6 April, 1916 Bertangles West, France 3 Squadron, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 10 confirmed victories
Another fine day for flying at Bertangles. 2nd Lt. Swanson was up early for his jog around the field and he really needed it this morning. His head was throbbing from last night's celebrations in the mess. He had intended to pace himself but that plan did not work out and by evening's end he'd lost count how many drinks he'd had. Truth be told, he'd been drinking quite a bit over the last week since the loss of Captain Craig. Had it only been a week? It seemed like an eternity ago. Time is an odd thing, especially war time. Minutes, even seconds, can seem to crawl by depending on the situation, while the days and weeks are gone in a flash. The young airman was mulling this over, among other things, as he rounded the field. The cold, crisp, early morning air felt good in his lungs and was doing wonders to clear his head. As he finished the final leg past the Bessonneaus he determined he would restrict his drinking to no more than one or two a day, perhaps even less. He did not feel good about himself when he overindulged. "All things in moderation", as his father would say.
The Brass Hats were taking advantage of the good weather, sending all the teams up twice daily. Swanson again was tasked as the leader of B Flight for both sorties, which suited him fine. While the added responsibility did make for a bit more stress, that stress was offset by the relief of not having to follow someone else. Swany much preferred being able to pick and choose what he felt were the best routes to and from the assigned targets and patrol areas. Today, those targets and areas were as follows: in the morning a recce of the Hun trenches west of Pozieres; and in the afternoon another run at the aerodrome at Bertincourt to drop more Coopers on it.
It was another dry day in terms of aerial combat. The Eindeckers actually seemed to be avoiding the boys of No.3 Squadron. During the second outing Swany spotted a trio of the Fokkers crossing over the mud well below as he was returning from Bertincourt. There were two tan ones being lead by a green one, but they all stayed well below despite turning to follow the Moranes for a short while. Swany wondered if they were actually giving chase or simply going through the motions for the benefit of their countrymen in the trenches. Whichever it was, there was no engagement. On the same outing, as B Flight was passing south of Doullens, a pair of French Caudrons were spotted and Swanson flew up next to them and he and Captain Rankin gave a wave. He was impressed by the size of the machines and wondered how they were to fly. This thought no sooner moved on when the Le Rhône in his bus began to cough and sputter. No amount of fiddling with the mixture would make it smooth out, so he made best speed available back to Bertangles, a grayish smoke trailing behind for the remainder of the trip. Fortunately, the beast kept running and got them home and on the field in one piece. It had been a while since he had engine trouble, so Swany figured he was past due.
Later on in the afternoon, 2nd Lt. Swanson went to the CO's office to ask permission to leave camp so that he could travel up to Auchel for a visit to Georgette's. He wanted to let the woman know that he was OK, as he had left quite abruptly due to the latest squadron move. The Major said that, unfortunately, he could not allow one of his pilots to be away at the moment, things were simply too busy. Perhaps in a week or so, if business settled down. Until then a letter to the madam would have to suffice. While Swany was not happy with the Major's response, he was not unhappy with it either. He really did not know quite what to do about Georgette anyway, and some additional time to think about it would not be a bad thing.
A trio of Eindeckers that refused to come up and play.