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William Bishop Script

William Bishop "The Lone Hawk"

SUMMARY

With dozens of victories in the air, Billy Bishop’s Commanders had to decide whether to let the ace continue to rack up numbers or protect the popular hero of the Air Force. When he was eventually called away from the front, Bishop had 72 victories to his name, including the four downed planes that helped him earn the Victoria Cross.

Before he was killed in April 1917, fellow RFC flying ace Albert Ball came up with a plan for the two men to attack a German aerodrome. Bishop carried out the mission by himself in memory of his downed fellow ace, resulting in his Victoria Cross action.

PAGE ONE

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Bishop looking out the window

A dark office on a military airfield. Light from windows penetrates the darkness here and there. Major William Bishop (24) sits, brooding, a draft of a letter on the desk in front of him.

CAPTION: JUNE 18, 1918.

CAPTION: I'VE BEEN ORDERED TO GIVE UP MY COMMAND HERE AND RETURN TO ENGLAND BY NOON TOMORROW.

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Bishop looking out the window

Bishop stands by a window, staring out at a SE5 (plane) that has just taken off in the airfield outside.

CAPTION: PERHAPS THEY FEAR ANOTHER OF THEIR HEROES WILL DIE.

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Close-up on letter: Only the following words have been written and the pen lays on the paper: LETTER: I'VE NEVER BEEN SO FURIOUS IN MY LIFE.

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CAPTION: I HAVE A FUNNY FEELING I WILL NOT BE BACK HERE AGAIN.

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CAPTION: MEMORIES OF MY TIME HERE TAKE ME BACK TO A YEAR EARLIER.

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PAGE TWO

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A Nieuport 17 fighter plane trails smoke as it approaches an airfield

A blue-nosed bullet-riddled Nieuport 17 fighter plane trails smoke as it approaches an airfield.

CAPTION: MAY 7, 1917

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Bishop writes in a ledger near his plane

Bishop (23), the pilot of the riddled plane, writes in a ledger near his plane that is parked in background, a mechanic near it and turned to Bishop with an incredulous look.

MECHANIC: A MIRACLE THE MACHINE BROUGHT YOU BACK, SIR.

BISHOP: AN HOUR AND A HALF UP THERE WITH FRITZ IS ENOUGH TIME TO GET INTO TROUBLE.

MECHANIC: MAYBE YOU SHOULD CONSIDER SURPRISE ATTACKS, SIR.

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Bishop has just changed into a fresh uniform

Bishop has just changed into a fresh uniform for a leave from the base. Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Albert Ball (20) is in the doorway to the barracks.

CAPTION: THAT AFTERNOON I WAS GRACED BY A VISIT FROM CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL, ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING AIRMEN IN THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS.

BALL: I HEARD YOU HAD A GO AT 23 HUN PLANES TODAY. YOU HUNTING FOR MY RECORD, BILLY?

BISHOP: I ONLY BROUGHT DOWN TWO.

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Bishop and Ball talking

Ball is closer to Bishop who now has a travel bag in one hand.

BISHOP: THOUGH THE EXCITEMENT OF THE CHASE HAS A TIGHT HOLD ON MY HEART - IT'LL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I'M BACK FROM LEAVE.

BALL: DAWN ATTACK ON A GERMAN AERODROME. WE HIT THEM BEFORE THEY'VE GOT THEIR BREAKFAST IN FRONT OF THEM.

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Bishop and Ball hand shake

They shake hands.

BISHOP: SOUNDS GRAND. KEEP THE GERMANS BUSY UNTIL I'M BACK.

BALL: BUT YOU KNOW I FEEL ROTTEN TO SEE THEM GO DOWN.

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PAGE THREE

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Ball's grave stone

CAPTION: THE SHORT REST IN ENGLAND HAD QUIETED MY NERVES AND I WAS GLAD TO BE BACK WITH MY SQUADRON. BUT SAD NEWS AWAITED ME. WHILE I WAS AWAY IN ENGLAND, ALBERT HAD BEEN KILLED IN ACTION.

A silhouette of Ball's funeral proceedings.

CAPTION: I MADE UP MY MIND THEN TO CARRY OUT THE ATTACK ON THE AERODROME ALONE.

