Douglas Bader

Category: General Interest
Status: Available
Ref: 12590
Price: £125.00
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Douglas Bader

Legendary British fighter pilot.

Bader was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Air Force in 1930 but after only 18 months he crashed his aeroplane and as a result of the accident had to have both legs amputated. Discharged from the RAF he found work with the Asiatic Petroleum Company. On the outbreak of the Second World War was allowed to rejoin the RAF.

A member of 222 Squadron, Bader took part in the operation over Dunkirk and showed his ability by bringing down two German aircraft.

Bader was now promoted by Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and was given command of 242 Squadron, which had suffered 50 per cent casualties in just a couple of weeks. Determined to raise morale, Bader made dramatic changes to the organization and on the squadron’s first sortie during the Battle of Britain on 30th August, 1940, resulted in the shooting down of 12 German aircraft over the Channel in just over an hour. Bader himself was responsible for downing two aircraft.

During the summer of 1941 he obtained 12 kills. His 23 victories made him the fifth highest ace in the RAF. However, on 9th August 1941, he suffered a mid-air collision down near Le Touquet, France. He parachuted to the ground but both his artificial legs were badly damaged.

Bader was taken to a hospital and with the help of a French nurse managed to escape. He reached the home of a local farmer but was soon arrested and sent to a prison camp. After several attempts to escape he was sent to Colditz where he remained to the end of the war.

Paul Brickhill's book, Reach For The Sky, was published in 1954 and was later made into a film.

This is a superb First Day Cover commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain 1940-1980, nicely signed in blue fountain pen ink by Douglas Bader and by FOUR other great heroes of the Battle of Britain - Robert Stanford Tuck (1916-1987, who shot down at least 29 enemy aircraft), James "Ginger" Lacey (1917-1989, who shot down 28 enemy aircraft, 5 probables and nine damaged), John "Cat's Eyes" Cunningham (1917-2002, who became  the most famous night fighter pilot, successfully claiming 14 night raiders using what later became known as radar), and Johnnie Johnson (1915-2001. who shot down 34 confirmed enemy aircraft, as well as seven shared victories, three shared probables, ten shared damaged and one destroyed on the ground, making him the highest scoring Western Allied pilot against Luftwaffe aircraft, thus officially becoming the British and Western Allied flying ace.)

Condition is excellent.