Difference between revisions of "Bradshaw, Fred 1998-06-18"

From SWC Oral History Collection
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(One intermediate revision by the same user not shown)
Line 618: Line 618:
[[Category: Needs Review ]]
[[Category: Needs Review ]] [[Category: SWC Interviews]] [[Category: 1990s]] [[Category: World War II]] [[Category: Great Depression]] [[Category: Agriculture]] [[Category: World War II Veteran Interviews]]

Latest revision as of 14:43, 14 June 2019

Fred Bradshaw, a lifelong resident and farmer in Lorenzo, Texas and the South Plains, reminisces about growing up in the Depression, serving in World War II as a bomber pilot in North Africa, and his career in agriculture.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Fred Bradshaw

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: June 18, 1998

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Allison

Length: 5 hours


Tape 1, Side 1: Bradshaw, Fred, background, b. Childress, Texas (December 24, 1915), Moved to Lorenzo, Texas, farm 1928, School in Lorenzo, Graduated, 1935, Played basketball, Almost won state championship, Farmed with older brother, Bought Case tractor and Chevrolet auto with profits from farming, 1937, Had enough left over to go to Texas Tech, Texas Tech student, Worked in ASCS office one summer, Worked odd jobs, $0.25/hour, Student assistant for Professors Mallory and Strickland, Graduated, August, 1941, Joined Army Air Forces, 15 from Texas Tech and 3 from West Texas State, College joined at same time, Eldon Davis joined, Agriculture teacher in Earth, Texas, after war, Sons, Anecdote: Driving car, First duty station, Hemet, California, Near Riverside, California, Air Force not ready for them, Wore civilian clothes at first, Air Force pilot training, Ground training, Flew 1/2 day, Experience with foul mouthed, harsh instructor pilot, Had been a barnstormer pilot, Mr. Shuman, Flew PT-13s (Stearmans), Taking check ride, Soloing, New instructor - kind, Attrition, Class 42-C, had shortest training period of any class, "Wash-outs" mostly in primary, Flying behind the mountain, Good friend Robin Burns, Good pilot and athlete, Flying together, Doing a double show roll, Father was a catcher with Baltimore Orioles, Athletic abilities, Drinking on Saturday night, Belligerence, Putting him to bed, Graduated from Advance flying, March, 1943, Phoenix, Arizona, Sent to Eslen Field to fly B-25s, Angry as had trained to fly fighters, Confrontation with Colonel Goodrich, Flying service tests on B-25s, Description of tests, When returned friends had been transferred to fighters, Robin Burns flying P-40s in North Africa, Buzzing fields in North Africa, North Africa, air bases, Green and red lights for runway markers, Ishmalia, Egypt

Tape 1, Side 2: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), North African bases (continued), Friend Robin Burns buzzing field (again), Shooting down 7 ME-109s, German fighters, German fighters, Flying while wounded, Germans had air superiority, Description of squadrons and groups, British aircraft, Blenheims, B-52s led missions of pattern bombing, Close call with German fighter, Avoiding a collision, Hit another B-25, Battle damage, 18 missions in support of British 8th, Army at El Alamein, German fire with 20 millimeter weapons, 200 holes in plane, No crewmen ever wounded, Near misses, Aircraft nose art, Assigned aircraft, U. S. training bases, Hemet, California (again), Basic flight instruction at Taft, California, Advanced flight instruction at Phoenix, Arizona (again), To Esler Field, Alexandria, Louisiana, Assigned own crew, Completed training, late July, 1942, To Kansas city, Missouri, to pick up new B-25 at North American Aviation Corp, Major gives envelope with orders, Not to open until 10,000 feet, Major asks for "buzz job", Buzzing field and main street of Kansas City, Describes, Attempts to bring him to justice, Encouraged to low level flying , Accused of hitting chicken coop, Flying low over Mississippi River, Buzzing a barge, Hedge hopping in Missouri, Knocked out telephone system in Telephone, Texas, Little time for entertainment, Playing sports, Most popular to play poker, Threw money away, Officers worse than enlisted, Flight Officer Beard, Addiction to 'crap shooting', Married when returned from Africa, Flew from Florida to Trinidad to Berlin then to Natal, Brazil, Flight from Natal to Ascension Island, 2200 miles, Primitive navigation gear, Taking off last, into fog and weather, Lost radio and navigation equipment, Impossibility of finding Ascension Island, Resorting to prayer, Calculating drift from waves, Searching for cloud forming over island, Commitment to God, Spotting island

