Billy Bishop

Billy Bishop
Winged warfare - hunting the Huns in the air (1918) (14783541522).jpg
Lieutenant Billy Bishop, 1918
Birth nameWilliam Avery Bishop
Nickname(s)"Billy", "Bish"
Born(1894-02-08)8 February 1894
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Died11 September 1956(1956-09-11) (aged 62)
West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
United Kingdom
Service/branchCanadian Expeditionary Force
Royal Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Years of service1914–1918
RankAir Marshal
Commands heldNo. 60 Squadron RAF
No. 85 Squadron RAF
Battles/warsFirst World WarSecond World War
AwardsVictoria Cross
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Military Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Canadian Efficiency Decoration[1]
Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de guerre (France)

William Avery Bishop, VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED (8 February 1894 – 11 September 1956) was a Canadian flying ace of the First World War, Victoria Cross recipient, and Air Marshal. He was officially credited with 72 victories, making him the top Canadian and British Empire ace of the war. During the Second World War, Bishop was instrumental in setting up and promoting the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Early life

Bishop was born in Owen Sound, Ontario.[2] He was the third of four children born to William Avery Bishop Sr. and Margaret Louisa (Green) Bishop.[3] His father, a lawyer and graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario, was the Registrar of Grey County.[4] Attending Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Bishop earned the reputation of a fighter, defending himself and others easily against bullies.[4] He avoided team sports, preferring solitary pursuits such as swimming, horse riding, and shooting.[5] Bishop was less successful at his studies; he would abandon any subject he could not easily master, and was often absent from class.[6]

At 15, Bishop had his first experience with aviation: he built an aircraft out of cardboard, wood crates and string, and "flew" off the roof of his three-story house. He was dug, unharmed, out of the wreckage by his sister.[6]

In 1911,[1] Billy Bishop entered the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario, where his brother Worth had graduated in 1903.[7] At RMC, Bishop was known as "Bish" and "Bill". Bishop failed his first year at RMC, having been caught cheating.[8]

Bishop as an RMC cadet, c. 1914
Other Languages
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русский: Бишоп, Билли
Simple English: Billy Bishop
slovenščina: William Avery Bishop