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Douglas Bader and Alexander Hess

Douglas Bader and Alexander Hess IWM Neg no CH001340

Two Duxford-based Battle of Britain pilots, Douglas Bader and Alexander Hess. Bader lost his legs in a flying accident in 1931, but became famous as the pilot with ‘tin legs’. ‘Sacha’ Hess was a Czechoslovakian pilot who, like many others carried on fighting after his country was invaded by Germany. His family was murdered by the Nazis while he was away.

What do you think drove men like Bader and Hess to fly and fight in the Battle of Britain?

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  1. Ann Hallows says: September 26, 20111:36 am

    The previous generation had been involved in trench warfare and for a lot of young men flying seemed a better option. They wanted to protect the people they loved and their way of life, men like Bader and Hess would have been the first to be imprisoned or killed because they wouldn’t have surrendered to an invading army but formed a resistance and been a thorn in the nazis side, so self preservation .
    And certainly in Douglas Baders case ‘not in my sky you don’t old boy’.

  2. Rob MacFie says: September 29, 201112:57 pm

    As a ‘baby boomer’ born in 1947 my childhood was filled with reading Paul Brickhill’s books and stories of the Battle of Britain (then of course only 15 or so years previously) and pilots like Douglas Bader my hero. In the mid 1950s Bader visited Hobart Tasmania as Shell Petroleum’s ambassador but whilst my dad took me to get a glimpse of the great man I sadly have no clear recollection of seeing him.

  3. […] Duxford during WWII, he had already lost both legs in 1931 but continued to fly in active service. This Blog from the Imperial War Museums gives a varied insight into the life of the men and women who were based at Duxford, Douglas Bader […]

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