Biography of Chevalier Jerry Billing

Born 04/20/1921 Essex Ontario Canada Jerry Billing RCAF 1941
As a young boy he dreamed of flying, after reading books about WWI pilots. When WWII started Jerry knew it was his chance to fly. He joined the RCAF in 1940 as an air gunner ( bomber), and advanced to wireless air gunner because of his eagerness to learn and his proficiency in Morse Code. With Jerry's persistent requests of the training personnel for pilot training, the Commanding Officer finally relented, starting with the required test in Mathematics, which he passed. In London Ontario Jerry learned to fly the Fleet Finch and was one of the first to solo. He moved on to Dunnville Ontario in mid-1941 were he flew Yale aircraft (Jerry soloed the Yale with only two dual trips). With all the ground school completed, he was told he would be an Instructor based in Canada. This was insufficient as a challenge for Jerry, so with great persistence and perseverance, he acquired his fighter pilot status. In 1941 he was sent to the UK ( Tern Hill ) for advanced flight training on the Miles Master. That completed, he advanced to the Hawker Hurricane, and with an above average assessment, he was then posted to a Spitfire training unit. After soloing in a Spitfire MKI Serial K 9929, Jerry requested to join a Spitfire Squadron. (which in the early 40's were reserved for above-average pilots). In 1942, Jerry joined #19 Squadron RAF which was equipped with the Spitfire MKV, flying many types of sorties ( intercept, CAP, etc.).

Jerry Billing Malta 1942 185 Sqd.In October 1942 Jerry volunteered to help defend Malta, which was surrounded by the enemy and on the verge of defeat. Launching from HMS Furious in Spitfire MK Vb his small unit completed a 1200 mile open water flight to Malta to join #185squadron. Flying daily in many different sorties from bombing (on-the-job training with a Spitfire ) to aircraft interception. Jerry saw lots of action and never hesitated to tear into the enemy .In the RAF during WWII it was required that confirmation of a KILL, probable, or damage, must be made either by another pilot or recorded on gun film (unavailable in Malta). Unlike the scoring used by the Germans, Russians and Yanks, an aircraft destroyed on the ground was NOT considered a KILL to the RAF .On patrol Dec 8 1942 Jerry was jumped by 3 BF109's and was forced to bail out, later to be plucked from the Mediterranean by air/sea rescue. In March 1943 on a scramble to intercept 10-plus enemy aircraft, as Jerry attacked 2 BF109's, another BF 109 got a jump on him and disabled his Spit, forcing him to bail. After recovering from his injuries, Jerry flew more sorties. When he left Malta on 19th of May 1943, he did so with the knowledge that he had superseding the 2-3 month average life span of a fighter pilot in Malta! During Jerry's time on Malta he was in many air battles against many different enemy planes, due to the lack of confirmation from other pilots he didn't claim any kills, but shot up many different enemy planes, and strafed everything from U-boats to pillboxes. After a month leave to Canada Jerry returned to the UK to instruct new spitfire pilots in the art of dog fighting.

Jerry Billing D Day 1

In 1944 Jerry was sent to 401 Squadron RCAF at Biggin Hill were he was assigned a Spitfire MK-IX. Leading up to D-Day he Flew many sorties over France. On June 6th 1944 D-Day, Jerry was patrolling over Gold beach. The next day, Jerry downed aJU88 and gave 2 FW190's a good squirt of gun fire. On June 18th Jerry was relocated to B4 ( a makeshift air base near the front lines) in France. His log reveals many intercepts and bombing sorties in the next days. July 1on a intercept Jerry was hit by Flak and was forced to crash land in no-mans-land. He would spend several days evading the Germans, finding refuge in the town Brehal, where the LeBourgois Family cared for his injuries and hid Jerry from the enemy. Picked up by advancing American's he was brought back to B4, sent back to the UK for debriefing where he was told that, because of his evading behind enemy lines, he would not be allowed to fly in combat anymore. Jerry Billing flew over 250 sorties during his two tours of duty in World War II. During those tours he flew with many famous pilots such as George Beurling, Hap Kennedy, Buck McNair, and Stocky Edwards, just to name a few. Once back in Canada, Jerry tried everything to get back into combat flying but to no avail. (He even tried joining the USAF). After hostilities ceased, he was was released from the RCAF, in 1946.

Jerry Billing Tiger Moth

In 1947 Jerry was the chief  flying instructor at the Windsor Flying club.

In 1948 Jerry re-enlisted in the RCAF and was based in Trenton to instruct pilots to become instructors were he flew B-25, Lancaster, P-51, Vampire jet aircraft.
Blue Devils

In 1951 Jerry joined the Canadian Jet Demo team the Blue Devils flying in the #2 position in a De Havilland Vampire for the teams last season. Later in 1951 sent to New Brunswick for instructing pilots to fly jets, were he flew the T33, and in 1952 they received their first F86 Sabre jets.

Jerry Billing RAF 1954

In 1954 Jerry was assigned back to the UK as a exchange officer in their fighter development squadron where he flew the Hawker Hunter, Supermarine Swift, Meteor, Canberra, and Venom. Returning to Canada in 1956 Jerry was behind a desk pushing paperwork for the Defence Command ( not to Jerry's liking ) but he did fly as much as he could, getting checked out on the CF100.






Golden Hawks

In 1958 Jerry was posted to a Tactical squadron where he did air show displays in the CF86 Sabre and trained pilots from different countries and ferried planes around Canada and Europe. During this time Jerry also trained Canada's second jet aerobatic team — the Golden Hawks.




Jerry Billing Test Pilot

Jerry left the RCAF in 1964 to become a test pilot for DeHavilland, working on all aircraft they were designing atthe time. Jerry travelled the world displaying DeHavilland aircraft for potential customers. During the VietNam war Jerry delivered Caribou aircraft there forthe CIA. After leaving De Havilland Jerry trained a fellowby the name of Don Plumb, a local Windsor businessman, who had bought a dual seat Spitfire (TE308). Jerryworked with Mr. Plumb for many years displaying his warbird fleet at various air shows across North America.

Jerry Billing Bill Ross Don Plumb


In the early 70's Jerry was contacted by Bill Ross to see if Jerry would be interested in flying a Spitfire Mk IX(Mk923) from California to Chicago to be restored. Jerry and Cliff Robertson came to the agreement that Jerry would be responsible for displaying the spitfire to the public at air shows as living history, and Mr.Robertson would keep it flying financially. From the mid-70's to the mid-90's ( 22.5 years ) Jerry displayed MK923 at many air shows across North America, thrilling thousands of spectators with his skill and grace behind the controls of the Spitfire. In 1984 Jerry flew for Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip as a curtain raiser on their visit to Windsor Ontario ( receiving a thankyou letter from the Queen ). In 1992 Jerry passed a unique milestone of 50 consecutive years flying Spitfires (also receiving congratulations from Her Majestythe Queen via letter). In 1994 Jerry retired from flying Spitfire MK923 and the aircraft was sold to Craig McGraw. It is now displayed at the Museum Of Flight, Seattle. In Jerry's career he displayed Spitfires NH188, TE308, SL721 and MK923 for many different owners across North America. Jerry over the years also checked out many pilots on flying a Spitfire.

Jerry's Aeronca Champ

To this day Jerry lives outside Essex Ontario, were he still fly's a 1947 Aeronca Champ from his own grass strip.