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Greensboro Historical Museum Archives
MSS. Collection #32
George Preddy Papers, ca. 1941-1985. 1 box (26 folders), ca. 110 items.
Scope & Content Note
Index to the Collection
NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses throughout the inventory, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.
Although this collection centers on the life of Major George E. Preddy, Jr., there is no personal material in the collection directly relating to his early life in Greensboro. His military career is detailed in outline form only, through his "201" military files (4:1). There are also numerous loose photographs and a photo album (5:3), films, and videotapes, concerning his military career. His letters and diaries (used extensively by Joe Noah and Samuel L. Sox, Jr. in George Preddy, Top Mustang Ace) are not included with this collection.
Provenance: The items in this collection have come from a variety of sources, including a few items presented by the Preddy family (1967.180, 1970.140). Some material, such as movie film and video, has been purchased by the Museum, and some items have been gifts, especially from Sam Sox, Jr. and Joe Noah.
George Preddy, Sr. (d.1972) moved to Greensboro with his parents in 1910, living on Park Avenue. He worked for the railroad for 49 years. He first saw Clara Noah (d.1974), his future wife, while on the train passing by her home near the Battleground. The Preddy's had four children: Jonnice (d.1939), George (1919-1944), Rachel, and William (1924-1945).
George Earle Preddy, Jr. was educated at Aycock School and Greensboro High School (ca. 1935) and attended Guilford College for two years before entering the military in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force, first in Australia and finally in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) as a fighter pilot for the 352nd Fighter Group, (487th & 328th Fighter Squadrons), operating out of Bodney, England. Preddy was accidentally shot down and killed during aerial combat over Belgium, by American anti-aircraft fire, on Christmas Day, 1944. He is credited with 26.83 air-to-air victories and was the leading American ace at his death. His brother Bill, also a pilot for the Army Air Force, was sent to the ETO in late 1944 and was shot down and killed over Czechoslovakia on April 17, 1945. [The information concerning George, Sr. and Clara is taken from the oral history interview conducted by Wm. J. Moore in 1966. (1:1)] For additional information about George Preddy, see the Preddy Memorial Foundation website.
SCOPE & CONTENT NOTE
The original World War II documents in this collection include: letters from Bill Preddy to his parents, including the January 23, 1945 letter in which he consoles his parents over George's death (2:4); George's Army Air Force ID card (3:1); his "201" military file (4:1); numerous photos of George, his various airplanes, and original airplane gun camera film (Series 5); a "Home Coming" celebration broadside for George's last visit home in August, 1944 (6:1); a "Goldfish Club" card, received for ditching in the English Channel (6:2); a 1942 Readers' Digest (6:8); and a scrapbook, whose cover is made from metal from one of George's planes (7:1).
A lot of material in this collection relates to the various post-war attempts to honor the Preddy men. The Director of the Greensboro Historical Museum, William J. Moore, Jr., helped to coordinate the program for the dedication of Preddy Boulevard in Greensboro in 1968 (2:6, 6:9), and for Memorial Day celebrations in the 1980s. There are numerous letters to Moore (2:2) from friends and family. Of note are letters from Joe Noah, George's cousin, and from Red McVay, one of Preddy's airplane mechanics. The letters and reports from R. N. Alford (2:1) document his investigations of Preddy's plane crash in Australia in 1942.
1. Audio Recordings. 2 items. 1966 [Original cassette tapes: GHM Audio Tapes #3b & 4a]. Listen to a digital version of the recordings: Side 1, Side 2
This oral history interview with George E. Preddy, Sr., was conducted in 1966 by Museum Director William J. Moore, Jr. Mr. Preddy reminiscences about George and Bill, provides some background about their early lives and interests in flying. He also provides interesting information about the family visits and contacts with George and Bill during the war.
2. Correspondence. 6 folders (ca. 75 items). 1943-1987.
There are no letters from George Preddy, Jr. in this series. The only contemporary war letters are the three from his brother Bill, written to his parents. The Jan. 23, 1945 (misdated "1944") letter is charged with emotion as Bill, having just learned of his brother's death, consoles his parents in their loss.
The miscellaneous group of letters (2:2) relate to the various efforts to memorialize George and Bill Preddy, but a few from Joseph "Red" McVay, who was one of Preddy's assistant crew chief at Bodney, reflect on George Preddy's World War II service.
Other items of note in this series include the investigations (2:1) undertaken in Australia by R. N. Alford, in 1987, to document the 1942 crash sites of airplanes piloted by George Preddy and John Sauber (who died). And there is substantial documentation on the plans, and planning for, the dedication of Preddy Boulevard in Greensboro, in 1968 (2:6).
3. Legal. 1 item.
This contains George Preddy, Jr.'s U.S. Army Air Force identification card, or papers.
4. Military Files. 2 items. 1941-1945.
These are George Preddy's official military papers, commonly known as a "201" file. These are his official orders and other documents, from his first assignments in 1941 until his death in 1944.
