Air Ace William "Billy" Bishop

Sacred Heart CHS
Newmarket, Ontario
Teacher: Marc Keirstead
Self and Society, 9th Grade


General Information

  • Born in Owen Sound, Ontario on Feb 8, 1894.
  • Educated at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario.
  • Qualified as a pilot in December, 1916.
  • Joined the Royal Flying Corps.
  • Flew a Nieuport 17.
  • From March 25, 1917 to June 19, 1918, he destroyed over 25 enemy aircraft.
  • Participated in over 170 air battles.
  • In total given credit for 72 kills, third highest ace allied total.
  • In one battle he shot down 5 enemy aircraft in a space of 5 minutes.
  • In 1918 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and given command of 85th squadron.
  • Awarded the Military Cross, Distinguished Service Award and Victoria Cross by King George V.
  • Had a reputation as an accurate shooter but a lousy pilot.
  • Was instrumental in helping create the Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • Germans nicknamed him "Hell's Handmaiden."

"It made my heart leap to see my smoking bullets hitting the machhine just where the closely hooded pilot was sitting."

"Oh, how I hate the Hun. They have done in so many of my friends. I'll make them pay, I swear."

"Better to die voluntarily crashing than to have the enemy send you down in flames."