Confidential Report submitted by Captain Grid Caldwell,
Acting C.O. No. 60 Squadron, RFC.
30 June, 1917
Reference our telepone conversation of to-day.
Herewith information as requested:
1. Time left aerodrome 3.57 a.m.
Time arrived at Hostile Aerodrome, 4.25 a.m.
Time arrived back 5.40 a.m.
2. Personal evidence only.
3. Damage done - 17 Bullet holes. Trailing edge of
plane shot away in two bays.
4. Distance 30 miles. Aerodrome S. of CAMBRAI.
This report is significant for at least two reasons to me. One is it gives more precise information on the damage actually done to Bishop's plane. Second, this report was written by a man who, 50 years later supposedly wrote a letter to Sqn. Ldr. Joe Warne (60 Squadron Historian, possibly self-appointed) expressing strong doubts about Bishop's raid. As acting C.O. of 60 Squadron at the time of this report, Capt. Caldwell could have expressed his doubts in the report, probably prejudicing his superiors against the award of the VC to Bishop. BUT, Capt. Caldwell did no such thing. Neither did anyone else in 60 Squadron express any doubts about the veracity of Bishop's claims.......Until about 50 years later, AFTER Air Marshall Bishop was dead!
I have, however been informed by those in the know, that it is frequently one of those things that you don't speak ill of an ace while ("whilst" in GB and the Commonwealth) they're alive. Not out of fear, but I suppose simply preferring to avoid any hassles. To be honest, I don't know that I agree with that philosophy. If I have problems with someone's record, I'd prefer to confront them while they're alive, so that maybe this can be straightened out. But I suppose some would prefer not to bother with a legend until he is dead.
I thought only vultures did that.
Since it is apparent, that some have misunderstood my last statement above, I'll explain.
IF you are in a position to say something to someone, about any doubts you may have regarding their history. Then you should do so while they are alive. To wait until they are dead, does indeed make you look like a vulture, to me at least.
HOWEVER, should you be one of us "Johnny come latelies" who did not, nor could never have had the opportunity to consult with the person who is now deceased, then you are not a vulture, just deprived, as I am.
I'd give my left n..., uh, my right ha..., uh, I'd give a million dollars to be able to speak with Billy Bishop, but that can't happen. He's dead and there's nothing you, I, nor anyone else can do about it. BUT, Grid Caldwell, Spencer Horn, Willy Fry and many others WERE alive while he was, and as far as I know, NEVER confronted him about it. WHY??? I don't know. Does anyone? If you do, could you please tell ME!!!
Created August 28, 1998
Last updated:February 10, 2000
©1998 by Albert Lowe All rights reserved.
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