Bishop attended the Royal Military College before joining the 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles at the beginning of the war. After serving overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in December 1915 and received his pilot's certificate in 1917.
Because Bishop flew many of his patrols alone, most of his victories were never witnessed.
"[Like] nearly all other pilots who come face to face with the [enemy] in the air for the first time, I could hardly realize that these were real live, hostile machines. I was fascinated by them and wanted to circle about and have a good look at them." William Bishop
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