Reach for the Sky: The Story of Douglas Bader
New York: Bantam Books, 1978. First Paperbk Edition. Mass market paperback. pocket paperbk, 338, wraps, illus., fold-out color frontis illus., text somewhat darkened, covers somewhat soiled and edges worn. The story of Douglas Bader is one of the most extraordinry personal sagas of World War II or indeed of any war. This is the true story of a world-famous fighter pilot, who lost both legs in an air crash. After his accident, Douglas Bader vowed to come back, to fly again. He did. The fighter tactics he evolved helped to win the Battle of Britain. Downed over France, trapped in his burning Spitfire, he escaped only because one of his artificial legs was sheared off. Twice captured, he twice escaped before being captured again for the duration. He shot down 22 enemy planes. Paul Chester Jerome Brickhill (20 December 1916 – 23 April 1991) was an Australian fighter pilot, prisoner of war, and author who wrote The Great Escape, The Dam Busters, and Reach for the Sky. Brickhill had been approached by John Pudney with a proposal to write a book on the Stalag Luft 3 mass escape. This was eventually to be published as The Great Escape. Once in England Brickhill asked the RAF about the status of a proposed history of 617 squadron, offering his services. As the RAF had made no progress in finding an author, his offer was accepted. The Great Escape was published in 1950 and brought the incident to wide public attention. The history of 617 Squadron and in particular its involvement in Operation Chastise and the destruction of dams in the Ruhr valley was published in 1951 as The Dam Busters, which sold over one million copies. Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, DL, FRAeS (/ b d r/; 21 February 1910 – 5 September 1982) was a Royal Air Force flying ace during the Second World War. He was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged. Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds. After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing" experiments. In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace. Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army. Bader left the RAF permanently in February 1946 and resumed his career in the oil industry. During the 1950s, a book and a film, Reach for the Sky, chronicled his life and RAF career to the end of the Second World War. Bader campaigned for the disabled and in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1976 was appointed a Knight Bachelor "for services to disabled people" Condition: good.
Keywords: Aviation, WWII, Douglas Bader, POW's, Escape, Fighter Pilots, Handicapped, Battle of Britain, Spitfire