Who is the most iconic RAF figure of World War Two?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Park82, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Park82

    Park82 New Member

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    Here at the RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) we are holding a poll to find the most iconic RAF figure of World War Two. To vote please visit:

    90 faces of the RAF Benevolent Fund

    The poll is featured on our special 90th anniversary website, “90 Faces of the RAFBF”, which features 90 stories about our history, fundraisers and supporters.
    If you visit you can listen to Winston Churchill's famous 1951 radio appeal on behalf of the RAFBF, watch videos of beneficiaries and serving RAF personnel describe how we help, and learn about the enormous support we enjoy among the RAF family.
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Tough call.

    Most adored after all these years: Dowding
    Most villified after all these years: Harris
    Overated (IMHO): Leigh Mallory
    Underappreciated: Park
    Most representative of the Spirit of RAF: Bader, Gibson
     
  3. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Has to be Dowding ...


    Kris
     
  4. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Doug Bader for me.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Agree.
     
  6. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Bader is the one that comes to mind to me. Although I would rate Dowding higher.
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Interesting point
    'rated' is the answer you'd expect from an historian or enthusiast, 'iconic' is the answer you'd expect from the average person in the street; for me too it would be

    Dowding - rated
    Bader - iconic

    Classic example of iconic would be most women hanging out their washing in 1940 and seeing a Spitfire flash past overhead... only it wasn't a Spitfire, it was a Hurricane.
     
  10. JP Vieira

    JP Vieira Member

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    Bader also
     
  11. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    It is partly poor choice of words on my part. I see both as being iconic but for different reasons, in the grand scheme of things I see Dowding being seen as more of an icon than Bader. It's just that Bader is more well known and therefore is seen as more iconic, however I think a combination of the two would be a more accurate representation.
     
  12. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Don't know if Bader is really better known than Dowding.

    Another pilot to mention was Guy Gibson, Flight Leader for the Dambusters Raid.

    Kris
     
  13. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Dowding in my mind, but I'm American so I may not have the same pov.
     
  14. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    Douglas Bader for mine
     
  15. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    I think Dowding, if he had got the overall strategy of The Battle of Britain wrong chances are the German army would have invaded
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Bader was a shameless self publicist who carefully cultivated his image post war. Then there was the film (reach for the sky).This has made him iconic post war, a war during which he spent most of his time as a POW. 9th August 1941 was his last combat mission. He also managed to lead the post war victory fly past over London ahead of (IMHO) men more deserving. He may be remembered,rightly, with respect but rarely with affection.
    Dowding was a modest ,very reserved man whose work reorganising Britain's air defence immiediately pre-war and whose leadership during the war probably saved this island from defeat and being forced into coming to some kind of terms with nazi Germany.
    Thankfully it is a statue of Dowding that stands on The Strand. The last line of the inscription says it all

    "To him, the people of Britain and of the Free World owe largely the way of life and the liberties they enjoy today."

    Guess who gets my vote!

    Steve
     
  17. magnu

    magnu Member

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    Of the top brass the team of Dowding and Park
    Of the pilots Sailor Malan
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Without Bader, BoB would be decided as it historically was.

    Without Dowding, I strongly doubt it would be so.
     
  19. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I'd put Malan ahead of Bader too
    He re-wrote the rules for RAF fighter engagement and undoubtedly saved scores of lives dispensing with the rigid, pre-war RAF formations and methods of attack.

    Bader was an ebullient leader, he turned 242 Sqn from a disenchanted, demoralised unit into a hard-hitting squadron. His drive and agression were key leadership qualities but I don't think he was any better than many other unit commanders during the Battle. With no implied cynicism whatsoever, it was the 'Bader story' that earmarked him for greatness rather than any inherent superiority over his peers.

    Malan was influential at a tactical level, Dowding more so at a strategic level. Bader was an icon who lifted the morale of the British public.
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    My point exactly.
    We were blessed, at that time, with many remarkable airmen. Bader was one of them but does not stand out in such exalted company.
    I went to a school that supplied the RAF with Douglas Bader, Guy Gibson,Adrian Warburton and Arthur Banks amongst others. They named the sports centre after,you've guessed, Bader. I was not happy about that!
     
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