The War Years Blog

Welcome to The War Years blog. World War Two resulted in the deaths of 85 million people. Civilian deaths including those subject to war-related disease and famine totalled 55 million. Tens of millions more people were displaced. However, amid all the carnage people demonstrated remarkable courage, fortitude, compassion, mercy and sacrifice. We would like to honour and celebrate all of those people.  

Billy Bishop Goes To War

Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST

Wednesday 31st October – Saturday 24th November 2018

Coinciding with the centenary of the end of World War I, Proud Haddock are reviving Billy Bishop Goes To War as part of their War Season and Jermyn Street Theatre’s Rebels Season. This striking drama is based upon the true story of young Billy Bishop, a failing military college student who became Canada’s indomitable flying ace, the most successful pilot of his generation.

Billy Bishop Goes To War will star Charles Aitken (The Knick, Cinemax; Happy Death Day, Universal Pictures; King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Billy Bishop with Oliver Beamish (Coronation Street, ITV; Blood Brothers, Lyric Theatre; War Horse, The New London Theatre) as the Older Billy Bishop, who will also provide the piano and musical accompaniment. Between them they will play a further 17 parts as they recount this extraordinary tale.

In 1914, Billy Bishop, aged only 20, signed up to fight in the Great War. A failing and bullied student, he overcame intense prejudice and astonishing danger to receive his wings and become the top fighter pilot. Through a combination of bravery and sheer luck, Billy was able to find his place and prove his worth. He became a true Canadian hero.

Brought to life with songs of the period, Billy Bishop Goes To War vividly transports the audience across the landscape of World War I, from the thick mud of No Man’s Land to the drawing rooms of the British aristocracy. This compelling and darkly comic drama interrogates the nature of heroism and its cost while shining a light on the often-neglected complexities of Britain’s colonial past during the War.

Written by John MacLachlan Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson, the play returns to London for the first time in over 35 years. Billy Bishop Goes To War is the deceptively moving and totally gripping account of one man’s life in World War I.

Director Jimmy Walters comments, Proud Haddock’s War Season continues with Billy Bishop Goes To War. This is a true story with lots of heart. Billy wasn’t the most academic student, was bullied at school and faced prejudice when he arrived in England during the First World War yet he overcame all of this to become the greatest fighter pilot of his generation. It’s an inspiring story that is a privilege to revive.

For more information download a copy of this press release.

To book ticket visit The play runs between Wednesday 31st October and Saturday 24th November, 2018.