Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Bader’

Winner: Frank, followed by the Driver and Carol

Frank seems to be getting the hang of this, winning for a second week in a row. Tied with the Driver in regulation, he needed only one round in the playoffs to win tonight’s game.

If truth be told, the Driver just gave away the game, missing a very easy question – who did 87% of Cubans in Florida vote for in the 1980 election? Why it was Ronald Reagan, of course, not George H.W. Bush.

Good Question!: Name the legless fighter pilot of World War II.

Choices: a. Red Baron  b. Douglas Bader   c. Ernst Udet   d. Tex Hill

Answer: Douglas Bader


Sir Douglas R.S. Bader, Britain’s legendary legless fighter pilot of World War II, was credited with downing 24 German planes in 1940-41.

He was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1930 at the age of 20 and lost both legs when his Bulldog fighter crashed during an aerobatic display near Reading in November 1931.

He was discharged from the Air Force in 1933, but was determined to fly again. He had artificial legs made at the Roehampton center for limbless ex-servicemen in South London and learned to walk on them while working for an oil company.

When war broke out in September 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland, Britain was desperate for pilots and he persuaded the R.A.F. to take him back as a pilot, where he flew fighter sorties in the Battle of Britain.

He attributed his success in aerial combat to the three maxims of German ace Erich Hartmann:

If you had the height, you controlled the battle.
If you came out of the sun, the enemy could not see you.
If you held your fire until you were very close, you seldom missed

He flew Hurricanes and Spitfires, fighting his first action during the evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk in May and June 1940 after France capitulated.

He got his first ”kill” there with his Spitfire, downing a Messerschmitt 109. He was made a squadron leader and then wing commander, leading the first R.A.F. fighter squadron with all Canadian personnel.

Sir Douglas destroyed an estimated 30 enemy planes, of which 24 were officially confirmed. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross, both with bars, for courage and leadership. He was also decorated twice by the French.

In August 1941, his Spitfire collided with a Messerschmitt over Bethune in France, and he was captured after parachuting to earth. He was held prisoner by the Germans, despite four escape attempts, until he was freed by American troops in April 1945.

Sir Douglas R.S. Bader, Britain’s legendary legless fighter pilot of World War II, died in 1982 from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.

To see Bader’s Spitfire, the plane that won the battle of Britain (a short clip) :

For those with plenty of time, here is a fascinating and quite touching “This is Your Life” British TV piece on Bader:




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Winner: Droppin’

Droppin’ led all the way tonight, followed closely by The Driver and Pluto. This was Mistress Daphne’s last game for quite a while. Surprisingly, she is taking a pair of long cruises on the high seas, headed back and forth across the ocean. She must think there are frequent flier miles for all that sailing. All the players will be sad to see her go.  Ah, who am I kidding. We can’t wait until she is gone and we can play this game with wild abandon – anything goes (and no penalty box).

She has offered to arrange for her sister – Conn. Connie – to stand in for her one week, and ask the questions. That would be a nice change of pace. Looks like we will have to bring Darin in off injured reserve to handle those duties, just as soon as she is able. I understand she has been busy taking biker ed classes, so she can get a reduced insurance policy for her next bike trip.

Tonight’s controversy involved the name of Dennis the Menace’s dog, of all things. Turns out he had 2 dogs – first Gnasher, and then Ruff. Initially the “Ruffians” were quite upset that their answer didn’t get credit, but after much weeping and “gnashing” of teeth, all was made well.

Good Question!: Name the legless fighter pilot of WWII ?

Choices:  a.Jonathan Willis   b.Douglas Bader   c.Floyd Bennett   d.Daniel Griffiss


Answer: b.Douglas Bader

It’s a heck of a story, which not too many Americans know.

Douglas Bader, the son of a soldier who died as a result of the wounds suffered in WWi was born in London in 1910. An excellent sportsman, Bader won a place to the RAF College in Cranwell where he captained the Rugby team and was a champion boxer. Bader was commissioned as an officer in the RAF in 1930 but after only 18 months he crashed his aeroplane and as a result of the accident had to have both legs amputated.

On the outbreak of WWII he 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 planes.

Bader was now promoted 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.

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 Messerschmitt 110.

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 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.

Bader was freed at the end of WWII and when he returned to Britain he was promoted to group captain. He left the Royal Air Force in 1946 and became managing director of Shell Aircraft until 1969 when he left to become a member of the Civil Aviation Authority Board.

Paul Brickhill’s book, Reach for the Sky, was published in 1954 and was later made into a movie. Bader’s autobiography appeared in 1973. Douglas Bader, who was knighted in 1976, died in 1982.

Here is a wonderful, long (5 minute) trailer that captures the bravery of the RAF in the Battle of Britain:

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