Joe Louis versus 943 Billy Bishop: In two words, no contest
A short excerpt from the 1942 – Review
No. 943, Hon. Air Marshal W. A. Bishop, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., D.F.C., LL.D.
About three years ago Bill Corum, Steve Hannigan, Rick and I were sitting around killing an hour when the talk turned on Joe Louis.
“‘There’s just about the toughest man in the world,’ I said.
“Corum, the sports writer, has always maintained that Louis is the greatest. He grew enthusiastic in his praise. We all did, while Rick just sat there smiling gently.
“We started talking about what a ‘killer’ Louis was. Finally Rick just sat there smiling gently.
“‘Louis a killer? Whom did he ever kill?’ Rick said gently, because Rick is a gentle person. ‘Joe Louis fearless? What did he ever have to be afraid of? Oh, he’s a great fighter all right. But when you talk about killers-there were only two. Who were they? Manfred von Richtofen and Bill Bishop. Of the two,’ he added, ‘Bishop was the greater. Richtofen was a spider lying in wait for enemies to fly into his net. Bishop was a raider, always flashing into the enemy’s territory. Bishop was a man absolutely without fear.’”
“In Berlin, once,” adds Reynolds, “I heard Baron von Saxonberg, one of Germany’s greatest wartime pilots, talk of the Canadian as he talked of Richtofen-and Richtofen is the greatest of German heros. I heard Eddie Rickenbaker say bluntly, Bishop was the greatest. None could compare with him.’
“Bishop’s record? He was officially credited with having shot down seventy-two German planes.”
Reprinted from “An Attic Salt-Shaker” by W. Orton Tewson.