416th Bomb Group, 668th Bomb Squadron, 9th Air Force, A-20, Aerodrome, avoc, Beauvais-Tille, Blair Bradford, Bomb Missions, Clarence Gray, Havoc, Idaho, ilot, KIA, Montdidier Airdrome, Pilot, Pingree, Pomona, POW, Salt Lake City, Spanish Fork, Vern McIver, Wethersfield, WW2
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…
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.
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.
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.
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. http://www.416th.com/
IN MEMORY OF 1st LT. BLAIR H. BRADFORD