Friday, 5 December 2014

Douglas Bader captured at St Omer

Fortunately there was no problem with his parachute and as he gently floated towards the ground he heard the sound of a 109 pass very close by him. He must have presented a strange-looking picture to the startled farm workers as they looked up to see this peculiar figure drifting towards them with what appeared to be one good leg and an empty trouser leg flapping in the breeze.
Within minutes of landing the Germans had picked him up. They could hardly believe their good fortune since Douglas was almost as famous to the Luftwaffe as he was to the RAF. He was taken to hospital in St Omer suffering from concussion but apart from that he was comparatively unscathed.
Douglas’s Spitfire continued to disintegrate as it fell to the ground and no wreckage has ever been discovered. His damaged leg was found in a field and a German technician patched it up and it was returned to him at the hospital in St Omer.
To Göring's later fury, Douglas was invited to the officers’ mess at Audembert, home of Adolph Galland's Wing, Jagdgeschwader 26, or fighter wing 26. JG 26 had nine squadrons, or staffels that were deployed at several airfields in the Pas de Calais area.
Douglas immediately thought that this was a golden opportunity to steal a plane and escape, but although his captors let him sit in the cockpit of a Bf 109, a German pilot stood on each of its wings, holding a drawn and cocked pistol just to make sure that the aircraft stayed firmly on the ground.

The main square of St Omer, where Bader was taken for treatment after he was captured by the Germans. His concussion proved to be only temporary.

From "Douglas Bader" by Michael Evans
Get your copy HERE

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