Survivors
N151BW - Cripes A' Mighty
P-51D-30-NA 44-74813 N151BW Cripes A' Mighty
Type
Serial number
Construction n°
Registry
Paint Scheme


Owner
Based at
P-51D-30-NA
44-74813
122-41353
N151BW
Cripes A' Mighty
George E. Preddy
352nd Fighter Group
328th Fighter Squadron
Thomas Ungurean
Coshocton
Ohio, United States
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Airframe history

During WWII, Canada had 5 squadrons equipped with Mustangs: Nrs. 400, 414 & 430 flew Mustang Mk. Is and Nrs. 441 & 442 flew the Mk. III and IVas.

After the war, an additional 130 P-51D model Mustangs were purchased from the US. The first 32 aircraft were delivered in June of 1947. Two more followed in July, 5 in October of 1950, 25 in November of 1950 and another 25 in December of 1950. The rest, 43 aircraft, followed during the first 3 months of 1951.
Serial numbers were allocated in two blocks: 9221 to and including 9300 and 9551 to and including 9600.

They served in 2 regular fighter squadrons and 6 auxiliary fighter squadrons:

400 (Auxiliary)
401 (Auxiliary)
402 (Auxiliary)
403 (Auxiliary)
411 (Auxiliary)
416 (Regular)
420 (Auxiliary)
421 (Regular)
424 (Auxiliary)
438 (Auxiliary)
442 (Auxiliary)
443 (Auxiliary)
"City of Toronto"
"City of Westmount"
"City of Winnipeg"
"City of Calgary"
"County of York"
"Lynx"
"City of London"
"Red Indian"
"City of Hamilton"
"City of Montreal "
"City of Vancouver"
"City of New Westminster"
Toronto, Ontario
St. Hubert, Montréal
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Calgary, Alberta
Toronto, Ontario
Uplands, Ontario
London, Ontario
Bagotville, Montréal
Hamilton, Ontario
St. Hubert, Montréal
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

One of those Mustangs was P-51D-30-NA (Mk. IV in Canadian service) 44-74813, which was sold to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on January 10th , 1951, where it served at RCAF Station Chatham as 9261. Since jets entered service in the RCAF in 1949 and the F-86 Sabre was introduced at Chatham later that year, it is presumed the P-51 was used for training duties. In 1955, the RCAF began to reorganize its Auxiliary units, and late in 1956 started to phase out the first of its Mustangs, the last being struck off on November 1st , 1960. Very few Mustangs were kept active during the reorganization and most aircraft were quickly put into storage.

44-74813 was officially taken out of service on August 17th , 1959, but was already sold to James H. DeFuria and Fred J. Ritts of Intercontinental Airways, Canastota, New York on July 21st , 1958. It was registered as N6301T.

It was reported crashed at Canastota on July 27th , 1960.

It was then passed onto several private owners:

  • Aero Enterprises, Elkhart, IN on August 3 th , 1960
  • DC Mullery, Chicago, Illinois from November 1962 through 1966
  • Richard Burns from September 28th , 1966 through 1987, where it collided with another aircraft during takeoff at Oshkosh on July 29th .
  • Jack D. Rodgers, Rockford, Illinois in 1987
  • Richard D. Burns, Hinsdale, Illinois in 1990

In 1993, the Mustang again passed to Jack D. Rodgers, and flew with the Air Classics Aircraft Museum, Chicago-Du Page, Illinois from June 1993 through 1996 as 4-14906 “Cripes A' Mighty IV”.

In October of 1996, the Mustang was acquired by Ken Wagnon, Wichita, Kansas and was registered as N251KW.

Ken moved the Mustang to Danville, Illinois for restoration by Midwest Aero Restorations.

In March of 2001, the aircraft was re-registered as N151KW and took to the air again after a superb restoration job by Midwest Aero Restoration on April 18th , 2001. It flew with the markings 44-14906 PE-P “Cripes A' Mighty” as flown by Major George E. Preddy.

Below you can find some images taken during the restoration, courtesy of Midwest Aero Restoration:

It promptly won Grand Champion Warbird WWII at EEA Oshkosh in 2002.

It was last sold in 2007 to Bill Wiemann, Alpine, Wyoming and re-registered N151BW.

In 2009 it was re-sold again, this time to Thomas Ungurean of Coshocton, Ohio.

