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I found this portrait photo at a local gun show, and it struck me. I immediately noticed he is a pilot with an actors good looks, and then I flipped over the photo, which was in a plastic holder and this was on the back…

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Once I saw this I knew I had to buy this photo and research had to be done! Luckily it wasn’t very difficult to find some information on him with some resources available.  Before enlisting in the US Army Air Corps in March 1941, Blair had lived in 3 states, Idaho, Utah and then California. It seems he moved around before settling in Los Angeles. I wonder if he “going to Hollywood” to become an actor, because he sure looks like one. Blair went into the Air Corps as a 2nd Lt.,  and then became a 1st Lt., and a pilot with the 9th Army Air Corps, 416th Bomb Group, 668th Bomb Squadron.

Utah, Military Records, 1861-1970 for Blair H Bradford

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668th Bomb Squadron Insignia

The 416th Bomb Group was stationed at Wethersfield Air Base in England (AAF-170). They were flying A-20 Havocs, which Lt. Bradford was piloting.   

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                             Wethersfield Air Base


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            668th Bomb Squadron parking area at Wethersfield

                       On May 20, 1944, the order was given for Mission 50, to Beauvais-Tille Aerodrome in France.  38 total bombers were dispatched on this mission– 32  A-20 G’s and 6  A-20 J’s.  Lt. Bradford took off for flight at 1010 hours.  They wound up attacking the wrong target, they hit Montdidier Airdrome, but hit it well. The document below is the mission loading list for MISSION #50 – May 20, 1944.   

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        Mission #50 Order – 5/20/44 – Flight III – #5 – Lt. Bradford


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                                  668th BS in flight

Mission # 50 for Lt. Blair H. Bradford would be his last… His plane was hit by heavy flak, which killed him. He never bailed from his plane, but his gunners Srgts. Vern E. McIver and Clarence Gray did and were captured by German forces on the ground and became POWs.  Lt. Bradford went down with his plane and it seems as though his body was never recovered from the wreck, but in June 1949 a military headstone was applied for by his brother Frank Bradford, who lived in Pingree, Idaho.

U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 for Blair H Bradford

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Lt. Bradford – Front Row on left at Wethersfield

Through researching Lt. Bradford, I came across a post by his nephew on a message board inquiring about him. If you see this article, please contact me! I also found some awesome information on the website for the 416th Bomb Group –  http://www.416th.com/ 

IN MEMORY OF 1st LT.  BLAIR H. BRADFORD

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