“To my way of thinking, a disabled man who has achieved
independence is no longer disabled”
Douglas Bader is one of the Royal Air Force’s most famous pilots and his story has inspired countless people in many different ways. He possessed many of the qualities that might be expected of a fighter pilot, especially determination to succeed in difficult circumstances and the ability to lead and inspire others.
Bader has been described as “determined and dogmatic”, “fearless and always eager for a challenge” and “intensely loyal to the causes he cared about and to his friends”.
Bader was born in London in 1910, the son of a civil engineer who travelled to the furthest reaches of the British Empire building all kinds of cool stuff, but then ended up being mortally wounded fighting the Germans in the First World War.
Bader didn’t have the money to go to Cambridge University (even though he had been accepted), but did manage to get a scholarship to attend the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell on scholarship.
While at school, he captained the Rugby team, was a champion boxer, and almost got expelled a couple times because he kept racing cars even though he totally wasn’t supposed to. Basically this guy’s entire life was like Fast and the Furious.