SIR DOUGLAS BADER (Group Captain) CBE DSO DFC FRAes DL d1982. Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter ace during WW2. He was credited with 20 aerial victories / four shared victories / six probable / one shared probable and eleven enemy aircraft damaged. He joined the RAF in 1928 and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds. After the outbreak of the WW2 in 1939, he returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshall Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his big wing experiments. In August 1941, Bader bailed out over German-occupied France and was captured. The circumstances surrounding how he was shot down in 1941 are controversial and recent research strongly suggests he had been a victim of friendly fire. Despite his disability, he made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the POW camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First US Army. He left the RAF permanently in February 1946 and resumed his career in the oil industry. During the 1950s, a book and a film "Reach for The Sky" chronicled his life and RAF career to the end of the Second World War. He campaigned strongly for the disabled and in the Queen's Birthday Honours (1976) was appointed a Knight Bachelor. He continued to fly until ill-health forced him to stop in 1979. Douglas Bader died in 1982 aged 72 from a sudden heart attack.
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