5. Photographs. 7 folders. (ca. 42 items). 1941-1945.
This series focuses almost entirely on George Preddy, except for one portrait of his brother Bill. There are images of Preddy's various airplanes, and numerous loose images of him in flying "gear." The lone photograph album (5:3) focuses heavily (if not exclusively) on his service in Australia in 1942, and his hospital recuperation from a crash, which severely injured his leg and hip. Included are images of his future Australian fiancée, Joan Jackson. This series also includes movie film (5:2) and video tapes (5:6). The 16mm movie film consists of airplane gun camera footage (also copied on videotape, see 5:6); a can of film entitled "AAF 2154 Major George E. Preddy-Fighter Ace", which includes flying footage taken at Bodney, probably after Preddy shot down the six German planes in one day; there is also a small reel, showing Preddy on his last visit home in Aug. 1944 ). This color film includes a lighthearted view of Preddy, at home with his mother, and driving an antique car (owned by Edgar Knees, the Minister at W. Market Methodist Church). Also included is a ceremony at the Overseas Replacement Depot (ORD), probably honoring George after his death. ORD buildings and Col. Paul Younts are included in the film.
The videotapes (5:6) include a copy of the 16mm gun camera film (described above) and two versions of the biographical video "Preddy, The Mustang Ace," produced by Musten Communications of Raleigh, N.C.
6. Printed Material. 9 folders. (ca. 25 items). 1942-1987.
The most interesting items in this series are in the first folders: 1944 Home Coming celebration broadside (6:1); the "Goldfish Club" card, which made Preddy an honorary member after having to ditch his plane in the English Channel (6:2); and the two certificates "... Of Supreme Sacrifice," from the West Market Street Methodist Church, honoring the deaths of George and Bill.
7. Scrapbooks. 1 item.
This item has a metal cover, made from one of Preddy's airplanes, with a portrait photo of George Preddy on the front.
Series Folder Contents 1 1
2 1 Correspondence
-- Alford, R. N. (1987) re. Report on crash sites of Geo. Preddy & John Sauber, in Australia, July 1942.
2 " -- Miscellaneous (1967-1985)
* M. Maurer
Wm. J. Moore
Joseph W. Noah
Rachel Preddy Harris
Joseph J. "Red" McVay
3 " -- Moran, Glennon T. (1968) 4 " -- Preddy, Mr. & Mrs. (Letters to, 1964)
* Clarke, Thomas S. M.
5 " -- Preddy, William R. (1943, 1945) 6 " -- Preddy Boulevard, Greensboro (1967-68)
Legal -- Preddy, George, Jr. -- U.S. Army Air Force ID card
Military Files -- "201" File (1941-1945)
5 1 Photographs
-- Airplane -- "Cripes A'Mighty"
2 " -- Movie Film (1944, 1945) 3 " -- Photograph Album (1942- ) 4 " -- Preddy, George E., Jr. 5 " -- Preddy, William R. 6 " -- Video Tapes 7 " -- World War II
6 1 Printed
-- Broadsides -- "Home Coming Celebration Honoring Maj. George E. Preddy, Jr." (1945)
2 " -- Cards -- "Goldfish Club" (Capt. Geo. Preddy, Jan.`44) 3 " -- Certificates -- Preddy, William R. (W. Market Church,`46) 4 " -- Newspaper -- News & Observer, Raleigh (Jan. 16, 1945) 5 " -- Pamphlets -- American Battle Monuments Commission (1959, 1961) 6 " -- " -- VFW, Maj. George Preddy, Jr. Post 2087 7 "
-- Periodicals (1969, 1987)
* International Plastic Modelers Soc. Quarterly Air Classics (1987)
8 " -- Periodicals -- Readers' Digest (Dec. 1942) 9 " -- Programs -- Dedication of Preddy Boulevard (1968) 10 " -- Print: "Cripes 'A Mighty" (autographed by 8th Air Force veterans.)
Scrapbooks -- Preddy, George, Jr.
Index to the George Preddy Papers (ca. 1941-1985)
NOTE: The numbers following the name/subject entry -- e.g. 1:1 -- indicate in which Series#:Folder# (or, if no ":", Series only) that name/topic can be found.
Aircraft: World War II, 5; World War II gun camera film, 5:2
Alford, R. N.: report on Preddy crash sites in Australia, 2:1
American Battle Monuments Commission: pamphlets (1959, 1961), 6:5
Australia: photos during World War II, 5:3
Bodney, England: 352nd Fighter Squadron, 5
Clarke, Thomas S. M.: 2:4
Goldfish Club: World War II honorary member's card, 6:2
Great Britain: American Air Force during World War II, 5
Harris, Rachel Preddy: 2:2
Jackson, Joan: fiancée of George Preddy, 5:3
Maurer, Maurer: research on Preddy aircraft, 2:2
McVay, Joseph J. "Red": 2:2
Moore, William J., Jr.: 2:2
Moran, Glennon T.: 3:1
Neese, Edgar: 5:2
Noah, Clara: 1:1
Noah, Joseph W.: 2:2
O.R.D.: buildings/reviewing on 16mm film, 5:2
Preddy, George Earle, Sr.: letters to, 2:4; oral history interview (1966), 1:1
Preddy, Mrs. George E., Sr.: on family film, 5:2
Preddy, George Earle, Jr.: airplane remnants, 7:1; certificate from W. Market St. Church, 6:3; military I.D., 3:1;
photographs of, 5:3-4; scrapbook, 7:1; "201" military files, 4:1
Preddy, William R.: certificate from W. Market St. Church, 6:3; letters from (1943-45), 2:5
Preddy Boulevard, Greensboro: ceremonies, 2:6; dedication broadside, 6:9
Sauber, John: World War II crash site documented, 2:1
Veterans of Foreign War: George Preddy, Jr. Post 2087, 6:6
World War II: Greensboro celebration for Preddy (Aug. 1944), 6:1
Younts, Col. Paul: on Preddy family film, 5:2
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