Douglas Bader mystery - Page 7




 
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November 30th, 2011  
James Christie
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
To be honest I think the only way to narrow down the odds on this one would be to look in depth at Bader's war time movements between 1941 and 1943, I do not think we will be able to find any corroborating evidence from others as the passage of time has pretty much eliminated anyone that may possibly be able to verify any part of the story and even if anyone was still capable of doing so they would have similar memory issues.

At a guess I would say that the only reliable source at this point would be the MOD or German war time records and unfortunately I am not sure where you would start on that one.
I've no idea if german pow records survived the war, but according to one of the ats posts, bader was intetviewrd by mi9 after his return from colditz and that report which was confidential at the time is at the national record office. there is a website that quoted a lot of other mi9 debriefs, but not bader.
November 30th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
Well I would suggest that the only 2 locations that would have that sort of information would be the MOD but I doubt they would release it if it did exist and German POW records which these days would be public domain if they do exist.

Maybe the Red Cross who I assume would have set up something like this and acted as the go between.

I doubt MI9 would have known too much about it, I suspect they simply interviewed because he was a senior officer in a high security facility they probably interviewed everyone in Colditz.

There may be survivors out there that could shed some light on the subject but I think it only be these official documents that could be used as an unimpeachable source.

I admit I am operating from the principle that his story has some basis in fact because if we adopt the standard internet policy on this matter of just rejecting it out of hand and then researching facts to disprove the story we will get no where except a long way off track when in my opinion there is only one question we need to focus on "Was Bader released on short term parole for medical reasons at any stage".
November 30th, 2011  
James Christie
 
I doubt the mod has anything, pow debrief was the province of mi9 who debriefed all officer pow on return, not sure about nco and enlisted. this was standard but appears to have been in depth and confidentual so im sure bader would have disclosed the event to the security services had it been purely for medical reasons. anything is now going to be in the national archive. I've no idea if the red cross have any records

on the prima face evidence I see little possibility that bader could have been on parole for medical reasons

williams account days he was told bader was 'working on a project', had legs in functioning order as he had to help fit them and presumably therefore baders stumps were also 'functioning'.

the leg firm was in roehampton, the institutions and hospitals that knew bader also in the se - uxbridge and east grinstead.

in 1942 it appears germany was not cooperating on repatriation even in the most desperate cases, and we know that germany had excellent medical facilities for pow plus the ability to repair baders legs, as recounted in reach for the sky. we know bader got new legs supplied at least once from the uk. the point was made earlier about wasting of the limbs under the pow diet but we also know that in mid 42 bader is described as walking well without a stick so bu that period at least he was managing adequately.

I admit I am coming from a position of denying the event happened but I think the unreliability of the information from williams and the plethora of othrr circumstantial evidence means you have little choice. one starts with the default - bader in captivity and then look to evidential toplace him elsewhere. I think this is williams mistake in going from liverpool as the default.
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November 30th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
Part of the problem with this story is that it seems to have taken on a life of its own and I think even we have lost sight of what it is we are trying to determine for example if I was to use your last post to develop an argument I would argue that his legs are irrelevant as he was in Britain on a "project" not getting new legs.

This is why I am arguing that even Ken Williams is an irrelevance in the story along with all of his recollections the only thing that needs to be determined is whether Bader went home for a short space of time and nothing else.

I don't disagree that the story is a long shot especially in the format Williams has laid out but I do not believe it can be investigated effectively without looking for that one vital bit of information and pretty much everything else are just Chinese whispers.

If I was going to write this up right now I would describe it as unlikely but not impossible which is pretty much where we started.

Now I have a question for you, why does this thread interest you so much?
It is unusual that someone signs on and stays within the one thread.
November 30th, 2011  
James Christie
 
I agree, and maybe the MI9 report is a good place to start as at least its existence is known, even if contents or relevance arent. Sadly I'm no where near to go to see it.
As to why the interest, its the detective angle of it. I started looking at a few threads here, but most seem to have been typical internetarguments over interpretations and so on. This one is much more intriguing, and discussion with you has been interesting with none of that internet childishness.

The International Red Cross does hold records, it seems. I will contact them to see if they are able to release anything they hold.

"Searching for the records of an individual prisoner of war is a complex and skilled task, carried out by staff within the archives division and research service of the ICRC. A search can be made on receipt of a written request. Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible in your letter. It is essential that you include the name and nationality of the individual you are enquiring about.


The following information, if known, is also extremely helpful to their search:
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • name of father
  • date of capture
  • regiment
  • army number
Researchers should bear in mind that these records were compiled for humanitarian reasons and the ICRC is still fully occupied with similar humanitarian work in the present day. Searches of a historical nature may therefore take a considerable time to complete.
To apply for a record of a prisoner of war, or for more information, please write to:
Archives division and research service
International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la Paix
Geneva CH-1202
Switzerland"
November 30th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
The Red Cross may not be a good an option as I had initially thought because if the parole was not for his legs then chances are they did not use them to arrange the transfer but they may still be able to provide a better timeline.

However I agree I like the detective aspect of it as well, it is a chance to learn things about someone I really did not know a whole lot about.
November 30th, 2011  
James Christie
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
The Red Cross may not be a good an option as I had initially thought because if the parole was not for his legs then chances are they did not use them to arrange the transfer but they may still be able to provide a better timeline.

However I agree I like the detective aspect of it as well, it is a chance to learn things about someone I really did not know a whole lot about.

Just so. Even if they didn't have anything to do with it (and given the situation with Bader and the Germans on repatriation, I assume they didn't), they should have records of him as a POW so it may help with fixing his whereabouts.
November 30th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
I agree, it is probably the best/only official avenue open at this point.
November 30th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
I'm glad I started something interesting lol
December 7th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
There are some interesting goings on around the time of August - September 1941 but I am not quite sure what to make of them yet but it has him escaping from a hospital in France and some dealings with Hans-Ulrich Rudel that I can't quite understand either.
 


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