Current Location: Private Collector
The Fighter Group, better known as The Blue Nose Bastards of Bodney, was one of the most colourful and famous of the 8th Air Force. Based on Bodney, Norfolk, England in 1944, it had some of the best nose art of any air force during WWII. This Mustang perhaps is the most famous of all P-51s ever. This one in particular was flown by one of the highest scoring American fighter aces, Maj. George Preddy. Many readers will be familiar with the superb long-range escort and fighter capabilities of the P-51, little wonder it was the favourite aircraft of USAAF aces including Preddy. Three Mustangs carried variations of the "CRIPES A' MIGHTY" name, reportedly his favourite saying when playing the dice game of "Craps" and drinking with other servicemen. This plane was the last one he used.
Unfortunately Preddy did not survive the war. Ironically he was killed in action on Christmas Day 1944, not at the hands of an enemy pilot but as a result of friendly ground-fire. On that fateful day Preddy had shot down 2 German fighters and was pursuing another at low-level. He was credited with 26.83 air-to-air kills ranking him as the top P-51 Mustang ace of WWII and sixth on the list of all-time highest scoring American aces. He is also credited with 5 air-to-ground enemy kills.
Above photo: Upon taking command of the 328th Fighter Squadron in the fall of 1944 Major George E. Preddy was assigned this aircraft. He scored the remainder of his victories in "Cripes A' Mighty" and was flying this Mustang when he was fatally wounded on December 25th, 1944.