Flying ace. British legend. Double amputee.
Despite a pre-war injury causing him to lose both his legs, Bader went back to flying as soon as war broke out, using prosthetic legs.
In fact, there are so many stories about the inspirational hero during the war it’s hard to know which one to pick.
But one of the best has to be to story of his capture by German forces and his dramatic escape attempt.
During a dogfight over France, Bader was shot down in his Spitfire. In the crash, his right prosthetic leg was damaged, and he was captured by German soldiers.
They immediately recognised the fighter ace, and went back to the crash site to find and repair his missing leg.
They also contacted the RAF to inform them that he was alive, but that he needed a replacement leg. The Luftwaffe agreed to allow an RAF plane into their airspace to drop a spare leg in what became known in Britain as ‘Operation Leg’.
But Bader could not wait. Now he could walk again, he was to be transferred to a German prison.
In an incredible move, he knotted bedsheets together and climbed out of the window of his hospital room.
With the help of some French sympathisers, he managed to escape, but not for long. He was found and brought back to the hospital where he found a spare prosthetic leg waiting for him. A British bomber had flown over peacefully, dropping the leg as planned.
However, the Germans were taking no chances. They took away all 3 legs, rendering him unable to make another escape attempt.
He was transferred to Germany, where he would remain imprisoned. Despite their attempts to keep him locked up, he made numerous escape attempts and was a constant thorn in the side of his captors, and eventually, he was transferred to Colditz as a result where he was liberated in 1945.
Douglas Bader was a man who never allowed his injuries to dampen his love for flying – a love that would continue long after the war.
He also campaigned vigorously for people with disabilities and received a knighthood for his work.
After his death in 1982, his family and friends formed the Douglas Bader Foundation (DBF), with the aim of continuing his work and belief that:
A disabled person who fights back is not disabled…but inspiredGroup Captain Sir Douglas Bader
And this year, as the DBF turns 40, it only makes sense that the man himself is honoured on a brand new commemorative.
Your commemorative features a 3D aluminium Spitfire model made from a genuine piece of a Spitfire AB910, which flew in the D-Day raids.
Only 295 commemoratives have been struck from 1oz of .999 pure silver to a beautiful antique finish. That’s a tiny edition limit for worldwide distribution.
Finally, a donation from each sale of this spectacular tribute will be made to the DBF and go towards helping anyone living with disabilities.
Their work is invaluable to countless lives, and it’s a honour to support such a worthwhile cause in the name of such an inspirational man.