In the mid 70s, Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader visited the senior school my brother was educated at to give an informal talk on his exploits as a WW2 fighter pilot. The deputy head at that time was a WW2 veteran, and although I didn’t know it at the time of Sir Bader’s visit, when I reached the age to go up to the senior school, the deputy head spoke about that day and explained to everyone in assembly how privileged we should feel for having met the greatest fighter pilot the country had ever produced.
At the time of his visit, I was in the junior school that adjoined the senior school and we were all marched in a straight line to the assembly hall, where we took our seats. Of course, I had no idea of the significance of the event at the time, but thinking back, I recall the great man standing straight, hands on the waist high rostrum, speaking in a measured, authoritative but friendly manner. (I had no idea that he was standing on two false legs)
When I arrived back home and informed my mother who I had seen at school, she went on to tell me things that she had read about Sir Bader, adding Douglas cut a “Dashing” figure.
Over time, I eventually settled down to
watch the movie they made about the life of Douglas Bader called ‘Reach For The Sky” and became hooked on WW2 and the heroics of the people who won the battle over the skies of Britain in 1940.
Incredible bravery during a time of extreme adversity. They don’t make them like Douglas Bader any more.