BILLY BISHOP / KERRISDALE LEGION - B.C./Yukon No.176

Lounge & Fireplace

In 1945 a group of returning¬†RCAF veterans started an Air Force Association here, and later borrowed for this club the name of the outstanding Canadian air ace of World War I. When you look around you see many pictures of airplanes, some dating back to the early days of flight. And that’s why our Legion Badge is wearing wings!

Over the fireplace is a 1937 portrait of Air Marshall William Avery Bishop. With 72 victories in air combat, Billy Bishop was the premier British Empire air ace during WWI. (In the foyer there is a display with more pictures.)

To the right of Bishop’s portrait are badge-plaques of the six units in which he served, including 60 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, where he won the Victoria Cross in 1917. Above it is 85 Squadron RAF, which as a Major he commanded prior to his appointment as head of the newly formed RCAF.

In the fireplace the grate itself is unusual. It was made by aircraft artificers from the main connecting rods of a seven-cylinder engine – probably from a 1940’s era Avro Anson trainer. Notice also the handle of the poker.

To the left is the badge of 617 Squadron RAF, the famous Dambusters. In 1943 Lancasters of this squadron successfully attacked the Sorpe and Mohne dams in the Rhur valley with spinning, barrel shaped bombs which bounced over the water before sinking to explode, ideally against the foot of a dam. The resulting floods are referred to in the motto, Apres Moi Le Deluge. Note the group of plaques that are “in memory”.

To the right is a picture of the Sopwith Triplane “Black Prince” flown by Flight Sub-Lieutenant W.M. Alexander, of the renowned all-Canadian ” Black Flight”. Above hang models of WWI aircraft: a Nieuport 17c in the 1917 livery of Bishop’s plane, andEnglish Scout Experimental S.E.5a, which Bishop flew in 1918.

Just below the TV is a photograph of Bishop’s 16 medals, donated by the original cast of the play Billy Bishop Goes to War. There is also a copy of the 1964 letter from his widow, lending us his name; and a photograph of his boyhood home in Owen Sound, Ontario, which is now a museum.

A Short History and Tour, 1998, John A. Macdonald, Leanne Frid. Updates: Ron Crawley, Derek Irons, Arthur Hughes. Revised 2015: Derek Allen, Archivist. Online publication 2016: Jennelyn Boyadjian.