Tape 2, Side 1: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Flight to Ascension Island (continued), First aircraft to land, Lord's purpose for him, Leadership position in combat, Flew 56 missions without casualties, Led most combat formations, 96 aircraft in 1 flight, Aircraft often hit but always returned, At peace in combat, North African combat, Flight Officer Phelps and Major Armstrong, Fear of combat, Description of Phelps' phobia, Bradshaw flying with him, Counseling, Overcoming fears, Night missions, extremely hazardous, Commanding Officer, Colonel Goodrich shot down, Air Vice Marshall, Conningham investigation of losses, Goodrich shot down on first mission, Flew B-25C mostly, Color, Typical missions, Attacks on airfields and seaports, 18 missions flown in support of British 8th Army, Pattern bombing, Army advances, 12th Bomb Group, Arrived, august, 1942, First to do pattern bombing, Dropping bombs in formation, Anti-personnel bombs, Dropped within 200 yards of British, Conningham's praise, Flying to Red Sea for torpedo drops, Met American Sutton flying with Royal Air Force, Flew 'Wimpy' airplane, Transferring to US air force, Planning and control of support mission, El Alamein, Signals between air and ground, Number of bombers in formation, Flew with Australian and New Zealand planes , Germans retreat, Living conditions, LG-8 airfield in desert, Tents, Ishmalia, Egypt nicer base, Flight to Heliopolis airfield, Cairo, Egypt, Questioned by Colonel, Backus, Promotion to Operations Officer, Scheduling, Controlled squadron flying, Promoted to captain, Night mission to attack gasoline dump at seaport, Caught in searchlights

Tape 2, Side 2: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), North African combat (continued), Night bombing (continued), Searchlights (continued), Evasion attempts, Disorientation, Unreliable instruments, Example of another pilot in searchlights, Told crew to bail out, 'Dangerous Dan' Mitchell, Lost navigator when he bailed out, Collision between B-25s, Cut tail off aircraft, Pilot named Witt, 'Feathered' engines before it hit the ground, Accidents, Collision on landing, Rear of aircraft cut off, Pilot Grusor landed with bomb, Blew off wing and killed everyone except pilot, Mine blew up on take off, Landing at Sicily, first time, German fighters landed too, 1 surrendered, British truck hit mine,

Sutton killed in India,

Perspective on war, 60% lost on night missions, Glow from exhaust rings target aircraft, Altering aircraft, Mission to Palermo, Italy, Sky lit up, Almost hit by bombs from another bomber, Flying formation on a British plane, unannounced, Fire from Panzer division, No communication with ground troops, Return to U. S., Wished to get married, Duty in Florida, as Air Inspector of Third Air Force, Territory, Florida to North Dakota, Wished to fly F-80s, 52 bases in Third Air Force, Duties described, Inspected flying operations, Colonel who refused to accept inspection report, Demanded changes, Pulled rank, Called General Larsen, Made him accept it, Most bases in good condition, 'Colored' troops low morale, Engineer battalions, Caused by northern blacks with southern blacks, White officer threatened to shoot black soldier, Common complaints, 'sore feet'

