Lookin Thru Bifocals: Don Locke
The bicycle, a weapon of war?
On the island off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, in the Indonesian Chain, lies Singapore, a member of the Britain Commonwealth.
In the late 1940s, the Brits occupied it; the Japanese wanted it, because of the miles of dense jungle to the north, the Brits felt safe; they had a large contingent of army troops there, the clod in the churn was that they felt so safe. They had, “beaten their spenns” into golf clubs, and tennis rackets, they were “asleep in zion,” the British brass were content to bask in the sun and sip their Cutty Sark, and let the world go by – Little did they know the “little men from Islands,” the wearing wrapped leggings; carrying big rifles, the Japanese were coming to get ‘em.
How? Riding bicycles… down each side of the Peninsula, where the jungle was less dense, the British brass had no choice but to throw down their (stacked) weapons and surrender…. “at dawn we slept.”
They had been “got.”
In the infamous Battle of Britain, the British air force against the German Nazi Luftwaffe in the late 1940s, in World War Two, the Brits were low on fighter planes and pilots to fly them.
After a pilot learned to fly the airplane, he then must learn how to fly in formation with other airplanes. The British could not afford to release fighter planes to teach pilots formation flying. So, they used bicycles in basic formations positions: V-formations, four-finger formation; line-a-beat, diamond formations, and two-plane, right and left eshucacx (SP) positions: wingman slightly back and lower than lead man.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of the Battle of Britain, “There were so many who owed so much to so few.”
One of the “few” was the Canadian fighter pilot – the legless, Douglas Bader. Doug flew with artificial legs. On one mission Doug was forced to bail out. In the process he lost one of his “legs.” The Germans allowed a British pilot to drop by parachute, a new artificial leg, to Doug Baden in a Pow camps compound.
Doug survived the war, went back to Canada and marries his sweetheart.