29 August 1916
Fienvillers, France

It was nearing 10am and Captain Swanson was preparing to walk over to camp as the rain and wind squalls that had been running rampant since before dawn had at last died down. As he slipped on his tunic he thanked Madame Corcelles for sewing on the new strip of ribbon to which she curtly replied, "Well of course I did it for you, men are totally helpless when it comes to such things."

Swany gave his landlady a sunny look and handed her a franc for her troubles which she took without argument, slipping it into the pocket of her apron while she collected her sewing kit and started for the kitchen. No sooner had she turned away from the young Captain than the faintest of smiles graced her lips. The elderly matron was more bark than she was bite.

As to that fresh strip of ribbon, Swany was now a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, having been informed of his new station the night before during dinner in the Officers' Mess. The CO had made the announcement and presented the squadron's high-scoring ace with the swatch of deep blue and royal red silk, informing him that there would be an investiture of the medal at some point in the future, perhaps even at the Palace the next time Swany was in London. A cheer went up from the entire room followed by much handshaking and backslapping in addition to threats of running up the Captain's bar tab to previously unimagined heights. As it happened there was a dignitary present for the event as well, General Trenchard's private secretary, Captain Maurice Baring. The fellow had stopped by unexpectedly for a visit on his way through from St. Omer and stayed on for dinner. He and Swany had first met some months earlier during the flying display that pitted the Morane against the captured Eindecker. Baring congratulated Swanson on his latest citation and inquired as to how he was finding the Strutter to which Swany responded in glowing terms, referring to the new mount as a "Godsend" and a "war changer". The festivities were suddenly interrupted however when the air-raid horn sounded and everyone had to take cover in the bunkers. After several minutes it was determined to be a false alarm, apparently some overzealous ground spotter had mistaken a large cloud floating aimlessly through the night sky for an incoming Zeppelin. With the threat lifted the celebration continued and went on well past midnight. Swany, still on his health regimen, nursed a single pint of ale throughout the evening and avoided the hard liquor entirely, providing a fair amount of fodder for jokes and jabs. But he was fine with it all, a small price to pay to be ridding himself of the headaches. His bar tab, on the other hand, would turn out to be one hellaciously large bill to settle up.

Note: Captain Baring did indeed stop by 70 Squadron on the evening of August 28th, as noted in his book, "Flying Corps Headquarters 1914-1918". He was visiting with his friend, Captain Guy Cruikshank, during which the false sighting of a Zeppelin occurred.