What is the function in the play of Bishop's recitation of "The Dying of Albert Ball"? How might it relate to General Trenchard's idea that "your colonial" harbors "a morbid enthusiasm for life" in Billy Bishop Goes to War by John Gray?
According to theatre analysts and according to Billy Bishop's accounts in his book Winged Warrior, General Trenchard's remark refers to the need to remove Billy from the war before the fighter pilot odds caught up with him. Billy had become such a skillful Ace pilot that the odds against his continued success were mounting against him with each mission. "A morbid enthusiasm for life" doesn't refer so much to the later "life-wish" remark as to how Ace pilots thought and talked about near scrapes with death:
[brushes with death were] later related as a very amusing, not as a very terrible incident, and as the narrator would tell his story the others would shriek with laughter (Bishop. Winged Warfare, 1918)