There have been many influences for Bill’s work from his early childhood to the present day. He grew up in Portsmouth on the south coast of England and his early years were spent rowing and sailing a clinker dinghy and cruising in his Father's various wooden sailing boats. In those days, he sketched the ships he saw around him, especially to while-away the time when passage making - later turning some of these sketches into detailed models. It was whilst looking for models in Maritime Museums that he first got interested in marine paintings.
Son of a World War II fighter pilot, Bill was named after one of his Father's heroes, the First World War Canadian fighter ace, William Avery (Billy) Bishop. His parents lived next door to the daughter of the great marine artist W.L. Wyllie (1851-1931), who encouraged him, even presenting him with about fifty of W.L.'s old brushes, which Bill still keeps.