, whose propaganda machine hasn't stopped against us. That Trotsky fellow, good with a pen, but absolutely ruthless, and never gave our club the respect that was due it.
edit The Wartime effort of the RZCS
Most of the work of the Society was done in Britain proper, keeping the Huns off our doorstep in their diabolical flying machines, but quite a few members spent time across the water with the pansies in Calais. The Society was responsible for most of the damage done to Zeppelins throughout the war, though to be fair most zeppelins came apart at the seams if you had the time and a pair of scissors. Seems that some of our most proficient members were those who simply went to the airfields at night and took the machines apart while the Krauts were sleeping, gave them the old what for. Reminds me of Winston Furlough, who was caught by those bastards after cutting into snowflakes no fewer than three enemy airships. They tortured him for a day and a half, but all he would give them was name, number and battalion, so they sent him to the Hungarians and he spent nine years in the basement of some 90-year-old Magyar grandmother sewing uniforms for our opposite numbers, even though the war was over by them. Damn Hungarians.
Why, I remember a time that we were sitting on a couch we had brought over from Manchester in summer of 1917, right after those damn Ruskies had left us to our own devices in the war, when two score zeppelin come right over a ridge to our right. Well, we waited until they were well overhead (and we had finished our tea) before filling those dastardly Heinies with so much lead the airships fell faster than osmium tetraoxide in a high pressure front. Then this little Berlin number name of Greta Hansspechenzeicher has the nerve, after we pull her from the wreck, to ask if we had a smoke she could use. Turns out she was hiding a small explosive up her knickers and we lost Charles Noteworthy that day to "unavoidable enemy action and deception" as it said on his scorecard.
edit The Scorecards
Each member of the society was issued a scorecard, for keeping track of their progress in the war and with the zeppelins, and was redeemable for bacon and bagels back at the clubhouse. When Harvey Winstonleigh comes in one Thursday afternoon to ask if we'll give him his due for a filled out scorecard, which he produced on the spot then and their, we had to fill him with buckshot, because we knew he hadn't done a damn thing besides bat a double at cricket the previous day and it seemed the Zuschenspachners had finally got to one of our own. His funeral was a somber affair, and you can bet it was hard going to explain to his wife why his body weighed thirty stone after we finished "efficiently removing incentive to be a double agent" as we appended his scorecard the following day.
edit Ah, those were the times.
Yes, yes they were. Really makes me think back. Can't for the life of me figure out why we called it the "Capturing" society, though, because I never did get to hang one of those bastards up over my fireplace.