Scout, too bad about Davis, yet another brave lad gone off to sing with the choir invisible. Aleck and his crew are going to have to be extra mindful now that the Eindeckers have found them.

MFair, Jericho really needs to learn to curb that temper of his, or at least pick his targets more carefully. We don't want our man ending up in the Glasshouse.

Fullofit, condolences as well for Dreux. Things are getting very deadly around here and your video says it all.

Wulfe, it looks like Graham is really making the most of his R&R in London. I envy him. And off to buy a sidearm, eh? Swany has been considering such a purchase as well, though the main reason to have one along when flying makes him cringe just thinking about it. He may opt for "the big jump" instead, if ever he finds himself in the situation. Love the old advert by the way.


25 March, 1916
Bruay, France
3 Squadron, R.F.C.
2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson MC
8 confirmed victories

The fine weather had returned, but not before a fresh dusting of snow had been dropped on the French countryside. Swany and Captain Craig and one other team of B Flight had been given two identical sorties yesterday and today: the bombing of the rail yard at Athies. On both occasions the boys from Bruay were graced with escorts in the form of D.H.2s from 24 Squadron. Also during both outings the skies had been clear and cold, with large white clouds floating about everywhere. Each trip went off perfectly, with the escorts being at the prescribed rendezvous at the appointed time and actually sticking with the Moranes all the way to the target and back rather than chasing off somewhere else. Winds aloft were very strong out of the west, which not only served to make aiming the bombs nearly impossible but also lengthened the return time to camp by a goodly amount. Not a single EA was seen either day so the Aircos had little to do but enjoy the scenery, and while the scouts may have been bored Swany and the Captain were quite fine with the lack of Fokkers.

Beautiful flying weather and not an Eindecker in sight.
[Linked Image]

This morning, after landing and completing his AAR, Swany headed out to the woods near the field to check his bird trap. During his visit last week to Georgette he had mentioned that he could supply her with some fresh quail for the upcoming meal she would be helping prepare for James and his former host family back in Auchel. To this end Swany had procured a couple of pounds of wheat from a local farmer and he'd been using this to bait a spot on one of the more active bird runs he had found. He'd also managed to scrounge three or so square yards of some wire mesh and several feet of mechanic's wire that he used to fashion the trap. It was a circular affair, roughly four feet in diameter and a foot high, with a roof on the top and open on the bottom. There were two arched openings 4" across and 8" tall that sat opposite each other in the wall of the trap. Into each of these openings was fitted a wire mesh "throat" about 10" long that tapered into the trap, going from the size of the wall opening down to a doorway about the size of a man's clenched fist. The quail would enter at the large end of the throat and walk along, ducking down to slip through the small end. Once inside the trap they could not figure out how to get back out. A fairly simple device, but a proven and effective one which Swany had originally been shown years ago by Kakaygeesick, the elder chief of the Chippewa tribe back in Warroad, Minnesota. Swany had modernized it somewhat by twisting it together using wire mesh, rather than weaving it out of willow saplings or reeds. And the native design was fairly dome-like while his was shaped more like a large wheel of cheese. Still, the basic concept remained unchanged.

After two days of baiting the chosen bird run Swany had set up the trap. He'd jammed a few sticks into the ground to support the roof in several spots then set the trap in place with the openings lined up on the trail. He'd next weighted it down around the edges with some small stones and placed a handful of twigs and leaves here and there on the top to make it appear more "natural" to the birds. He'd also left the throats uninstalled at first in order to have the quail more readily accept the trap being there and to allow them to move in and out of it freely. Plus, he'd sprinkled an extra amount of wheat just inside the openings to draw the birds in. It sat that way for a day. Then last night, just at sundown, he had gone back and installed the throats and re-baited the trap. When he returned after this morning's sortie to check on the results of his efforts he was happily surprised to find no less than seventeen quail inside the wire cage.
"James will be pleased", Swany muttered to himself as he removed the birds one-by-one from the trap and dropped them into a large gunny sack he'd brought along. There would be more than enough rôti for the Poiriers thank you dinner his friend had planned for tomorrow. Of course the birds still needed to be dispatched and cleaned, but Collins and Jericho could help with that.