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PAGE FOUR

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Filescamp Farm airfield

Heavy clouds hang over Filescamp Farm airfield at 4 a.m., sprinkling the airfield with a light rain. A single plane - a Nieuport - sits in the field, engine purring and ready for its pilot. A mechanic is checking the underbelly of the fuselage. A pilot is approaching from the distance.

CAPTION: JUNE, 1917. FILESCAMP FARM.

CAPTION: I HOPED TO BE AWAY BY THE TIME THE FIRST STREAK OF DAWN SHOWED IN THE SKY.

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The mechanic stands by the wing, pointing at the blue nose of the plane

Bishop pulls on his gloves in his Nieuport fighter. The mechanic stands by the wing, pointing at the blue nose of the plane.

MECHANIC: I HEAR THE GERMANS HAVE A BOUNTY ON YOUR HEAD.

BISHOP: IF THEY WOULD SHOOT STRAIGHT, I'D BE MORE WORRIED.

MECHANIC: BRANDING YOUR MACHINE WITH THAT BLUE NOSE OF YOURS SHOULD HELP THEM.

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Bishop's Nieuport climbs upward into the overcast

Bishop's Nieuport climbs upward into the overcast, pre-dawn sky. Rain clouds threaten from the distance.

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Bishop can barely see in the rain

Closer on the plane, a drizzle turning to rain. Bishop can barely see as he squints to see through the windshield.

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PAGE FIVE

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Bishop looks around as if looking lost

The clouds are a little higher now, but it is still somewhat misty. Bishop looks around as if looking lost.

BISHOP: DAMN IT!

CAPTION: THE WEATHER WASN'T DOING ME ANY FAVOURS THAT DAY.

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The plane's compass reads East

The plane's compass reads East as Bishop clears his flight goggles of water.

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Eagle-eye view of Estourmel aerodrome

Eagle-eye view of Estourmel aerodrome. No activity.

CAPTION: BUT ON REACHING THE PLACE, I FOUND NOTHING ON THE GROUND.

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Bishop pulls right and back on his flight stick to change course

Bishop pulls right and back on his flight stick to change course.

CAPTION: I WAS IN A RATHER BAD TEMPER AT HAVING THE PLAN FALL THROUGH AND SO I SET OUT TO FIND ANOTHER TARGET.

CAPTION: AS I WAS JUST TURNING TO GO HOME, I SAW ANOTHER AERODROME.

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Bishop looks down, a smile on his face

Bishop's Nieuport in steady flight at a good altitude. Bishop looks down, a smile on his face.

CAPTION: I COUNTED SEVEN MACHINES ON THE GROUND. SOME WITH ENGINES RUNNING.

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PAGE SIX

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Shadowy shapes of hangars and seven Albatros Scout planes

Aerodrome near Esnes, France. Shadowy shapes of hangars and seven Albatros Scout planes and an LVG two-seater plane.

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Bishop's Nieuport flies straight across the aerodrome field

As Bishop's Nieuport flies straight across the aerodrome field, his machine-gun's muzzle is afire as he rakes the grounded planes with great success.

SFX: ACK - ACK - ACK!

PAGE SEVEN

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Bishop's Nieuport pulls up in a climbing turn

As Bishop's Nieuport reaches the edge of the airfield, he pulls up in a climbing turn.

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On the ground below, three machine-guns

On the ground below, three machine-guns in various positions around the airfield fire up into the sky.

SFX: RATATATATA!

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Bishop looks back down at the Aerodrome

As Bishop looks back down at the Aerodrome, tracers whizz towards, by and past his Nieuport. A good number of the bullets hit his plane's wingtips.

CAPTION: THE GUNNERS WERE RIGHT ON TARGET TODAY.

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PAGE EIGHT

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Bishop's Nieuport dives towards a German Albatross scout plane

A German Albatross scout plane is taxiing down the field as Bishop's Nieuport dives towards it.

CAPTION: BUT I DIDN'T DARE TO GO TOO FAR AS THEN I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO CATCH THEIR MACHINES AS THEY LEFT THE GROUND.

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Bishop fires a machine-gun burst from close range

Bishop fires a machine-gun burst from close range, hitting the Albatros several times just as its wheels are barely off the ground.

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Two more Albatrosses cross just as they are taking off in different directions

CAPTION: I TURNED BACK TO THE AERODROME, BUT MY HEART SANK.

Two more Albatrosses cross just as they are taking off in different directions.

