Photograph of Douglas Bader's artificial legs being weighed before being sent to him in Oflag VIB

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A photograph of Douglas Bader's artificial legs being weighed before being sent to him in Oflag VI-B.

Oflag VI-B was a prisoner of war camp for officers established by the German Army. Bader stayed at this one from October 1941 to May 1942. This photograph was taken sometime during this period.

RAF Group Captain Douglas Bader was a Royal Air Force Flying Ace. In August 1941, he bailed out over German occupied France and was captured. Douglas Bader actually lost his legs in a plane crash in December 1931 whilst attempting aerobatics. He was told he would never walk or fly again. His artificial legs were damaged when he bailed out in 1941 and replacements were sent to his prisoner of war camp by the Joint War Organisation for the International Red Cross. The photograph shows his new artificial legs being prepared for despatch. Despite his disability, Bader went on to make several escape attempts and eventually ended up at Colditz Castle.

I have been interested in the Royal Air Force since my childhood. I was born in Lincolnshire which has a rich World War Two heritage. During the war, there were over 40 airfields in the county because of its flat terrain and its locality to Europe. Douglas Bader has a connection to my home county- In 1928, he joined the RAF as an officer cadet at the Royal Air Force College in Cranwell and was commissioned in 1930.

Douglas Badar was a very determined man and was always fighting battles. After the war he campaigned for the rights for the disabled. In 1976 he was honoured with a knighthood for his contribution and work. He is quoted as saying,‘’A disabled person who fights back is not disabled… but inspired’’.

Audio recording by Chris Skipworth (Volunteer), Cardiff.
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