The Life of William (Billy) Avery Bishop - Exhibition
From his early days growing up in Owen Sound to his later years as a military hero, this permanent exhibit provides a complete overview of Bishop's life and legacy. Along with numerous photographs and artefacts, the exhibit includes highlights of the numerous achievements Billy achieved during his life.
In the Second World War, Billy Bishop helped bring world recognition to Canada's air force and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which became a model used by other countries.
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. Quentin Reynolds wrote, "Bishop is an intelligent, cultured gentleman, an extraordinary host and one of the keenest businessmen in Canada".
This photo courtesy of Library Archives Canada , Item Number 3191558
The Victoria Cross Flight
The Victoria Cross is given in recognition of exceptional bravery displayed in the presence of the enemy. Bishop received this award this prestigious medal for his dawn attack on a German aerodrome on June 2, 1917. Billy Bishop Heritage commissioned Robert Bradford to depict Billy's early morning encounter in a commemorative aviation painting which he titled 'Dawn Attack'.
You can view this beautiful and bold painting at the Museum. Numbered lithographs and prints of 'Dawn Attack' are available in the Museum gift shop.
Featured Billy Bishop Artifacts
At the museum we have a veriety of artifacts that belonged to Billy Bishop, these include:
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 the First World. This ill-fated company used three surplus war planes with intent to fly freight and passengers between Toronto and Muskoka, as well as aerial photography;
Antique furniture collected by Billy and Mrs. Bishop during their years living in Britain;
A tall desk and red cabinet used in Billy's Ottawa office during the Second World War;
Tunic of Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop, complete with insignia;
Billy Bishop's personal desk used in his home office.
Billy's boots and cane.
Billy's Second World War Air Marshal RCAF uniform jacket.