The Splendid Hundred: The True Story of Canadians Who Flew in the Greatest Air Battle of World War II

NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

339 words

Title: The Splendid Hundred: The True Story of Canadians 
Who Flew in the Greatest Air Battle of World War II; by Arthur 
Bishop; McGraw-Hill Ryerson; ISBN 0-07-551683-7; 
paperback., 190 pages; $19.95.

Reviewer:  A. T. Connellan, "Arthur Bishop's gripping saga 
of Canadian heroism in the skies of World War II, is a keeper"

The Splendid Hundred, they terrorized the skies

"Canadians scored more victories per pilot than any other Allied 
air force in the Battle of Britain," says Arthur Bishop in this 
gripping saga of Canadian heroism in the skies of World War II. 

It wasn't that this out-manned crew defeated the Luftwaffe, from 
July 10 to October 31, 1940 they completely discouraged 
Germany's planned invasion of Britain and gave cause for the 
Americans to get involved. It proved to be a major turning point, 
and this is the day-to-day account of how it happened. 

The son of first war air ace, Victoria Cross holder, and later Air 
Marshall "Billy" Bishop, this ex-Spitfire pilot has written a series 
of authoritative and well received volumes on Canada-at-war. 
He has a spare, tightly written, to the point style that is so vivid 
that the dogfight accounts will have pilot-readers kicking rudders. 

In addition to having been there, Bishop has thoroughly 
searched the records to validate his account of the Canadians' 
phenomenal accomplishment. The book is well supported by 
a complete bibliography, a 20 page Box Score of "kills," and a 
detailed Index of Names and Squadrons. 

Churchill's homage to their bravery in his famous speech; 
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed etc.," 
was met by typical Canadian insouciance, with a flyer's wry 
comment, "He must be talking about our liquor bills." The 
Canadian pilots' cheek was exemplified by the CO of No.1 
Squadron Ernie McNab who on an official occasion, met the 
Air Marshall wearing a blue kerchief with white-polka dots 
at his throat in defiance of official regulations. 

The Splendid Hundred is an object lesson to stiffen the 
backbone of Canadians of all ages and circumstances who 
think "that they can't." Perhaps it is also the best response to 
Bill Clinton, the American president's incredible gaffe on the 
occasion of the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. 
Somebody please send him a copy but not yours, this one's a "keeper."



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