Bader’s Last Flight, an in-depth investigation of a great WWII mystery

Legendary fighter ace Douglas Bader seemed invincible, fighting back from the loss of both legs in a pre-war accident. When Bader had to parachute from his badly damaged Spitfire over France, it was a shock to his comrades and to the public. As with the Red Baron during WWI, such a loss generated many myths and much controversy. The author has advanced his hypothesis with supporting evidence. An absorbing account that is strongly recommended.


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NAME: Bader's Last Flight, an in-depth investigation of a great 
WWII mystery
FILE: R2472
AUTHOR: Andy Saunders
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, frontline
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES:  234
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, PoW, 
downed airmen, RAF, Douglas Bader, legless ace, Spitfire, fighter 
sweeps, 'rhubarbs', aerial collision, friendly fire

ISBN: 1-47389-540-5

IMAGE: B2472.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/kkrd2p4
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Legendary fighter ace Douglas Bader seemed invincible, 
fighting back from the loss of both legs in a pre-war accident.  When 
Bader had to parachute from his badly damaged Spitfire over France, it 
was a shock to his comrades and to the public. As with the Red Baron 
during WWI, such a loss generated many myths and much controversy. 
The author has advanced his hypothesis with supporting evidence. An 
absorbing account that is strongly recommended. 

Douglas Bader was a pugnacious and larger than life figure. He upset 
many and charmed as many more. His initial RAF service in peacetime 
was marked by a number of 'flying stunts' that bordered on the foolish, 
depending on how anyone viewed them. He could probably be best 
described as a gifted pilot rather than a good pilot and he was driven 
to win at everything he attempted. When he crashed a biplane fighter, 
rehearsing for an air display, there were a number of people, 
particularly of senior rank, who thought he got what he deserved. That 
may have been a harsh view but entirely understandable amongst peace 
time senior officers when there was no combat to absorb the aggression 
of young pilots. After the crash, Bader had both legs amputated and 
began a slow painful road back to flying. Had a war not broken out, 
even his indomitable spirit might not have taken him back into a 
cockpit.

Controversy was never far from Bader. He proved not only a gifted 
fighter pilot on Hurricanes, but also an effective and revered 
squadron commander. His support of the 'Big Wing' fighter formation 
did not win him many friends at a time when the RAF was fighting for 
its life, but he made the concept work. From there he led fighter 
sweeps across France after the Battle of Britain and, after he was 
brought down and taken prisoner, he became a major pain for his 
captors who eventually moved him to the 'escape proof' Colditz Castle, 
where he continued to be a royal pain. Freed by the victorious Allies, 
Bader returned to flying in the RAF and continued to fly after he left 
and joined the world of commerce. The great mystery of his career was 
exactly what happened when his Spitfire was fatally damaged and almost 
took him down with it.

There were many who were reluctant to accept that he was brought down 
by the enemy. As with many pilots, Bader could be forgiven for 
remembering the event with less than full accuracy. German fighter 
pilots often insisted they had been shot down by Spitfires when a 
Hurricane had brought them down, such was the 'snob' value of the 
Spitfire. Pilots on both sides frequently claimed 'kills' that were 
either shared with other pilots or entirely the victory of another. 
The confusing battles high above Britain and France could make the 
most skilled and experienced pilot miss-remember.

The author has done a very good job of advancing his hypothesis after 
assembling his proofs through careful research. He has also told of 
the hunt for clues that resulted in the discovery of a lost Spitfire 
that is being brought back to life. Its a great story, but undoubtedly 
there will continue to be those who refuse to believe anything that 
challenges their accepted view.