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Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

Article about: Sorry Nick, you mentioned you dont regard him as a Battle of Britain Hero, then what do you regard him as? I know he was regarded as an arrogant foolish fellow, but in my eyes, to do what he

  1. #31

    Lightbulb Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    All of us are flawed - we are human beings. I don't believe in 'war heroes' as being paragons ; they all have many facets. For me, I deeply admire what Guy Gibson did on the Dams Raid - but what a conflicted character, highly unpleasant in many ways.

    Bader was undoubtedly insufferable to many and without doubt could be intolerant and boorish. But....

    'He showed me quite clearly by his example the way in which a man should behave in time of war and his spirit buoyed me up through many dark days long after he himself became a prisoner of war'.

    The words were written by Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas DSO DFC, who was 20/21 at the time he flew with Bader.

  2. #32

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Interesting to see this thread popping up again, it's made me give more thought to the bigger picture in which Bader plays but a small part, and other far more prominent movers and shakers who come to the fore for many different reasons in warfare, but all share one thing in common. Their force of personality is the difference between winning and losing.


    When the world has gone mad, you need mad men to sort out the lunacy. Men like Churchill, Stalin, Mao, Harris, MacArthur, right down to minor players like Bader, and on and on. Single-minded men, brutal, uncompromising, never seeing more than one side of an argument. Do these people win wars? Yes.

    You need them, without any doubt if you want to prevail.

    But after the lunacy is subdued, then what? Do you really want to idolise such people, make them national heroes for our young to look up to and emulate? No.

    When all the fighting is done, people by nature are weary of it and tired of the men who's forceful, even psychopathic personalities helped to push through to the final victory.

    They are then marginalised, and over time eventually this leads to negative revisionism that colours them all, whether deserved or not, such as it has always been, as Kipling was well aware when he wrote:


    I went into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
    The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    Oh it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
    But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    Oh it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

    I hope you can see what I'm getting at....

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Wether he was " Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know ", obviously I never met him personally, but I feel he would have inspired people. I truly feel if I was a young pilot in those days,I would have looked up to the guy.

  4. #34

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Quote by Totenhead View Post
    Wether he was " Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know ", obviously I never met him personally, but I feel he would have inspired people. I truly feel if I was a young pilot in those days,I would have looked up to the guy.
    If he didn't get you killed first of course.....
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Quote by big ned View Post
    If he didn't get you killed first of course.....
    Haha, yes of course !

    Just a thought, imagine if he had been German and in the Luftwaffe, can you imagine the fuss and propaganda Goebbels and the TR would have churned out !!!

    Whether we perceive him as a hero or not, he did his duty and served his country, he will always have my respect, as will all the others who took part in those times, I salute them all !!!! Thats my swan song on the subject

  6. #36

    Lightbulb Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Quote by big ned View Post
    If he didn't get you killed first of course.....
    That was more likely when Squadron Commanders 'followed the book', using V-formations, etc. And the young pilots weren't all babes in the woods in such a situation ( think Biggin Hill, 92 Squadron, Kingcombe's memoirs.....etc )

  7. #37

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Quote by Martin Bull View Post
    That was more likely when Squadron Commanders 'followed the book', using V-formations, etc. And the young pilots weren't all babes in the woods in such a situation ( think Biggin Hill, 92 Squadron, Kingcombe's memoirs.....etc )
    Hi Martin,

    I understand that, and was being a bit facetious in my comment above!

    However, I have seen letters from two pilots flying with Bader in the Tangmere Wing in the summer of 1941 and one from a witness (pilot on the ground) who saw a fatal collision on 21 May 1941 between two of the wing Spitfires caused, say the witnesses, when Bader turned across in front of them on approach to Tangmere. This may be documented in the squadron ORB, but I certainly wouldn't hold your breathe on it considering the gentleman allegedly concerned. It certainly isn't mentioned in his book 'Reach for the Sky'.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #38

    Lightbulb Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Certainlly won't give you any argument there, Ned. Bader could be hot-headed and just plain wrong on many things ( his insistence on .303s over 20mm was absurd ). He's no 'favourite' of mine, but you have to concede that he did inspire people on many occasions. It's probably fair to say he's one of the RAF's 'interesting characters', and leave it at that !

  9. #39

    Default Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Quote by Martin Bull View Post
    Certainlly won't give you any argument there, Ned. Bader could be hot-headed and just plain wrong on many things ( his insistence on .303s over 20mm was absurd ). He's no 'favourite' of mine, but you have to concede that he did inspire people on many occasions. It's probably fair to say he's one of the RAF's 'interesting characters', and leave it at that !
    Ha! Ha! I hear you mate, Over and Out!
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  10. #40

    Wink Re: Sir Douglas Bader's tactics criticised by veterans.

    Just remembered I've got a signed copy of 'Reach For The Sky'....dare I post it in the 'signed books' thread ?

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