Petersham Mews, Kensington, London, SW7
Petersham Mews runs from Petersham Lane to Elvaston Mews and is close to Gloucester Road underground.
A charming cobbled mews. The luxury car rental division of Miles and Miles inhabits a number of the houses so very convenient if you need a Porsche for the weekend.
Past famous occupants include Douglas Bader (RAF Fighter Pilot) English Heritage Blue Plaque.
EXTRACT FROM THE DAILY TELEGRAPH – 1ST NOVEMBER 2009 – SIR DOUGLAS BADER, the Battle of Britain war hero, was honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque yesterday.
Sir Richard Branson, who unveiled the plaque at the former home of the RAF ace in South Kensington, Petersham Mews, led the tributes to Sir Douglas, who died in 1982.
“His spirit of adventure had an enormous influence on my life as he had on millions of others,” said Sir Richard. “He literally reached for the sky. May his life live on and be a great example to all.” Sir Douglas, knighted for his services to the disabled, was born in 1910, and joined the RAF aerobatics team but lost both legs after a plane crash in 1931. Surpassing doctors’ expectations, Sir Douglas walked again on artificial legs just six months after surgery.
When the Second World War was declared he took to the skies in a Spitfire. He helped destroy German fighter units, and concoct a plan to deploy five squadrons in a wing formation to attack German bombers. The “big wing” strategy was put into place and resulted in Hitler switching to night time raids and effectively abandoning plans to invasion that year.
“The Battle of Britain had been won,” said an English Heritage spokesman.
By August 1941 Sir Douglas had shot down 23 enemy aircraft making him the fifth most deadly fighter pilot in the RAF. Sir Douglas’s hopes to climb higher up the military ladder were dashed when he collided with a German fighter plane in northern France. He was forced to bail out and left one of his prosthetic legs in the cockpit.
He was captured by the Germans and taken to a prisoner of war camp in St Omer, France, where he persuaded his captors to let the British fly him over a new artificial leg.
With it he managed to escape but was recaptured and sent to another camp in Colditz, Germany. He remained as a prisoner until the camp was liberated in 1945.
His honours for wartime service included the Distinguished Service Order and bar and the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar. He was also asked to lead the first Battle of Britain fly-past in September 1945, a formation of 300 aircraft.
A film of his life Reach of the Sky was made in 1956.
BOROUGH: Kensington and Chelsea.