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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Statue honours air ace
Lady Bader, with the statue of her late husband
Lady Bader, with the statue of her late husband
A statue has been unveiled to commemorate the life of Sir Douglas Bader, the wartime pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain despite having two tin legs.

The bronze statue stands at Goodwood Aerodrome, formerly known as RAF Westhampnett and was commissioned by Goodwood estate owner Lord March.

It is 60 years to the day since the pilot flew his final mission in World War II.

A spokesman for the aerodrome said: "He displayed flying skills and leadership qualities of the highest order, which made him a household name during and after the war."

Sir Douglas Bader
The pilot was decorated for his service
Douglas Bader joined the RAF in 1930 at the age of 20 but within 12 months he had lost both his legs, the result of a crash during an aerobatic manoeuvre.

He had artificial legs made and learned to walk again.

After years of pestering RAF chiefs, Bader was allowed to fly again and it was during the Battle of Britain that he was made Group Captain.

He shot down 22 enemy planes before his last mission on 9 August 1941 when he was rammed by an enemy fighter over northern France.

He was captured by the germans and held as a prisoner of war at Colditz.

Legs confiscated

After several unsuccessful escape attempts his captors confiscated his legs each night.

The pilot was knighted for his work with disabled people and made a companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

He was also awarded a DSO bar, a Distinguished Flying Cross and bar and received three mentions in Dispatches.

He died in September 1982.

The statue unveiled on Thursday was commissioned by Goodwood estate owner Lord March to honour the legendary fighter pilot.

See also:

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