Douglas Bader

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Douglas Bader

Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL (21 February 1910 – 5 September 1982) was a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter ace during the Second World War.


Bader attributed his success to the belief in the three basic rules, shared by the German ace-of-aces Erich Hartmann:

  • If you had the height, you controlled the battle.
    • Mackenzie 2008 p. 39.
    • Lucas 1981, p. 95.
  • If you came out of the sun, the enemy could not see you.
    • Mackenzie 2008 p. 39.
    • Lucas 1981, p. 95.
  • If you held your fire until you were very close, you seldom missed.
    • Mackenzie 2008 p. 39.
    • Lucas 1981, p. 95.
  • Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't do this or that. That's nonsense. Make up your mind, you'll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.
  • Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.
    • Brickhill 1954, p. 44. Note: (also quoted as "...for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.") In Reach for the Sky, this quote is attributed to Harry Day, the Royal Flying Corps First World War fighter ace.
  • I am not one of those who see war as a cricket match where you first give anything to defeat the opponent and then shake hands
    • Lucas 1981, p. 95.
  • If you come out of the sun, the German will never see you coming.


  • Brickhill, Paul. Reach for the Sky: The Story of Douglas Bader DSO, DFC. London: Odhams Press Ltd., 1954. ISBN 1-55750-222-6.
  • Lucas, Laddie. Flying Colours: The Epic Story of Douglas Bader. London: Hutchinson Publishing Group, 1981. ISBN 0-09-146470-6

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