20 Dec '12, 9am
A schoolboy's hero Douglas Bader
As a child of the ‘50s I was brought up on a diet of stories of how men had fought and sometimes died to make England a better place for my generation. One author whose work was devoured enthusiastically by boys of my generation was Paul Brickhill. In The Great Escape he wrote of life in a prisoner of war camp and of an escape by hundreds of men for the internment camp of Stalag Luft III. His account of The Dam Busters recounted brilliant engineering by its bomb designer and the courage of the men who delivered the bombs to their target in the heart of Germany’s Ruhr Valley. I t was his book Reach for the Sky which recounted the sheer determination of one man – Group Captain Douglas Bader, who fired the imagination and became an inspiration for us boys. With the Paralympics still fresh in the minds of Londoners as we looked on with admiration to what the human spirit is ca...