Perhaps the most famous fighter Ace of WWII, Douglas Bader became a fighter pilot when he joined the RAF in 1928.
An outstanding athlete and fearless aerobatic flyer, he flew with the elite RAF aerobatic team. On the 14th. of December 1931 his luck ran out when his Bristol Bulldog crashed while he was attempting a slow roll at very low altitude. He lost both legs, and his career in the RAF was, for the time being, over.
At the outbreak of WWII however, his dogged persistence and the shortage of experienced pilots persuaded the RAF to let him fly again, this time with artificial legs. Joining 19 Squadron in February 1940, he moved to 222 Squadron as a flight commander a couple of months later, where on June 1st 1940 he scored his first victory over Dunkirk. A brilliant fighter leader and tactician, in July he was given command of 242 Squadron - a Hurricane unit comprised mostly of Canadian pilots who had suffered heavily during the Battle of France. Bader's leadership transformed the squadron into a highly effective fighting force, and he led them throughout the Battle of Britain.
In March 1941 he was posted to Tangmere as Wing Commander Flying, one of the RAF's first Wing Leaders. But Bader's luck was to run out once again, when on 9th August 1941, with his score standing at 20 victories and 4 shared, he was brought down over St. Omer, France. Bader, always a difficult prisoner, attempted several escapes before the exasperated Germans sent him to Colditz Castle,
where he remained until the end of the war.