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Cordie, Jimmie. Jimmie Cordie was created by W. Wirt (John Norcross, Jimmy Wilson) and appeared in twenty-three stories in Short Stories, Frontier, and Argosy from 1928 to 1935, beginning with “Private Property” (Short Stories, Oct. 10, 1928).
Jimmie Cordie is a Rootless Veteran. He leads a group of five mercenaries in action in Asia, mostly in China but also in Guatemala and Central Asia. All of the mercenaries are hard, cold men, dead shots and dead souls, perhaps hardened by the events of World War One or maybe just born that way. They are “men of honor,” but entirely ruthless in battle and without any compunction in mowing the enemy down. They were World War One veterans, but the peace afterwards left them useless and out of work--Rootless Veterans, all, just like Cordie himself--and they decided to sell their talents. They had been officers with the American Expeditionary Force or had served in the French Foreign Legion, or both; one had been a combat pilot for the RAF. They were all familiar with the Browning M1917A1, the heavy machine gun which proved their salvation in most of their battles, the natives not having any match for it.
They are Jimmie Cordie, the Harvard-educated leader of the group and a member of the French Foreign Legion and the A.E.F.; John Cabot Winthrop, a.k.a. “the Boston Bean,” and the “Codfish Duke”–he is from a wealthy Boston Brahmin family, but a sorrow in his life drove him to join the A.E.F. and to later service as a Captain in American G2 Intelligence; Red Dolan, a tall, brawny Irish stereotype who served with Cordie in the Legion and was a lieutenant in the M.P. during World War One–he is a weapons-master and a fierce hand-to-hand fighter; Abraham Cohen, “the Fighting Yid”–he is short and fat, is a New Yorker who affects a thick Yiddish accent, and served with Cordie in World War One; George Grigsby, a big, tight-lipped Kentuckian, a veteran of both the A.E.F. and the Legion; and Arthur Putney, a taciturn, stereotyped Vermontan, quick, strong, and veteran of both the A.E.F. and the Legion. After Putney dies saving the rest of the group, John Cecil Carew, the Englishman, joins the group. He is a former commander of the Royal Essex Flight Squadron.
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