Billy Bishop

The Life of William (Billy) Avery Bishop

From his early days growing up in Owen Sound to his later years as a military hero, this continuing exhibit provides a complete overview of Bishop's life and legacy. Along with numerous photographs and artifacts from his life, the exhibit includes highlights of the numerous achievements this Canadian icon achieved during his life

Billy Bishop dedicated his life to aviation. From his beginnings on Third Avenue West in Owen Sound to the battlefields of France in World War 1, as an honourary Air Marshal in World War 2 and beyond into civilian life.

Billy Bishop and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

In World War II, Billy Bishop helped bring world recognition to Canada's air force and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which became the model for other countries of the free world. We honour Billy Bishop for his heroic service in the cause of freedom, and for his contributions to the orderly development of the aerial highways that benefit people throughout the world. Quentin Reynolds wrote "Bishop is an intelligent, cultured gentleman, an extraordinary host and one of the keenest businessmen in Canada"

The Victory Cross Flight
Billy Bishop took off before 4:00 am on 2 June 1917, a morning of cloud and rain, and headed toward Cambrai to a German aerodrome.
He dove on the field in the first light of dawn and fired toward the tent hangars. Four Albatross pilots tried to take off to get at him. Bishop shot one of them up as it's wheels left the ground. He turned back over the field and fired at a second one. He missed, but the pilot crashed anyway. The other two Albatross took off in opposite directions, one of them flying away, one of them scraping with Bishop before being shot down over a near field. Billy Bishop was awarded the Victoria Cross for his "Dawn Attack". The Victoria Cross is in recognition of most exceptional bravery displayed in the presence of the enemy.


Bishop Artefacts
Be sure to watch for these Bishop artifacts when visiting the museum.
▪ Billy Bishop's bookcase and school books that he shared with his sister.
▪ Billy's picture and biography in the RMC Yearbook.
▪ A model of Billy's first plane, a Nieuport 17 nicknamed "Little Daisy", with which he earned the Victoria Cross.
▪ A copy of the book Winged Warfare written by Billy Bishop.
▪ A model of Billy's second plane, an SE 5A, with the markings of the 85th Squadron known as "The Flying Foxes".
▪ A share in the Bishop-Barker Aeroplane Company, formed by Billy Bishop and William Barker after WWI. This ill-fated company used 3 surplus war planes with intent to fly freight and passengers between Toronto and Muskoka, as well as do aerial photography.
▪ Antique furniture collected by Billy and Mrs. Bishop during their years living in Britain. Billy used the tall desk and the red cabinet in his office in Ottawa during WWII.
▪ Tunic of Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop, complete with insignia.