Douglas Bader mystery




 
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November 5th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 

Topic: Douglas Bader mystery


I found this interesting story while searching the web

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread292208/pg1

The Douglas Bader Mystery

Here’s a conspiracy mystery that is a little different from usual ones we see, I hope you find it as interesting as I do.*

It begins innocently enough, in the memoirs of Kenneth Williams, a Royal Navy medic who recounts how, in 1942, he was asked to assist the illustrious Bader whilst he was staying at the Stork*Hotel*in*Liverpool;*

One morning before breakfast, Mr.Giles the manager, came and asked me if I knew of Douglas Bader. I looked at him and asked him was there anybody who didn’t know of Douglas “Tin Legs” Bader. He then told me that Bader was going to be a guest in the hotel for a couple of weeks whilst he was working on some*project. Giles then looked at me apprehensively and said “Ken, how would you feel about, like, going up to his room every morning before breakfast to give him some help to put his legs on?” I looked at him and said “You must be kidding, you want me to put Douglas Bader’s legs on every morning?” “Yes, Ken,” he replied, “he finds it very difficult to cope on his own and I would appreciate it if you could help him each morning.”

The problem with this is that Bader, completely unbeknownst to the author, had been shot down (possibly by one of his own men) the year before and we now know that Bader was PoW from then until the end of war, finishing up in Colditz. How could this be?*

Mr Williams was told by one source that he must have been mistaken and that he in fact met Colin Hodgkinson, a second RAF pilot who had lost both his legs but who is virtually unkown, however Ken Williams was introduced to Bader so this cannot be. Indeed in a telephone conversation with JKen Williams in 1976 Bader confirmed that he remembered being attended to by a young man in the Stork hotel in 1942. Fascinatingly however, Hodgkinson wrote his autobiography in the 1950’s and recounting his own experience as a PoW he wrote how he took delivery of a new leg dropped by the RAF, like Bader, but that due to tissue wastage there was no hope of it fitting and after several painful attempts with it he threw it away. Due to the severity of the situation ‘Hoppy’ was repatriated by the Germans in 1944 and he came home to be fitted with new legs, which was the only way . Now legend has it that the RAF dropped legs to Bader and he used them for the rest of the war, how can this be? He must have been measured up.*

The idea that Bader might return to the UK to be fitted with new legs and then voluntarily return to Germany to see out his time in a PoW camp seems preposterous, yet that seems to be the only realistic explanation. So what was the deal? And why is it so secret that pressure has been brought to bear from official departments in the UK government?*

If anyone can add any useful information it would be gratefully received and Mr Williams tells me that he will answer any questions you may have through myself, Mr Williams himself has received a huge amount of personal abuse on other forums through his quest to merely find the truth and so is unwilling to participate directly, and after some of the things I have seen directed at him I do not blame him. I hope and believe that ATS members are more respectful towards an 84 year old veteran than these other forum contributors?*

The main question therefore is not whether or not this meeting took place, the fact of it was confirmed by Bader himself at a time when the author was unaware that it shouldn't have been possible, but rather WHY this meeting was possible, what was going on?*
November 5th, 2011  
VDKMS
 
I once read that a RAF Lancaster got clearance from the Luftwaffe do drop his legs. I thought it was somewhere over France. They also took advantage of that to drop some bombs. That's all I can remember.
November 5th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
One of the problems I have with this story is the need for the British to supply his artificial legs at all, to my mind there are two problems with this:

1) Muscle wastage during the period he was without legs would have made the measurements inaccurate therefore new legs probably would not have fitted.

2) Germany was a world leader in prosthetic limbs at the time (there was a war going on) why would they have needed Britain to make them.
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November 5th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
I think I read in his book the Germans had suggested that they would allow an aircraft to drop Baders false leg to relace the one he lost when he was shot down.
This was refused and the Germans were informed it would be dropped during a bombing mission
November 6th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
One of the problems I have with this story is the need for the British to supply his artificial legs at all, to my mind there are two problems with this:

1) Muscle wastage during the period he was without legs would have made the measurements inaccurate therefore new legs probably would not have fitted.

2) Germany was a world leader in prosthetic limbs at the time (there was a war going on) why would they have needed Britain to make them.
(1). That was the argument put forward by Kenneth Williams, Bader would have needed to have his tin legs properly fitted.

(2)The only suggestion I can come up with is, the Germans had enough on their plate supplying limbs to their own people.
November 6th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
(1). That was the argument put forward by Kenneth Williams, Bader would have needed to have his tin legs properly fitted.
My understanding is that would have been a major problem with having legs made and flown in although I guess it is possible that the Germans could have made minor adjustments.

However this brings up another question in why would the Germans had wanted him to have "custom" made legs as he was constantly trying to escape and at best was uncooperative towards his captors.



