My history hero: Douglas Bader (1910–82)

Chosen by Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

Douglas Bader. "It wouldn't be particularly good news to hear: 'Welcome onboard this Ryanair flight to Malaga. I'm Captain Bader," says Jonathan Agnew. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the March 2011 edition of BBC History Magazine

RAF pilot Douglas Bader lost both his legs in an accident in 1931 when, while practising acrobatics, he flew his plane at too low an altitude. But his disability didn’t prevent him from becoming one of the heroes of the Battle of Britain nearly ten years later, overall being credited with 23 aerial victories during the Second World War. After finally being shot down himself in 1941, quite possibly by friendly fire, he spent the rest of the war in German custody. After an escape in 1942, he was recaptured and imprisoned in the infamous Colditz Castle. Bader left the RAF in 1946 but continued to fly until three years before his death. He was knighted in 1976.

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