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WWII Biographies

We have been learning about the lives of three inspirational people, who are linked to to our WWII topic.


Douglas Bader

Douglas Bader was an RAF pilot. A tragic crash early on his career meant that his legs had to be amputated. He left the RAF and had to learn to walk with his artificial legs.

The outbreak of WWII meant that Bader's expertise and knowledge was greatly needed so he re-enlisted in the RAF.  He was shot down over France and only managed to bail out due to the fact that he was able detach his artificial legs. He was taken to a a prisoner of war camp, where he stayed until the end of the war.

After the war, Bader set up the Douglas Bader Foundation for Disabled People. His service to the disabled was recognised when he was awarded a knighthood.


“You knew you were flying with an ace in every sense of the word, a bloke who knew exactly what he was doing, who was on the ball, was afraid of nothing, and a great leader.”

Sir Alan Smith CBE DFC, flight lieutenant


Odette Samson

Due to a letter being sent to the wrong department of the War Office, Odette, a fluent French speaker who was born in France, was enlisted as a Special Operations Executive - an undercover spy - during WWII.

She worked in occupied France until she was betrayed by a double agent. She was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo. She was liberated as the war ended.

In recognition of her bravery, Odette was the first woman to be awarded the George Cross for her bravery.


Dr Martin Stern  

Martin Stern is a Holocaust survivor. We met him during our trip to the National Holocaust Centre.

He was only five when he was arrested for being a Jew. 

You can read more about his story here.