Monday, January 16, 2017

William Avery Bishop

“At 15, Bishop had his first experience with aviation: he built an aircraft out of cardboard, wood crates and string, and "flew" off the roof of his three-story house. He was dug, unharmed, out of the wreckage by his sister”.

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.

Flying Nieuport scouts and the S.E.5a, "The Lone Hawk" was considered by some to be a mediocre pilot, but his extraordinary eyesight and consistent practice earned him a reputation as a crack shot.

As the commanding officer of the "Flying Foxes," he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross(DFC) after scoring 25 victories in just twelve days. On the morning of 2 June 1917, his single-handed attack against a German aerodrome on the Arras front earned him the Victoria Cross, making Bishop the first Canadian flyer to receive this honor. Before the war ended, he found time to write "Winged Warfare," an autobiographical account of his exploits in the air over France.

He was officially credited with 72 victories, making him the top Canadian ace of the war.
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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