Wulfe, it appears James is settling in. Too bad about the upcoming stretch of foul weather, I've a hunch it will be putting the crimp in more than just your man's style.

Lederhosen, sorry to hear about your back problems, I hope it continues to get better for you. Glad to see you again in the virtual skies.


12 April, 1916
Candas, France
No.2 Aircraft Depot, R.F.C.
2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar
12 confirmed victories

It was the military’s time-honored tradition of “hurry up and wait”, along with a dud engine, which had Swany still hanging about Candas. He should have been travelling up to St. Omer by now and, if things had gone as planned, visiting Georgette along the way. Instead, he was in one of the large repair sheds at No.2 AD, standing near the Fokker he and Captain Rankin had forced down on Friday last, and which he was to have flown the Morane against in mock battle yesterday afternoon. Alongside Swanson stood one Archibald Dirks, an older AM who appeared to know precisely what he was doing when it came to rotary engines. He’d removed the Oberursel from the Hun plane and had torn it down completely: Crankcase and shaft, cylinders and pistons, rods and valves, and all the other bits and pieces that comprised the power plant were now spread out neatly across one of the long, heavy workbenches scattered about the building.

“Ya see ‘ere Sir, this ‘ere’s the trouble”, the fellow stated in a confident tone as he pointed an oily finger at the interior of one of the cylinders. “It’s all scored an’ dug up, innen’it. ‘At’s because Andy over there, bein’ the careless git ‘e is, missed a bleedin’ chunk’a meh’al ‘at was floatin’ about in the crankcase when ‘e tore it down th’first time. Gawd knows ‘ow many other dings there might be ‘cause of it, I’ll ‘ave to inspect every bleedin’ piece.”

The senior AM looked fairly proud of himself after explaining the issue to his audience of one, and just as Swany was about to inquire when the thing might run again, Archibald yelled across the shop, “Hey, Andy, ya bleedin' plonker, ya made a dog’s dinner a’this one as well. Do it one more time an' I’m comin’ over wif a Stillson spanner an’ partin’ yer greasy hair wif it!” The recipient of the verbal attack, a thin, tallish fellow, had his back to the other two men, and upon hearing the threat gave a less-than-friendly wave over his shoulder in return.

Swany nearly burst out laughing – he liked this character Dirks. After he’d managed to regain the demeanor expected of an officer, the Lieutenant made his inquiry, “So den, when do you expect to have dis machine airvorthy again? Soon, I hope.”

“No to worry Sir, she’ll be ready by th’morning so you an’ Captain Thomas can ‘ave your go-round. An’ I’ll take a butchers at th’engine on that Morane you’ll be flyin’ as well Sir and make sure it’s aces. Don’t want it goin’ all wonky on ya when yer up there. I don’t think Andy’s been anywhere near it, but I’ll look jus’th’same,”

“Tank you Dirks, I appreciate it,” Swany replied with an amiable smile.

The AM, who’d been holding back on a question, was emboldened by Swanson’s friendly demeanor. “If y’don’t mind me askin’ Sir, where are ya from? No disrespect, but your accent’s a funny one, even for a Yank.”

This time Swany did laugh. “I could say the same ting about your accent, Dirks. But to answer your question, I’m from Minnesota, vay up by Canada. And my folks are from Norvay.”

“That’s a giggle, innen’it Sir. I didn’t think about ‘ow I talk might be soundin’ odd to your ear. Just goes to show, eh Sir?”

“It does at that”, the young pilot replied cheerily as he headed out of the hangar, leaving Archibald to get on with his work. “See you later, Dirks. Have fun vith your rotary.”

“Ta, I will. You ‘ave a fine day yerself, Sir.”

(to be continued)