Journal Entry: July 17, 1915
St. Pol-sur-Mer

Well, it's been four days since I was promoted to Flight Commander and I haven't destroyed the squadron, yet. No seriously, I'm starting to learn my new responsibilities and the expectations that come with the new position. I must admit I do appreciate the increase in pay and the respect that the rank deserves, but I've learned that the Empire must run on paperwork. For the last four days, I've been swamped with reports and reports of reports and other forms of paper torture. In my mind, I always envisioned an officer gallantly leading his men into battle, but I've learned the truth, that same officer is more than likely stuck behind a desk filling out some blasted paperwork that nobody will ever read. The first thing the CO did after he announced my promotion was make me the new Supply Officer. I'm tasked with filling out requisition forms for our food stocks and all of the necessary parts and material to keep our buses running. It's quite a daunting task and I work on it whenever I'm not flying.

Speaking of flying, let me relate the excitement from this afternoon's sortie. I was leading B Flight in a defensive patrol orbiting over a nearby airfield. We were pleasantly orbiting the airfield when I noticed to the Southwest of us an aircraft that was being pestered by our archie. I signaled the flight and turned to investigate. This was quite a cheeky Hun, for he surmised that if he flew low enough he might just be able to sneak in and get his pictures and then sneak out. I led the Flight in a dive and flew right into position where Thayer took care of business, as they say, and before long the Hun was crashing right outside of Dunkerque. Fortunately for the Hun, he was so low that some local farmers were able to pull both the pilot and observer from the wreckage before they were consumed by the flames. We landed, piled into a lorry, and rushed over to town. Found the observer in the local Constabulary's office, just shaken up, but otherwise unhurt. The pilot on the other hand was seriously wounded and was rushed to the hospital. We loaded the observer up and brought him to our airfield for the usual smash up. It turns out that he was quite fluent in English and that made our time together much easier for all concerned. He informed us that his name was Lt Eugen Molders and he had cousins living in England and that accounted for his fine English. Apparently, the Huns sing the same songs we do because after a few drinks Lt. Molders was singing as loud as the rest of us. At some point in the party, Lt. Molders asked to speak to the person that had vanquished him in the air. He was directed my way, clicked his heels together like a good Prussian and said, "I just wanted to salute the fine airman who had bested us today." He then proceeded to tell me that they know all about me and they actually have a name for Thayer and myself. I chuckled, and asked, "What pray tell, do you call me?" He said, "Der Sensenmann". "What does that mean?", I queried. Lt. Molders thought for a minute and said, "I believe in English it would translate out to The Grim Reaper." Well, I started laughing and then Thayer joined in and it wasn't long before everybody was laughing. I've never had a nickname before and when I do, it's the Grim Reaper. I'm laughing as I write this, but it has given me an idea. Thayer and I haven't been able to come up with an idea for a personal marking for our bus. I believe if that is what the Huns are already calling us, then why not mark our bus as such, sounds like a capital idea.

Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC