10 April, 1916 Lahoussoye, France 3 Squadron, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 11 confirmed victories, 2 pending claims
"So that's the situation, and let me add that we will miss you around here." Major Harvey-Kelly looked across the desk at his star pilot and gave a forced smile. He was having to cut the fellow loose at a time when he could ill-afford to be short a good airman, given the current sitation with the air Huns.
"Thank you Sir, I vill miss you folks here as vell."
2nd Lieutenant Swanson had been standing silent up to this point as the Major explained the turn of events. The late afternoon light was slanting through the lone window, throwing shadows about the makeshift office. Swany wondered how long the Major would be working from this place before HQ ordered him to pick up and move again. Whenever that might be, Swanson wouldn't have to help pack things up anymore for the old Number 3. He was moving on.
The situation, as explained to him by his soon-to-be-former Commander, was this: A new squadron was being put together at Farnborough and the Brass Hats were tagging qualified personnel with combat experience from other units to man it. These individuals would be flying some of the newest machines available, and if things went as planned they were expected to become one of the crack flying outfits at the front. Swany had been chosen as one of the pilots for this project and he was to report to Farnborough no later than the 23rd of April. Because of his outstanding service thus far he was being given leave until then, with a proviso; he was to report to No.2 Aircraft Depot at Candas by tomorrow afternoon as his expertise with the Morane was required. A demonstration was being planned that involved the Eindecker which he and Captain Rankin had forced down intact some days earlier. Said Eindecker was to be flown by one of the Depot's best pilots against Swanson, who would be manning the Parasol. There was interest to see firsthand just how well the Morane was holding up against the Fokker.
Once this demonstration was completed Swanson would be allowed to continue along at his own pace up to St. Omer, where he was to report in at the Pilot's Pool and fly a retired bus back across to Dover. From there he would go on to London, with a second proviso; he had to be at the Palace on the morning of April 20th for the investiture of his MC & Bar. Apart from that, he was free to do whatever he wanted while in Blighty, within reason.
"I don't need to tell you Swanson that we'll be having a blow-out in the mess tonight, with the best we can muster, given the unfinished state of things around here." The Major had come around from his side of the desk and placed a hand on Swany's shoulder. "And this time, you will not be required to buy the first round, unless of course one or both of your claims from the morning's sortie are confirmed by tonight. Then all bets are off."
Swany laughed, "Dis war is getting expensive, Sir."