CAPTION: THE WEATHER HAD DONE ME IN AGAIN. WITH NO REAL WIND, THEIR MACHINES WERE ABLE TO TAKE OFF IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.

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Bishop takes a fast shot at an Albatros

In the background, one of the Albatroses flies away from the field and remains at a safe distance as the other one heads straight for Bishop and takes a fast shot.

SFX: ACK - ACK! ACK - ACK!

Bishop grins, craning his neck to see his quarry.

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PAGE NINE

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Pilot looking nervous as Bishop opens fire

Bishop has just pulled out of a hard turn and bears down from above on the Albatross, its pilot looking nervous as Bishop opens fire.

SFX: ACK - ACK - ACK!

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The German pilot avoids being hit but loses control of his Albatross

The German pilot avoids being hit but loses control of his Albatross. The plane is at the beginning of a fateful spin.

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Bishop has his hand on his machine-gun drum as he sees another Albatross closing in on him

As the Albatross spins towards the ground, out of control, Bishop has his hand on his machine-gun drum as he sees another Albatross closing in on him from the background.

BISHOP: I'LL BE RIGHT WITH YOU, FRITZ!

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Bishop changes drums, heading straight at the Albatross

Bishop changes drums, heading straight at the Albatross that is now dangerously close and climbing towards him.

PAGE TEN

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Bishop has his Nieuport's nose down as he dives at the Albatross

Bishop has his Nieuport's nose down as he dives at the Albatross.

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Bishop keeps flying past

Biashop fires and fires, emptying his machine-gun drum at the Albatross. He grimaces, having lost some of his eagerness.

SFX: ACK - ACK -ACK! ACK - ACK -ACK!

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Bishop's machine-gun clicks empty.

SFX: CLICK!

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Bishop in his Nieuport

Bishop - in his Nieuport - glances about worriedly, trying to see pursuers as he heads away from the Aerodrom.

CAPTION: I DECIDED THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND GOT THE HELL OUT OF THERE. BUT I KNEW I COULDN'T BE ALONE.

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PAGE ELEVEN

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Bishop's Nieuport flies through the sky. Seemingly alone.

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Bishop's eyes are locked on something above him.

Bishop's eyes are locked on something above him.

CAPTION: AND I WASN'T ALONE.

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Four German scout planes fly high in the clouds

Looking at them from below, four German scout planes fly high in the clouds, ominous and threatening.

CAPTION: WITH MY AMMUNITION GONE, I WAS IN NO MOOD TO TANGLE WITH THEM.

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Bishop flies directly under the four German scouts

Looking at the big picture, Bishop flies directly under the four German scouts.

CAPTION: I FLEW DIRECTLY UNDER THEM FOR SOME TIME, ALMOST A MILE. I TOOK THE BIT BETWEEN THE TEETH AND SLIPPED AWAY.

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PAGE TWELVE

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Major Bishop stands in the dark office

Major Bishop stands in the dark office, but the door is now open and he stares out. The letter (that he had open on his desk on the first page) is sealed on his desk, and on top of it a Victoria Cross medal in its open box.

CAPTION: I WAS DAMN LUCKY ON THAT REDLETTER DAY.

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Major Bishop looks stoic

Closer on Bishop, who looks stoic, and much more vigorous than on the opening page.

CAPTION: A GOOD SHOOTER BUT A BAD PILOT, SOME HAVE SAID. BUT WITH LUCK, IT'S TWO OUT OF THREE AND THAT WAS ENOUGH THAT MORNING.

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Bishop watches the pilots under his command on the airfield, preparing for flight. A plane - A SE5 with a nose painted blue - off to the side almost looks to beckon him.

CAPTION: LET ME BE PART OF THE GAME UP IN THE SKIES FOR ONE MORE DAY.

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Major Bishop puts on his jacket

Bishop grins ear to ear, pulling on his flight vest, as he strides towards the SE5 - his plane. A young pilot smiles and salutes to the side.

CAPTION: WILLIAM AVERY BISHOP WAS OFFICIALLY CREDITED WITH 72 AERIAL VICTORIES, FIVE OF THEM ON THIS, HIS LAST DAY IN COMBAT.

CAPTION: HE WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR HIS DARING RAID ON THE GERMAN AERODROME.

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Credits

Artist

Scott Henderson

Sound Designer, Recorder & Mixer

Scott Enns

Sound Supervisor

Scott Enns

Writer

Timo Puolitaipale

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