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Ipswich statue unveiled in honour of Second World War Spitfire ace Sir Douglas Bader

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 November 2017

The unveiling of the Bader Close sculpture. Picture: NICOLE DRURY

The unveiling of the Bader Close sculpture. Picture: NICOLE DRURY

Archant

A sculpture commemorating a legendary Suffolk Spitfire pilot has been unveiled in a road in Ipswich named after him.

Douglas Bader was at Martlesham in September 1979, to officially open the public house named after him, which was built on one of the runways. Douglas Bader was based at Martlesham as a Wing Commander. He was later promoted to Group Captain. He served at Martlesham Heath with 222 and 242 Squadrons. He joined the RAF in 1928. In 1931 he crashed an aircraft and lost both of his legs. He took part in the Battle of Britain and is credited with 20 aerial victories. This photograph was taken as a Spitfire passed over during the opening ceremony. (Photo by Paul Nixon/Archant). Douglas Bader was at Martlesham in September 1979, to officially open the public house named after him, which was built on one of the runways. Douglas Bader was based at Martlesham as a Wing Commander. He was later promoted to Group Captain. He served at Martlesham Heath with 222 and 242 Squadrons. He joined the RAF in 1928. In 1931 he crashed an aircraft and lost both of his legs. He took part in the Battle of Britain and is credited with 20 aerial victories. This photograph was taken as a Spitfire passed over during the opening ceremony. (Photo by Paul Nixon/Archant).

Flying ace Sir Douglas Bader was stationed at RAF Martlesham Heath during the Second World War.

With a council house development in Ipswich in 2014 being named in recognition of his feats – which included his insistence to continue flying planes despite losing both legs in a flying accident in the 1930s – council bosses decided to erect a statue in his honour.

Speaking at the unveiling earlier today, Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber said: “It’s a lovely representation of a beautiful aircraft and truly honours those who fought in the Second World War. I hope the residents enjoy looking at it over the years.”

The sculpture is the third of its kind in the town with other memorials in Ravenswood and the town centre honouring the town’s links with the armed forces.

Steve Moore, Tony Marshall and Neil Manning from Claydon Architectural Metalworks with their creation Steve Moore, Tony Marshall and Neil Manning from Claydon Architectural Metalworks with their creation

Family run Ipswich metalwork firm Claydon Architectural was approached to create the piece once Ipswich Borough Council had decided to create a memorial.

The memorial is the fifth for the company which also created The Trident Sculpture at Ipswich Marina and the three angels sculpture in the centre of town.

Claire Raycroft from the firm said: “We really do enjoy getting involved in something different and creative.

“When we get a sculpture we always enjoy it.”

The sculpture was finished by Suffolk firm Bradley’s Metal Finishers.

Sir Douglas Bader lost both of his legs in a flying accident during the 1930s, but became a symbol of heroism and determination in the face of adversity after opting to continue flying.

He returned to service in the RAF on the outbreak of the Second World War where he served until being captured in 1941.

He gained notoriety for his escape attempts, which resulted in him being transported to Colditz Castle, where he remained until it was liberated in 1945.

Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council’s planning portfolio holder, added: “This stunning piece of work will add to our public art and honours Douglas Bader and his RAF colleagues who displayed such heroism during the Battle of Britain and later in World War Two. The Spitfire is a symbol of that heroism.”

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