The Best of British
The personification of RAF heroism during the Second World War.
Few men become legends in their lifetime. Douglas Bader was one of these men. Fighter ace, international sportsman, constant rule breaker and incorrigible escaper, he spread exasperation and irritation wherever he went. Yet his courage and determination in the face of crippling injuries continue to inspire people all over the world to this day.
Bader joined the RAF as a Cranwell cadet in 1928. On December 14th, 1931, while attempting some low flying aerobatics in Bristol Bulldog, he crashed. Following the accident, Bader was rushed to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where both his legs were amputated, one above and one below the knee. He left the RAF, but, equipped with artificial legs he learned to fly again.
Upon the outbreak of war in 1939, Bader used his Cranwell connections to re-join the RAF, in spite of his disability. During the Battle of Britain he commanded a wing of fighters based at Duxford.
Later, he was to lead a series of offensive fighter sweeps known as CIRCUS opperations over France. By the summer of 1941, Bader had shot down over 23 German planes, the fifth most prolific record in the RAF.
On August 9th 1941 Bader collided mid-air with a German Me-109 over Le Touquet. He was captured by German forces and sent to a number of Pow camps and was finally despatched to the Colditz Castle prison. He remained there until the end of the war.
Bader was knighted in 1976, and in 1982, after serving as guest speaker at a London Guildhall dinner honouring the 90th birthday of the Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Arthur "Bomber"Harris, douglas Bader died of a heart attack.
This is very rare and sought after issue of the Air Training Corps Gazette for February 1942 personally signed by Douglas Bader, interestingly, and curiously, he has added "Biggin Hill" to his name.
This represents a very welcome and exclusive addition to the collection and is in addition to the illustrated issue shown on the 42 page.
Many thanks go to Chaucers for coming up with this absolute gem.
Chaucer Covers & Autographs Ltd, 19a Grace Hill, Folkstone, Kent CT20 1HA