Date Registry Owner

1945
1951
1958

1960

1962
1966
1987

1990
1993

1996

2001

2002
2007
2009

44-74813
9261
N6301T










N251KW

KW51LLC

N151BW

Produced by NAA at Inglewood, CA
Sold to RCAF on January 10th
Sold to James H. Defuria & Fred J. Ritts (Intercontinental Airways), Canastota, New York on July 21st
Reported crashed, Canastota, New York, June 27th
Aero Enterprises, Elkhart, Indiana on August 30th
DC Mullery, Chicago, Illinois from November
Richard Burns from September 28 th
Collided with another aircraft during takeoff at Oshkosh on July 29th
Jack D. Rodgers, Rockford, Illinois
Richard D. Burns, Hinsdale, Illinois in 1990
Jack D. Rodgers, Air Classics Aircraft Museum, Chicago-DuPage, June as 44-14906/Cripes A Might IV
Ken Wagnon, Wichita, Kansas
Moved to Danville, Illinois for restoration by Midwest Aero Restorations
Flew again on April 18 th with the markings 44-14906 “PE-P “Cripes A' Mighty”
Won Grand Champion Warbird WWII at EEA Oshkosh
Sold to Bill Wiemann, Alpine, Wyoming
Sold to Thomas Ungurean, Coshocton, Ohio

Paintscheme information

N151BW wears the paintscheme of Major George E. Preddy's last personal mount, 44-14906 PE-P "Cripes a Mighty". This was George's last P-51D Mustang which he flew after he returned to the ETO in October of 1944. He flew this Mustang until his death on Christmas Day of 1944.

The name

George Preddy named all of his P-51 Mustangs "Cripes A' Mighty", an expression often used by George during a game of craps.

The pilot

George Earl Preddy, Jr., was born and raised in the small town of Greensboro, North Carolina. He graduated just 5 days after the Pearl Harbor attack and joined the 49th Pursuit Group after a short leave. Stationed at Darwin, Australia, George first flew the P-40 and participated in the defense against the Japanese. George named his P-40 Tarheel, after the state he grew up in.

In October 1942, Preddy arrived at Hamilton Field, California, looking for an assignment, but it wasn't until December 1942, when he was assigned to Mitchel Field, NY, that he became a member of the 487th FS, 352 FG. It was there where he would excel, especially when he started flying the P-51 Mustang.

When he joined up for his second tour, he became group CO of the 352nd Fighter Group, 328th Fighter Squadron. At the time, this squadron had the lowest score of enemy aircraft destroyed in the group. It would not take George Preddy long to change this.

His first victory in this new Mustang came on November 2nd, when he shot down an Me-109. In total, he shot down a further 4 enemy aircraft in the two months he flew "Cripes A' Mighty".

Preddy became the P-51 Mustang top ace, scoring 25 and 4 shared kills whilst flying the P-51.

You can read more about George E. Preddy here.

Name
Rank
Unit
Date
Credits
Preddy, Jr. George E. Captain 487th FS 12-01-1943 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Captain 487th FS 12-22-1943 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Captain 487th FS 01-29-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 04-22-1944 0.33
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 05-13-1944 2
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 05-30-1944 2.5
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 06-12-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 06-20-1944 1.5
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 06-21-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 07-18-1944 3
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 07-21-1944 0.5
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 07-29-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 08-05-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 487th FS 08-06-1944 6
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 328th FS 11-02-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 328th FS 11-21-1944 1
Preddy, Jr. George E. Major 328th FS 12-25-1944 2
      Total credits 26.83

The paint scheme

The 352nd FG was assigned to the 8th AF on July 6th , 1943, and was stationed at Bodney in Norfolk, UK. They converted to the P-51 Mustang at the end of March, 1944. It was at that time that all units in the 8th AF were assigned different Group colours.

The 352nd FG applied a bright sky blue shade to the noses of their P-51s, which were B- and C-models at that time and which were all delivered in the two-colour camouflage paint scheme of Olive Drab and Neutral Grey. However, the light blue coloured spinner and 12-inch wide nose band provided insufficient contrast with the camouflage finish, so the blue paintwork was extended back to a point approximately halfway below the exhaust stacks and then swept up and back to the windshield.

The following month, the 328th and 487th FS began receiving their replacement Mustangs, all in a natural metal finish.

For a very brief period the 352nd FG attempted to identify its new aircraft by replacing the white QIM cowlings with a substitute application of a medium blue paint. This particular procedure was quickly abandoned when it was determined that there was insufficient contrast between either finish to be functional as a group marker.

