Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, (Born February 21st 1910 – 5 September 1982) was a Royal Air Force fighter ace during the Second World War whom was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.
On December 14th 1931, while visiting Reading Aero Club, Bader executed some low-flying aerobatics at Woodley Airfield in a Bulldog Mk. IIA, of 23 Squadron. Unfortunately, Bader crashed moments after the tip of his left wing made contact with the surface. Bader was immedialty rushed to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where, both his legs were amputated —one above and one below the knee.
Bader made the following understated entry in his logbook after the crash:
"Crashed slow-rolling near ground. Bad show."
— Douglas Bader
June 1932, Air Under-Secretary Philip Sassoon arranged for Bader to take up an Avro 504, which he piloted competently. A subsequent medical examination proved him fit for active service. Unfortunately, the RAF did not agree, and Sir Bader was directed to an office position.
After multiple failed attempts for the Air Ministry to accept him back into the RAF, Bader was finally invited to a selection board meeting, and finally, on November 27th 1939, a full eight years after the loss of both of his legs, Bader flew solo again in an Avro Tutor; however shortly after becoming airborne, Bader succumbed to temptation, and rolled his aircraft inverted at 600 feet over while well inside the circuit area.
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader went on to score his first aerial victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940, then defending his homeland in the Battle of Britain.
In August 1941, Bader was forced to bail out of his aircraft over German-occupied France and was captured soon afterward. Undeterred by his missing both legs, Bader attempted to escape multiple times, and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle, where he remained until liberated by the First United States Army at the end of the war.
During his time as a prisoner of war, Bader took it upon himself to cause the Germans as much misery as possible...and often practised what the RAF personnel called "Goon-Baiting". After multiple and continuous escape attempts, by Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader...the Germans actually threatened to take away his prosthetic legs.