THE AEROPLANE OF TOMORROW
Noel Billing ( January 31st, 1881 - November 11th, 1948 ) was born in Hampstead ( North London, England ). He ran away from home at the age of 13 and travelled to South Africa. After trying a number of occupations, he joined the Mounted Police and became a boxer. He was also an actor when he took the extra name Pemberton. He fought in the Second Boer War ( October 11th, 1899 - May 31st, 1902 ), and was at the Relief of Ladysmith, but was later invalided out.
Noel Billing then returned to Great Britain in 1903 and used his savings to open a garage in Kingston upon Thames ( Greater London, England ). This was successful, but he became more interested in aviation, which was then in its infancy. An attempt to open an aerodrome in Essex ( England ) failed, so he started a short - lived career in property, while studying to become a lawyer. He passed his exams, but instead moved into selling steam yachts.
Convinced of the potential of powered aviation, he founded a flying field with extensive facilities on reclaimed marshland at Fambridge ( Essex ) in 1909, but this ambitious venture did not prosper. In 1914, Noel Billing joined the Royal Naval Air Service ( R.N.A.S. ) and in October was granted a temporary commission as a Lieutenant. He was involved in the air raid on Zeppelin sheds near Lake Constance made in November 1914. He was able to sell his share in the aviation firm to Scott - Paine in early 1916, who renamed the firm Supermarine Aviation Works Limited after the company's telegraphic address.
Also involved in politics during the war, he was notable for his support of air power, constantly accusing the government of neglecting the issue and advocating the creation of a separate air force, unattached to either the British Army or the Royal Navy. In late 1916, Noel Billing founded and edited a weekly journal : The Imperialist. The journal supported his Parliamentary campaigns, also advocating equal voting rights for men and women and electoral reform. The journal was renamed Vigilante in 1918 to reflect his campaign for a Vigilance Committee.
Following the Russian Revolution, Noel Billing began to express strong anti - communist viewpoints, and in 1919 he supported British military intervention against the Bolsheviks in Russia.
In 1941, he attempted to return to politics as a critic of the conduct of the war. He advocated the defeat of Germany by bombing alone, and the defence of Britain by a system of spaced light - beams directed upwards, which would confuse enemy bombers.
Noel Pemberton - Billing died at the age of 67.
( source : Wikipedia )