Quote:
(2)The only suggestion I can come up with is, the Germans had enough on their plate supplying limbs to their own people.
True but with him being a POW and not an especially high ranking one (His fame was still being developed in 1942) I can't see why they they simply would not have issued him with a set of basic replacements and moved on.

The problem here is that if this meeting did take place then to me it makes sense that it was kept secret as I doubt that the British public would have been to enthusiastic about deals done with the Germans in 1942 and as such a small out of the way hotel also makes sense but then I also wonder why there is no corroborating evidence from hotel employees.

I also wonder why Liverpool surely the shortest route would have been a quick flight across the channel to one of the amputee hospitals in Southern England, Liverpool would have made sense if they were bringing him by submarine but that would have had him out of sight for a fairly long time and his fellow POW's would have noticed that.

I don't find the idea that he would have returned to captivity all that preposterous had the mission been prearranged but I am not sure I can understand why they would have devoted the resources to sending anyone home for medical attention just to bring him back again.

I am prepared to be open minded on this one as there are parts of the story that make sense but there are also bits that need more information.
November 6th, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
My understanding is that would have been a major problem with having legs made and flown in although I guess it is possible that the Germans could have made minor adjustments.

However this brings up another question in why would the Germans had wanted him to have "custom" made legs as he was constantly trying to escape and at best was uncooperative towards his captors.
I agree with you, but then again he was even at that stage he was becoming a household name in the UK.





Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
True but with him being a POW and not an especially high ranking one (His fame was still being developed in 1942) I can't see why they they simply would not have issued him with a set of basic replacements and moved on.
Could it be that it was about propaganda and the German treatment of POW's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
The problem here is that if this meeting did take place then to me it makes sense that it was kept secret as I doubt that the British public would have been to enthusiastic about deals done with the Germans in 1942 and as such a small out of the way hotel also makes sense but then I also wonder why there is no corroborating evidence from hotel employees..
My only suggestion here, if this had actually happened it would have been kept under wraps as much as possible. A "need to know" basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I also wonder why Liverpool surely the shortest route would have been a quick flight across the channel to one of the amputee hospitals in Southern England, Liverpool would have made sense if they were bringing him by submarine but that would have had him out of sight for a fairly long time and his fellow POW's would have noticed that.
Liverpool does make sense to me, I would suggest that possibly Bader travelled to the Irish republic by U Boat, once in the Republic driven the short distance to Northern Ireland, then by boat to Liverpool. Then after his legs were fitted, the same route back

Regarding fellow POW's I'd also suggest that they were told that Bader was being transferred perhaps for medical treatment .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I don't find the idea that he would have returned to captivity all that preposterous had the mission been prearranged but I am not sure I can understand why they would have devoted the resources to sending anyone home for medical attention just to bring him back again.
I can only guess that as Bader was such a prized prisoner and that it was all part of the deal. As far as I am aware there were a number of strange deals made between not only the RAF and the Luftwaffe, but also German and British troops. During the battle for Monte Casino for example, there was a number of truces enabling German Para's and British forces to attend to their wounded, even sharing medical equipment, as well as Germans and British sharing cigarettes or showing photographs of families.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I am prepared to be open minded on this one as there are parts of the story that make sense but there are also bits that need more information.
I agree
November 25th, 2011  
James Christie
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
My only suggestion here, if this had actually happened it would have been kept under wraps as much as possible. A "need to know" basis.

If it was kept under wraps as much as possible and on a need to know, what was he doing in a hotel in public view?
November 25th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
To a large degree it was because the hotel he was allegedly in was small in a very quiet area, I suspect it is more likely he would have been recognised more readily in a flash hotel or even on a military base.

There are a number of parts to this story I find difficult to reconcile but being in an out of the way hotel isn't one of them, why they would have sent him to Britain is a bigger question when:
A) The Germans had the expertise to make the legs themselves.
B) I think it far more likely that they would have allowed a British doctor to fly to France to do the measuring.

There is one bit of information that does interest me though, between 4 August 1942 and 18 August 1942 he was held at STALAG V111B which is right next to Gleiwitz aerodrome and he spent 10 days in solitary there, the official reason for this was that he has used a false name to get onto a work party at the aerodrome so he could steal and aircraft and escape.

This raises a few questions:
1) Why would the Germans put a legless man on a work party.
2) Why was an RAF Officer at an "other ranks" POW camp.

Basically it seems to me that this is a mystery that may actually have viable timeline during the 10 days he was in solitary next to an air base. POWs would have seen him prior to solitary and after solitary but not while in solitary.

But I really don't know on this one it may have some basis but it all still seems unlikely.
November 25th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
I think the Bader was that well known that if he disappeared from a POW Camp for any length of time some one would have said some thing by now. Also under the Geneva Convention wasn't there some thing about Officers not having to do any work. Now knowing of Baders direct approach to these things can you see him go out to do manual work if he didn't have to and if he did would he have not written about it in his book.
 


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