Raine, another Zep for Collins!? The man is an airship hunting wonder. He must be up for another gong soon, DSO perhaps, or possibly a bar to the VC. Great episode and screenshots. And it looks like Swany and Jim may be reuniting briefly in England - fingers crossed.
Fullofit, sorry Toby's outfit has lost Knight, it is a deadly game out there. Good videos as always.
Harry, sorry Lazlo is still suffering such pain, but at least he has mended enough to get back into the fight. Tough loss with Wintgens, I'm sure he will be missed. Nice videos.
Carrick, time isn't so kind to men either, unfortunately.
27 September 1916 Salisbury, England
Captain Swanson was waiting in Foster's as an elderly tailor finished up sewing on the strip of crimson ribbon. The fellow had deftly removed the RFC wings and re-positioned them a bit higher so that he could center the prestigious flash above the row of three honours already aligned over the left breast pocket flap.
"It's a privilege for me to be attending to this for you Captain", the gentleman beamed as he finished up the task. "It's not every day that one gets to sew on the VC ribbon."
"I appreciate you taking care of this for me so promptly", Swany replied cheerily.
He'd been presented a length of the coveted ribbon by Major Lawrence during the bash at Fienvillers on the evening of the 25th. It had been a proper send-off and despite his best efforts not to Swany had indulged in several beers and shots. The pain in his head above his right ear throbbed its disapproval the following morning, but the Captain's mood was so high he shrugged it off as he packed his kit. He continued to smile through it as he settled his bill with Mme Corcelles, paying her to the end of the month for his room to which she replied, "Well of course you will pay me 'til the end of the month, leaving on such short notice." A hint of sadness in her eyes betrayed her usual gruff demeanor, the old woman was going to miss the young Captain.
His next stop had been the Officers' Mess where he paid his tab up in full before leaving camp for good. It took a bite out of his ready funds, but he knew it was coming and was financially prepared for it. He made his rounds and said his goodbyes, which went fairly quickly as all three flights were out on morning patrols. His final stop was the CO's office where Major Lawrence gave him his paperwork and informed him his travel orders had been changed and he now had until the 7th of October to report to Stow Maries. Until then he could do as he pleased, within reason. The Major also reminded him that, to be safe, he should wait until the 27th to put up his new citation as it was assured to be gazetted by then. Lawrence had made this point at the presentation the night before but decided a reminder was in order, given the level of drinking involved at the time. A final handshake and best wishes from his now former Commander and Swanson was on his way.
With the extra time suddenly allowed him Swany had decided to head to Boulogne and take the leave ship across to Southampton, heading up from there to his old stomping grounds in Salisbury. While waiting for the boat he'd sent a wire to his good friend Jim Collins with hopes the two might be able to meet for a catch-up. After making the trip across and upon arriving at his destination the Captain had sent a second wire that read simply, "In Salisbury next few days. Wire to the Old George your plans. Hurry. Getting thirsty. Swany."
And now here he was, waiting for a reply while he also waited for his tunic. The attentive tailor, whose name Swany learned was Edward, was now giving the garment a good brushing and spruce up before returning it to its proud owner. As he did so he ran a long, thin finger across the three gold wound stripes above the left cuff and gave a glance that indicated he was impressed by these nearly as much as he was by the strip of crimson he'd just sewn on.
"There you are Sir, I hope it meets with your approval." The craftsman presented his work to the Captain before helping him back on with the tunic.
"Wonderful! Thank you Edward, you have been most helpful. What do I owe you?", Swany responded as he pulled a small leather wallet from his pocket.
Edward looked horrified, "Oh no Sir, I wouldn't think of it, put your money away. It was my privilege."
Swanson insisted, but Edward stood firm. After a brief back and forth a compromise was reached: Swany would send the rest of his uniforms over from the Old George where he'd taken a room for the next few days. Edward would do the ribbon fitting on them as well as a thorough cleaning and touch-up and have them returned to the hotel, for which Swany would pay him a fair price.
With that business done the King's latest Victoria Cross recipient strode out onto Minster Street and into a crisp, beautiful fall day. He walked past the Haunch of Venison and Powney's Old Corner Store, remembering his outings with Collins at both. Swany hoped his friend would be able to join him again soon and they could make the rounds as they had all those months ago. The Captain continued along on to Bridge Street and then the High Street, stopping at a news stand on the corner where he asked for the latest Gazette. He flipped through to the supplement and there under the heading, "His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, non-commissioned Officers and Men", was his name and the description of his actions.
"Wait, is that you Sir?" The newsman, who'd been standing next to Swany looking him over, stabbed a finger at the block of text. The nosy fellow had noticed the honour on the Captain's chest and the section of the paper he was reading and put two and two together.
"Yes", Swanson smiled, "that's me."
"You're a bloody hero! Take your money back, paper's on me mate," the man replied, forcing the coins into the Captain's hand.
Swany was beginning to realize some of the clout and cumshaw the Victoria Cross provided it's bearer. He thanked the fellow, folded and rolled up the gratis paper and, carrying it baton-style, continued his walk through town. It was going to be a good day indeed. .