LETTER: Bader: shot down or collided?

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The Independent Online
From Mr John T. Williams

Sir: As an aside to Richard Smith's article relating to the discovery of Douglas Bader's aircraft (Spitfire W3185) (29 January), it is interesting to note that the photograph showing Bader with Luftwaffe pilots includes "Adolf Galland", commanding officer of JG26 (a pilot from this unit may well have brought down Bader's aircraft). Galland was given a severe reprimand for "entertaining" the British pilot at the Geschwader headquarters.

Bader was shot down on 9 August 1941, while leading his Wing during a bomber escort to Bethune. Having baled out minus his right artificial leg, a signal was received from the Germans asking that a replacement leg could be dropped. The RAF decided to include the task in a normal raid. On 18 August 1941, a Bristol Blenheim of No 18 squadron took off from RAF Manston in Kent. The Blenheim made the drop en-route to its primary target.


John T. Williams

Co-Secretary, RAF Air Force

Manston History Club

Ramsgate, Kent