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1st Lt. William R. "Bill" Preddy (Signed Letter by: Bill Preddy) ~ (SOLD)

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  • Here's the 2 page letter  and the envelope that Bill wrote to his Mother on August 25, 1943 while he was stationed in the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center San Antonio, Texas. I acquired the letter from Tim Jeffery and his collection of Major George E. Preddy and his brother 1st Lt. William R. "Bill" Preddy letters that he wrote during the war. Mr. Jeffery purchased all the letters and Medals from George and Bill Preddy's sister's niece in the 1990's.
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Price:
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SKU:
510C
Weight:
8.00 LBS
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Product Description

Print Size: 11" x 14" ~ Unlimited Print Edition

1st Lt. William R. "Bill" Preddy

339th F.G./503rd F.S. ~ 8th USAAF/ETO

(2.00 victories)

William R. "Bill" Preddy was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 20, 1924. He was a son of George Earle Preddy and Clara Estes Noah Preddy. After high school, he worked at a temporary job in a shipyard, then attended Texas A&M University for a few months. He then enrolled in North Carolina State University.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on February 26, 1943, and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program. He received his basic training in Indiana Central College Training Detachment where he was promoted to Student Commander. Next, he went to San Antonio, Texas for pilot training. Soon he was classified as a pilot and went to Randolph Field for Pre-Flight School.

He was assigned to Cuero, Texas for primary flight training, and soloed on November 24, 1943. He remained at Cuero until February 20, 1944 when he went to Waco, Texas for Primary Training. Here he was soon named Cadet Group Commander and moved for more training to Mission, Texas.

Preddy graduated on May 23, 1944 as part of Class 44-E. He received his wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. His next stop was Venice, Florida where he received training and instruction in the P-40 fighter. After a leave at Christmas, he was assigned to the 503rd Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group and joined them in England. It was there in January 1945 that he learned his older brother Major George E. Preddy, Jr, a leading ace, had been shot down and killed on December 25, 1944.

On March 2, 1945, on his 7th mission, Lt. Preddy was introduced to aerial combat. While escorting a bomber stream, his unit jumped a number of German fighters. According to his encounter report, he shot down a FW-190 and severely damaged a BF-109. Believing the BF-109 had crashed, he filed claiming 2 victories. After review, he was awarded 1 aerial victory and 1 probable.

On April 17, 1945, he was making strafing runs on airfields at Klatovy and Eisendorf in Czechoslovakia. He and his wingman came under intense ground fire and both were shot down. Preddy crash landed and was rescued by a Czech citizen. Although Preddy was critically wounded, the Germans only gave him rudimentary first aid treatment, and refused to transport him to the nearby hospital. The Czech citizen moved him to the hospital, but Preddy died the next day.

Lt. William R. Preddy was assigned P-51D #44-11623 nicknamed "Rusty." He had been assigned to this aircraft which had previously been assigned to Captain Lloyd J. French, and kept the name. He was flying this aircraft when killed in action on April 17, 1945.  MACR 13938 applies.

He was buried in a local cemetery, but later moved to the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial located in the Lorraine region. He lies in Plot A, Row 21, Grave 42 - next to his brother.

Previously, an accident/incident report had been filed concerning Lt. Preddy. Evidently, being new to the unit and to P-51s, while on a training flight on March 24, 1945, Lt. Preddy crash landed a P-51D #44-14890 nicknamed "Whoa! to Joe's Woes" assigned to Captain Joseph G. Farrell. No details are given in the report, just that the incident occurred.

1st Lt. William Rhodes Preddy was awarded the following:
World War II Victory Medal
Air Medal
Purple Heart
United States Aviator Badge Army
American Campaign Medal
Army Presidential Unit Citation
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign


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