The Controversy is not dead.

In spite of the best efforts by some of the best, most educated, and most esteemed historians of our time, the Billy Bishop Controversy is not dead. Some people have asked me, "Is this important??" My answer, HELL YES, it's important! We're talking about revisionists trying to sully the memory and good name of one of Canada's greatest heroes of the 20th Century!!

To begin with, this controversy shouldn't even exist, and wouldn't except for the selfish efforts of Paul Cowan of the National Film Board of Canada. Witness the result of his efforts below, more than 15 years after the release of "The Kid Who Couldn't Miss".

historical? or faulty?

The above is from a World War One flight combat simulator. This game (which I will not be naming, as I like it myself, and I hope they will fix this historical mistake) includes the biographies of the top Aces who fought on the Western front. The above is that of Billy Bishop.

You might ask, "what's wrong with this?" Simply, it's got inaccuracies. Not many, but enough. And while some of us know better, there are a LOT of people out there in this world who are delving into the realm of history for the first time. This computer game may be one of the ways they learn about history. Are we going to sit still and let them learn lies??? I, for one am NOT!

The are several sentences that I take issue with, this is a big one.

He claimed his first victory on March 25, 1917. A few months later, he flew a lone wolf mission against a German airfield that earned him a Victoria Cross. That mission has since come under a remarkable degree of scrutiny since the airfield he claimed to have attacked was out of range of his Nieuport 17.
The problem with the above paragraph, simple, it's a matter of OFFICIAL record, Bishop never stated exactly which aerodrome he attacked, as he admitted that he was somewhat confused as to his location. He thought that he attacked either Esnes or Awoight, both of which are well within range of his Nieuport 17 Scout.

And then there is the last paragraph, this one really gets me. It tells me that hardly anyone south of the US-Canadian border actually knows what's going on.

Though he finished the war with 72 kills, his battle record has recently been questioned by some historians. They allege that he fabricated his combats, and that only three of his kills can be corroborated with German documents. Controversy surrounding his career continues to this day.
First, the proper term is VICTORIES, not "kills". But, this is a minor point, though it does have some merit to it. But I'm not going to go into this here. I will talk more about "kills" versus "victories" at another time.

"German Documents"?? That's good one. The primary reason his claims can't be corroborated with "German documents" is that most of the German documents can't be found!! A lot has happened since his attack on a German aerodrome on 2 June, 1917. For one, there was a massive retreat in 1918, during which a lot of documents were destroyed. Then there was another World war that devastated most of Europe. Consequently what wasn't destroyed or lost at the end of the 1st World War, was likely destroyed in the chaos of the 2nd World War.

While it is true that for a time in the 1930's, a limited number of German historians were allowed access to the surviving WWI records, they were only allowed to make hand written copies. And as some of you may realize, hand written COPIES of records are sometimes subject to "subjective opinion" as to what is or isn't worth copying. However, apparently most of these were lost as well. But it appears that the copies of a German historian by the name of Tornaus survived and some of these ended up in the hands of A. E. Ferko.

Some so-called "amateur" historians have attempted to make a name for themselves by proclaiming to all who will listen that THEY have definitive proof that Bishop didn't make his famous raid on 2 June, 1917. All they have really done is besmirch the name of one of the greatest WWI combat pilots ever, and show the world how truly ignorant they are.

They make their personal opinion sound as though it's God delivering the 10 Commandments to Moses on the Mount. They can no more disprove Bishop's record than I can prove there is a man on Mars!

What I am trying to do with this site is gain publicity for a cause. And that cause is to return the memory of Billy Bishop to his rightful place in history, and remove the awful stain from his record that this so-called controversy has placed there. It started with Paul Cowan's tragic excuse for a "docu-drama", but it is still continuing to this very day.

If you want to show your support, Just send me an email saying that you agree with me, and believe the that Billy Bishop truly earned his Victoria Cross. At some future time, I will post a list of the people (first name, last initial, and NO email addresses will be published!) who emailed me, supporting Billy. If you don't wish to be included on this list, just say so in the email you send me. Also, while I am planning on not publishing last names, if you don't mind that I publish your last name, please also tell me that in your email to me.

Created October 21, 1998
Last updated: November 17, 1998
©1998 by Albert Lowe. All rights reserved.
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