Bishop c. August 1917 in the cockpit of his Nieuport 17, France. Photograph by William Rider-Rider, Library and Archives Canada.

Anne’s youngest son, Shirley, enlists as soon as he turns 18. He spent his adolescence obsessed with aircraft and he joins the flying corps. When the war broke out, flying was practically unknown, but the number of aircraft skyrocketed over the course of the war. By the end of the war, over 22,000 Canadians had served with the Royal Flying Services.

Almost 40% of the Royal Flying Corp’s “aces”pilots who had five or more killswere Canadian. The average life of a combat pilot was only a few weeks. Pictures like this one of Billy Bishop and his plane led young Canadians like Shirley dreaming of life in the sky.

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