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Did Billy Bishop know Roland Garos?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: September 25, 2012 
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Did our Canadian Billy Bishop know the French pilot Roland Garos during the 1st World War? I'm a tennis fan and enjoy history. Please connect the dots. Thank you. –D.R.

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Dear D.R.,

Sorry to put you off your game, but Roland Garros was taken prisoner on April 18, 1915; it was not until July 1915 that the notion even entered Lieutenant William A. Bishop's head to request a transfer into the Royal Flying Corps, just to get out of the trenches. Bishop had been relieved of command of No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force at the end of June 1918, before Garros, having escaped from the Germans in February 1918, returned to service in his old escadrille Spa.26 and scored his fourth victory, a Fokker D.VII, on October 2. Garros was killed in action three days later, probably by Leutnant der Reserve Hermann Habich of Jasta 49. Such circumstances make it extremely unlikely that the two men ever met.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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