Carrick, where have all the Boche gone? Quiet flying for Kieth and his mates.

Harry, congrats to Lazlo on his first victory - well done. Hope the new gun mount works out for him.

Fullofit, another successful outing for Toby. And 15 confirmed at this point? I'm sensing another gong in the man's future.

Wulfe, excellent episode as always. I hope Fullard can relax and enjoy himself a bit with that 48-hour pass, the fellow certainly deserves to.

MFair, Drogo needs to be more watchful. If the Nieups don't get him the line fire will.

Raine, great vignette on Collins' second meeting with General Henderson. James is doomed to be on his best behavior from now on I fear.


8 September 1916
Somewhere in France

It was early morning as Captain Swanson sat quietly in one of the small tents at the dressing station of the 1st London Field Ambulance, having been moved to its relative safety near the remains of Trones Wood sometime after midnight. There was a cot in the tent that had been offered to him as a place to rest, but Swany had instead spent the night sitting in the camp chair next to it. He couldn't have slept if he'd tried. Outside, under one of the many muddied sheets and blankets, lay the body of his longtime G/O and good friend, Lieutenant Christopher Dent. The brave fellow had given the last full measure fighting off the Halberstadt that had conked the engine of their Strutter over Lechelle during an intense dogfight at dusk on the 7th. A fight which ended in a draw with both planes gliding off in opposite directions looking for a friendly place to land. The last thing Chris had done, before the bullets ripped through his chest, was to fire one final burst from his Lewis gun that landed squarely in the engine of the Boche plane, bringing its prop to a grinding halt. Swanson had no doubt that it was for this reason, and for this reason alone, that he now sat here still among the living. The young Captain's eyes began to glisten as he thought again about the sacrifice his mate had made; the thought had haunted him all night. Swany raised a hand and wiped his face, then grabbed the cup sitting next to him on a upturned ammunition box. He finished off the remnants of the cold, weak tea within and set the drained cup back on the makeshift table.

The flap of the tent was pulled aside and a Sergeant of the 56th Division stepped in to announce that it was time for the Captain to continue his journey west. Fresh troops had arrived and the last of the fellows who had been pushing the lines east of Guillemont were being relieved. Swany would be able to travel back with them to the reserve station at Fricourt and catch a tender from there on to Doullens. He would be on his own at that point to sort out the jaunt over to Fienvillers. Swany thanked the Sergeant and asked that he send his gratitude again to the lads of the London Infantry for getting his G/O and him away from the battle that was raging when he'd landed his mount at Leuze Wood the night before. He also asked that, when it was possible, to arrange for the body of his G/O to be sent to Fienvillers for burial. The senior OR assured him both requests would be honored.

It had been a harrowing landing for the young veteran pilot - his G/O shot, the engine gone, the sky nearly pitch dark, and no real certainty about which side of the lines he was about to set down on. Swany had aimed for what he hoped would be a relatively smooth field and glided the Sopwith onto it. The area turned out to be pocked with shell holes, with a thick tree line looming large ahead as the Strutter jolted and staggered across the ragged ground, coming at last to rest mere feet from the woods. The Captain, adrenaline coursing through his system, scrambled from the cockpit and swung around to get at Dent. He undid the straps and lifted the man up and out of his seat, hugging the motionless gunner to his chest and sliding off the lower wing of the plane. He then put Chris over his shoulder and sprinted away from the gunfire and towards the trees in front of him, Boche bullets zipping about from numerous directions as he did so. A voice from the woods yelled out, "Over here mate, get your arse over here before Fritz gets a bead on ya!"
Swany ran full speed towards the voice and as he did so numerous figures appeared from the darkened brush ahead to guide him in. Once out of the line of fire his hosts introduced themselves as a squad of the 56th London Infantry who had recently arrived as relief troops and were now finishing up the Guillemont push that had begun a week ago, the woods they were now in having been recently secured from the retreating Hun. The ownership of the field Swany had just landed in however was still being contested. No sooner had the brief introductions been made when a stretcher was brought up and Chris was placed gently upon it by two of the Londoners, the fellow at the head giving his mate a telling glance as they did so. Twenty minutes later Swany and his G/O were at the dressing station where Chris was looked at and pronounced dead immediately. The Hun bullets had torn through his aorta, ending up against his spine, the Doctor noting he'd likely bled out into his chest within several minutes of being shot. Swany went suddenly and completely numb. Chris was gone.

A brave soul goes to join the Choir Invisible.
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