In May of 1944 the 352nd FG selected an RAF Azure Blue shade of paint to replace the original Medium Blue Group colour. The distinct blue colour earned them the name “Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney”.

On June 3rd , SHAEF issued an order for the application of the infamous D-Day stripes (aka Invasion Stripes). With the hastily application of the stripes on all operational aircraft, the second unit code letter was almost completely over painted, as was the unit call letter. The 328th FS and 487th FS elected to relocate the call letter to the tail fin, while the 486th FS chose to reposition it just above the wing root and slightly back from the exhaust cut-out. This was short lived however and by late June the 486th FS also repositioned the letter to the tail fin.

In October of 1944, the 8th AF issued an order for additional squadron identification by means of coloured rudders. The 328th FS (unit code “PE”) was assigned Insignia Red as a rudder colour, the 486th FS (unit code “PZ”) wore Identification Yellow and the 487th FS (unit code “HO”) adopted the same shade of blue as that used for the Group nose marker for their rudders.

As the war progressed some unit markings and colours changed slightly, some to offer better visibilty, others for a more esthetic reason. Starting in the summer of 1944, the 352nd applied a slightly darker shade of blue as they started receiving bare metal finished P-51Ds. The shade used was probably British Deep Sky Blue, which was similar to Insignia Blue.

George's last P-51D was an all natural metal airframe and had the standard blue nose marking of the 352nd FG. The squadron, code and serial letters were black and the 328th rudder colour was Insignia Red. The pilot's name on the canopy frame was yellow in old English style on a red background.
The name "Cripes A' Mighty" was white with small concentric yellow letters inside. The letters were outlined in black.

Art Snyder, George's crew chief with the 328th, used to cut hair on the side. To advertise this, he painted a barber pole on the right side of the cowling which had red and white stripes with a red ball on top.


© Nick King

The 31 swastikas below the canopy were black, as were the stripes under the fuselage. A black identification band was on bottom of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer.

The P-51 had two mirrors above the windscreen, which were also painted black. The antenna had red and white stripes and all trim tabs were also painted with white and red diagonal stripes.
The gun covers on the leading edge of the wings were with red teardrop design, covering each gun barrel. The main landing gear doors had small, red half circles applied to the lower edge.

There were also 6 white diagonal hash marks slightly below the exhaust stacks on each side of the nacelle.

By late July 1944 the D-Day stripes were being removed from many Allied aircraft, however some stripes were retained and continued to be worn as ETO recognition bands in late 1944/early 1945. "CRIPES A'MIGHTY" wore two black recognition stripes on the lower fuselage. The single black stripes on the upper and lower stabilizers were added when the unit moved to Belgium in December 1944

On August 1st, 1944 amendment 3 (to operational memorandum 23) ordered all wing stripes removed from August 25th onwards. Fuselage stripes were to remain intact. Many units removed the upper fuselage stripes at this time in a "liberal" interpretation of the order.

With the introduction of D-Day Invasion Stripes, the 328th and 487th FS relocated their aircraft call letters to the tail fin. By late June the 486th had conformed to its sister squadrons and relegated their wayward call-letter on the tail fin as well.

The aircraft displays a total of 33 kill markings on the port side of the fuselage, underneath the canopy.

For more information on the following general P-51 markings, please click their appropriate links:
D-Day markings
US National Insignia markings
General P-51 markings

If we were to put a timeframe on N151BW we could assume that it was situated in early December of 1944, given certain parameters:

  • The 33 kill markings indicate George's almost complete tally of kills
  • N151BW wears the D-Day half stripes. The D-Day stripes were ordered to be removed completely on December 6th, 1944

 

Pictures of N151BW Cripes A' Mighty

       

 

Walkaround pictures of N151BW Cripes A' Mighty

 

Contributor pictures of N151BW Cripes A' Mighty

   

Contributor image copyright (left to right, top to bottom):

1, 2
3 - 5
6, 7
8
9, 10, 14, 15
11
12, 13
16
17
18

© Kid Deuce
© Joe Stremph
© Grant Brummett
© Sun Valley Aviation
© James P. Church
© Dana Yeager
© Please contact us if you are the copyright holder of this photograph
© Joe Stremph
© David Lednicer
© Alex Christie

Pictures of the original "Cripes A' Mighty"

     
© 352nd FG Association Archive)

If you have any high-quality photographs of N151BW you would like to share on this website, please contact us.

Usefull links

352nd Fighter Group Association
George Preddy Memorial Foundation

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