The Douglas Bader Foundation
Book Sale Royalties & Fundraising Donations: $12,400.00
“I think about my childhood hero, Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader. I begin to understand how he may have felt when bureaucracy stopped his flying career. ‘The rules are written for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men,’ he would say. It seems very appropriate to me right now. I stand up and begin to walk by the river again. Just like Douglas Bader, I feel the frustration of the irrational rules that appear to have grounded me, despite having met the standards they set.” – edited excerpt from Rubber Suits & Lukewarm Soup.
A message from a relative of Sir Douglas Bader regarding the book,
“I can imagine Douglas up there with you in spirit during the dangerous moments and it sounds as though there may well have been quite a few of those… I had a pretty salutary experience while flying with my mother and Douglas to Jersey. My brother and I were in the back and suddenly, as is common on and over Jersey apparently, a fog bank rolled in and visibility was suddenly reduced to nil. All I remember was a lot of conversation between Douglas and ground control at Jersey Airport. Douglas sounded so calm that my brother and I weren’t worried at all. We only found out later that Douglas had had serious concerns about whether we were going to make it. Nerves of steel as ever…. What a shame Douglas isn’t alive to read about himself featuring in your adventures – he’d have loved that!
After first publishing my book, a chance conversation with a friend lead me to connect with the Douglas Bader Foundation, which continues the work of the aviator whose inspirational story helped me to achieve my goal. I was fortunate to communicate with some of his living relatives and was interested to hear a story of a flight Douglas flew with them into the Channel Island of Jersey. It was a foggy day and his passengers were truly concerned. Douglas kept cool and flew a smooth approach and landing, seeing the runway just a few seconds before touchdown. Many years later, Douglas revealed that he too was concerned about this approach and forced himself to stay cool and calm for the sake of his passengers. I was immediately reminded of my first flight into foggy Jersey, a flight that initially raised my interest in aviation. I couldn’t help but remember my own foggy flight across the English Channel with my terrified passengers watching my every move, and my attempt to remain cool and in control. I have always felt a strong connection to Douglas Bader and sharing these stories with those who knew him is a tremendous privilege. I decided that the proceeds I received from the sale of my book would be donated to the Douglas Bader Foundation.
From the Douglas Bader Foundation website:
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, CBE, DSO, DFC, FRAeS, DL, became a hero and legend in his own lifetime.
Douglas Bader was born in London in 1910. Douglas won a scholarship to St Edward’s School in Oxford. Followed by a place to the RAF College in Cranwell where he captained the Rugby team and was a champion boxer.
Douglas was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Air Force in 1930 but after only 18 months he crashed his aeroplane and became a double amputee caused by “my own fault” in an aeroplane accident in 1931. As a consequence of the accident Douglas was discharged from the RAF. He found work with the Asiatic Petroleum Company. After the outbreak of the Second World War Douglas rejoined the RAF. Douglas was a member of 222 squadron and was promoted to lead 242 squadron. His skill as an aviator and contribution as an outstanding leader and fighter ace during WW2, along with his continuous attempts to escape prisoner of war camp after he was shot down, was immortalised in the book and film ‘Reach for the Sky’.
On returning to England Douglas was promoted to group captain. He left the RAF in 1946.
Having suffered a double disfigurement Douglas became an inspiration to disabled and able-bodied alike by demonstrating the ability to “get on with your life”. Post war found him working for Shell, getting his golf handicap down to an extraordinary 2 and fund raising on behalf of many disabled groups and charities.
Douglas was honoured in 1976 with a Knighthood for his contribution and work on behalf of the disabled community. Sir Douglas Bader became an inspiration to disabled and able-bodied alike by demonstrating the ability to “get on with your life”.
It is this maxim that our charitable foundation, established in Douglas’s name following his death in 1982, seeks to replicate and develop. The Douglas Bader Foundation helps and supports both children and adults who are affected by any form of limb loss, congenital or otherwise or who are affected by any other similar disability.