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Billy Bishop Essay

1847 words - 7 pages

Billy Bishop


Many people have been born that have struck a chord with the world. Some people have become legends, patriots and even heroes. Though one person stood out among the rest, this one was not made a hero, but was born to be one. He was a hero at what he strived to be in life and he has captured the attention of the public like no other solider has done before or since. This great Canadian Air Force Ace became one of the legendary figures in 20th century air warfare. With his daring and dramatic dogfights in France, he achieved a record of 72 kills in his many encounters. His role on the ground during the Second World War training pilots changed and inspired a whole new generation of fighter pilots. This man is known as Billy Bishop, the legendary and great Canadian hero who captured and won the respect of his enemies, comrades and the world.

William Avery Bishop was born in Owen Sound, Ontario on the 8th of February in 1894. Billy was accepted into the Royal Military College in August of 1911. He spent three years as a cadet, even though he failed his first year exams and broke the strict disciplinary code of behaviour on several occasions. Billy was near the point of being expelled, when he was commissioned on September 30th of 1914 and headed off to the European war. He didn’t make it to England that year since he was in the hospital suffering from pneumonia. When Billy recovered, he left on June 9th in 1915 to fight in the war. During his days in the Infantry he saw a Royal Flying Corps plane fly overhead. This possessed Billy to get away from fighting on the ground. He applied for a transfer as an observer to the RFC, because an application to be a pilot would have taken too long. “ The only way to fight a war, up there above the mud and the mist in the everlasting sunshine” (Canadian Air Force Office of Public Affairs, 1996) Billy said when he transferred out of the Calvary.

On September 1st in 1915 Billy was sent to the 21st squadron at Netheravon for air instruction. On January 1st, he was transferred to France. From there he was accepted to Brasenose College, Oxford, for pilot and ground training on October 1st, 1916. In November he moved to Central Flying School at Upavon where he proved to be one that was able to grasp the “art” of flying. Billy didn’t give up; he soon achieved his wings after numerous crashes. His request for a transfer to France was granted and on March 9th, 1917 he arrived at Filescamp Farm where he joined the 60th squadron. Billy was to be sent back to England for additional training but before he was sent back he claimed his first victory. On March 25, Billy was out on patrol with 3 other pilots when the spotted 3 German Albatross DiII Scouts and engaged them. One of the scouts came across Billy’s path, and without hesitation Billy opened fire on the plane, where it went into a dive as Billy followed it until it was shot out of the sky. After his first victory...

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