NH188 Spitfire Mk IX in 416 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force Markings
NH188 is a Supermarine Spitfire IX and part of a batch of Spitfire's delivered to the RAF between April and June 1944 by Vickers-Armstrong at Castle Bromwich. During its wartime career did serve with 416 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) but post-war became one of the Spitfires in the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) 308 Squadron assigned on May 16, 1947. With the RNAF, it was registered as H-64 and then H-109.
It was then sold to Belgian Air Force and served from March 1952 till 1954, being struck off charge after an accident on April 12, 1954. It was then registered as OO-ARC between 25th May 25 1956 and August 1961.
Then sold to John N. Paterson of Ontario Canada it was registered CF-NUS, with the first flight in Canada taking place during 1962. Mr. Patterson donated the Spitfire to the Canadian National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in June of 1964.
Now someone was required to deliver the Aircraft to the Museum and the story goes:
A certain Jerry Billing was manning the phone at Canadian Forces Base Trenton when a call came in for a pilot with Spitfire experience to ferry NH188 to Rockcliff as the owner had donated it to the museum.
Since Jerry has always had a passion for Spitfires he put himself down for the duty. When he arrived to pick it up a few days before the ferry trip, the mechanics were working on it to ensure it was airworthy. Jerry would take it up for a test flight then come back and say this or that needed to be looked at. He continued to do this for many sorties, all the time there was nothing wrong with the Spitfire, he just wanted to fly it.
On the day of the ferry flight he was just cleared to do a few passes for the big crowd at the museum that came to see it arrive. Instead Jerry did a 10 minute aerobatic display, finishing with a 'beat up of the field'.
The above anecdote provided by: Dave Cheeseman.
NH188 has been on static display ever since, and so Jerry Billing will go down in history as her last Pilot.
This photo was passed to me for my archive when I was working at Field aviation and other than it was taken circa 1964, neither the Photographer, nor Location is known.
Whilst I am attempting to ascertain the details any information would be appreciated by emailing me.
Jerry Billing's Website and The History of Spitfire MK IX NH188 on Jerry Billing's Website
Supermarine Spitfire L.F. Mk.IX Page - Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum Home Page