Noel Pemberton Billing

Noel Pemberton Billing

Noel Pemberton Billing

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<!-- Deleted image removed: -->Noel Pemberton Billing (sometimes hyphenated as Noel Pemberton-Billing) (1881 &ndash; 11 November 1948) was an English aviator, inventor and Member of Parliament, responsible for founding the firm that became Supermarine. In politics he was known for his extreme right-wing views, and his promotion of air power. He was notorious during the First World War for his homophobic conspiracy theories, and his strong antipathy towards the Royal Aircraft Factory and its products.

Early life and aviation

Born in Hampstead, England, Billing ran away from home at the age of 14 and travelled to South Africa. After trying a number of occupations, he joined the mounted police and became a boxer. He then fought in the Boer War, but was invalided out.

Billing then returned to England and used his savings to open a garage in Kingston upon Thames. This was successful, but he became more interested in aviation. An attempt to open an aerodrome in Essex failed, but started a short-lived career in property, while he studied to become a lawyer. He passed his exams, but instead moved into selling steam yachts. He won a £500 bet with Frederick Handley Page that he could gain his pilot's licence within 24&nbsp;hours of first sitting in a plane, and used the winnings to found a Southampton-based aircraft business,...
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