Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RAF Group Captain Douglas R.S. Bader, DSO & BAR - DFC & BAR

Reproduced from THE LONDON NEWS 1942

Britains legendary "Ace of Aces" who commanded the Canadian Squadron in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Back in December 1931 an air crash cost him both his legs. The "experts" said he could never hope to walk on artificial limbs without crutches. Six months after the accident he walked out of hospital on "tin legs" -- without sticks.

His career with the RAF was finished. Again the "experts" were wrong. They had said he would never fly again.

On the outbreak of the war he stormed the Air Mnistry until they took him back. He inspired, bold and dashing leadership of his squadron during the battle of Britain will never dim his memory.

Then came an air collision with a German fighter during a sweep over the Continent. That was October 1941.

After escaping from German prison camps three times he was sent to Coldits.

Such is his personality that it is impossible to think of him as a "cripple". He isn't. Tennis is one of the games. "stool ball" and hockey found him in the goal. As a concession he was permitted "parole walks". No matter how inclement or cold the weather he would walk up to 10 kilometers. When food got short he always smuggled in several pounds of wheat traded from the farmers in special sacks about his legs. This would be distributed among the camp.

"Wings" Bader typifies a trait common to all British - no matter the odds, they stay in there punching.

This is a beautiful article that was published in the London news in 1942. For some reason, i love couragous Men and Women like Douglas Bader and all veterans of past and present. They signify courage and i truly admire them. Douglas Bader died in 1982 but his memory lives on the hearts and minds of all those who truly understand the courage and sacrife of our veterans.

Thank you Douglas!

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