Thursday, May 26

David Cameron reveals longheld dream to fly a Spitfire


 

 

Evicted from Downing Street, David Cameron may finally have the opportunity to fulfil his dream of flying a Spitfire.

The former prime minister has revealed that he would “love to have had the chance” to fly one of the legendary aircraft.

Interviewed for BBC History magazine, before the EU referendum that ended his leadership, Cameron chose the second world war flying ace Douglas Bader as his “history hero”.

Bader lost both his legs in a flying accident in 1931, but returned to the air with artificial limbs, and was taken prisoner after baling out over France 10 years later. He was, said Cameron “competitive, unruly, foolhardy – but also brilliant, brave and hugely talented”.

Bader, who was credited with 22 solo aerial victories, another four that were shared and several “probables”, spent the rest of his life helping disabled people and touring the world to speak of his experiences.

Cameron could not think of a life “more packed with courage and fortitude”, though he admitted Bader, knighted in 1976, had been criticised “for some of his views and outspoken manner”.

He chose a career with Shell after the war, though there was talk of him becoming an MP. “I think he was probably better off in the cockpit than at the dispatch box,” Cameron said of Bader, who supported apartheid and the white-minority government of Rhodesia.

David Cameron paid tribute to wartime hero Douglas Bader, who he described as ‘brilliant, brave and hugely talented’. There were no parallels between his own life and that of Bader, who died aged 72 in 1982, Cameron said, though Bader’s widow, Joan, met his father, Ian, who was born with deformed legs, after he had one of them amputated decades later.

Asked whether he thought he would have made a good fighter pilot, Cameron said: “No. They’re known as ‘the few’ for a reason. This was a special breed of men, whose dedication and daring saved our country.”