I only recently discovered this website and for the past few weeks I have been working my way through the mass of information contained herein. It was with great interest that I read Mr. David Johnson's remarks concerning the Billy Bishop
controversy. I am Canadian and an aviation enthusiast, which means that I have followed with great interest the seemingly endless controversy about Bishop's record.
While I have no desire to reopen the debate, I would like to make a few observations about Mr. Johnson's statements.
For one, I find it amazing that someone passing judgement on a topic relating to WW I aviation would not be familiar with the operating principal of the rotary engine. Perhaps Mr. Johnson should do a little more research in that area.
Secondly, Mr. Johnson's suggestion that Bishop was awarded the Victoria Cross in order to provide a war-weary population with a hero is questionable to say the least. Perhaps he should read the introductory chapter of Above the Trenches
, which summarizes the British position on decorations and publicity very well. Moreover, if the British wanted to produce a hero, I very much doubt they would have selected an anonymous Canadian.
Third, I am always struck by the virulence of the attacks on Bishop's record. Whatever one may say about him, Bishop certainly evokes strong feelings, whether for him or against him. It would indeed be interesting to see how well the records of some of Bishop's contemporaries could stand up to a similar level of scrutiny.