Search sends WWII cap home
Local Mulwala resident Yvonne Nicholson tells the story of how her father in law came in to possession of a WWII USA Flying Ace’s cap and how after half a century and a lot of internet searching, the cap is now being returned to the rightful owner’s family in the USA.
In Darwin in 1942, Mark Nicholson, my Father in Law was operating heavy equipment used to maintain and build aerodromes in the area.
The American air force was quite heavily involved in the defence of Darwin and indeed Australia at that time.
On one occasion, as a US pilot was taking off, he threw his cap to Mark.
The cap came home to Mulwala with Mark at the end of his deployment there.
Moira Shire Council have voted on their meeting schedule for 2019 with Yarrawonga hosting just one meeting for the year at the Yarrawonga Town Hall on November 27.
A recommendation was put forward to council at the November Ordinary meeting to set the date, time and place of council meetings and briefings for 2019.
Eight of the eleven ordinary meetings of council will be held in Cobram at the Cobram Civic Centre with the remaining three meetings being held in Numurkah, Nathalia and Yarrawonga.
Council schedules will remain consistent with 2018 with meetings to continue to take place on the fourth week of the month and commence at 5pm during eastern standard time and 6pm during daylight savings.
Having the meeting during the fourth week of the month will allow additional time for agenda review by councillors and the community and will be available a week before the meeting.
It was passed to me since his son Les, my husband, died in 2010.
Over the years, we have wondered about the owner of the cap and/or his relatives.
Those questions have gone unanswered until very recently when Neil Nicholson, a cousin to Les, found the name Lt Preddy inside the cap and used it as a starting point on the internet.
It has brought forth a wealth of information. Lt George Preddy spent some time on leave in Melbourne and became engaged to a girl there.
On arrival in Darwin, he found there were very many bomb craters but few people as most civilians had been evacuated.
Following a crash, he was returned to America and after further training was promoted and sent to Europe where, as a Major he commanded many successful missions and was responsible for shooting down 25 enemy planes.
He was one of the US Ace pilots before being killed on Christmas Day in 1944, when his plane was brought down by friendly fire.
His brother, also a pilot, was killed a short time later and they are buried side by side in a military cemetery in France.
This news evoked a saddened response in me, Neil and our family here.
His cousin, Joe Noah, founder of The Preddy Memorial Foundation in North Carolina has let us know by email that they are very appreciative and accepting of my desire to return the cap to them.
They are really keen to see it, to have it and to place it in The North Carolina Aviation Museum or The Greensboro History Museum. The cap is now on its way to the USA. Thanks to the internet, this has been made possible.
Yvonne Nicholson with a US WWII flying ace’s cap, that had been thrown to her father in law while working alongside the American air force in Darwin in 1942 and was later found to belong to US Lt George Preddy.
Lt George Preddy’s flying ace cap.