Tape 3, Side 1: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Air inspector duty (continued), Black troops morale (continued), Little complaints about discrimination, Special section on base for blacks, 3rd Air Force geographical boundaries (again), Married, December 1943, Little time off, Wife, Arlene, and mother rode to Florida from California by train, Apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida, Citizens of St. Petersburg, Northern visitors, Policeman's warning, Few natives, Civil/military relations--good, Living conditions, Hurricane, Flew General Larsen's plane to Lubbock to escape hurricane, Remained in Tampa, Florida, through war, Regrets about leaving service, Disliked moves, General Larsen's attempts to keep him from getting out, North African close calls, Booby trapped staff car, Booby trapped peach tree, Booby trapped captured German fighter, Killed Colonel Hall, Arlene Bradshaw, background, Family approved of Fred, Never heard of Lubbock before, From Beverly Hills, California, Father, tuned pianos for celebrities, Anecdotes about Agnes Morehead and Frank Sinatra, Lived on farm in Heckville, Texas, after war, Anecdote about milking cow, Impressions of West Texas an Lubbock, Agreed to try it for a year, Moved off the farm in Lubbock, 1978, Good crop in 1973, best ever, Bought lot from George Rush, Bradshaw, Fred (again), Anecdote about 'Pappy' Coleman, squadron Intelligence Officer, Wished to go on mission, Buzzing car in North Africa, Flying on raid, Lying on the floor

Tape 3, Side 2: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Bailing out of B-25, Blew tire on take off, Lost hydraulic pressure, Ordered to bail out, Throwing English soldier out, Sensations of bailing out, Dragged by wind after landing, Air Vice Marshall Coningham, told them of forthcoming battle, El Alamein, Ground shook, Close air support, Not trained for this, Flying B-29 on instruments, Shutting off engines, Night missions in North Africa (again), Losses, German night fighters, Never saw them, Stressful on crews, Long missions, Evasion tactics, Climbing and diving, German fighters near U. S. airfields, B-24 shot down on landing approach, German air superiority (again), Perspective on near defeat of England, U. S. advantages, Production, Superior aircraft, Respect for Germans, General Rommel, Seriousness of Battle of El Alamein, Advantages of being from West Texas for desert warfare, LG-88 airfield, Sandstorm, Landing in the blind, Landing lights on runway, New pilots had a hard time locating, Desert navigation, Temperatures, Swimming in the Mediterranean, Saved crew work, Spotting whales, Visit to Jerusalem

Tape 4, Side 1: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Visit to Jerusalem (continued), Saw old Cadet Captain Miller ('Buck Tooth'), Passed him in promotions, Open markets, Skinned camel heads, Mule grinding grain, Garden of Gesthemane, Olive trees, Humbling experience, Background, b. Childress, TX, 12-24-15 (again), Moved to Lorenzo so father could farm with uncle, Moved by train, Collie dog, Characterization, Lorenzo schools, Walking 5 miles to school, Brothers, Graduated from high school, Never attended school before, Christmas, Worked on farm, Cotton production, Half and Half cotton, Himself and 2 brother pulled, 2 bales of cotton per day, Pulling cotton techniques, 'Slight of hand', Inherited skill from mother, Pulled 2 rows at a time, Studied at night, Took exam to be admitted into grade level, 1935 basketball team, Lost to Lamesa, Texas, in regional championship, Ralls, Texas, tough competition, Arthur boys, (J. R. and Ben) over 6 feet tall, No gymnasium in Lorenzo, Practiced in old house, Played year round, Lorenzo football team disbanded, Beaten 108-0 by Spur which had a girl on the team, Dad's farm, Size, Rented land with uncle, Horses and 2 row equipment, Crops, Cotton and grain, Hi-gear grain, Stacking bundles, Technique and description of stack, Livestock, Cattle and pigs, Sugar curing pork, Description, House described, Outhouse, Memories of 1920s and 30s, First radio, battery operated, Win-charger, Electric lights, Windmill for water, Water cooler for dairy products, Trough from windmill, Earthen tank held livestock water, Garden and canning, Process of canning, Cellar pantry, Canning beef described, Livestock slaughtering always in fall or winter

Tape 4, Side 2: Bradshaw, Fred, Memories of 1920s and 30s (continued), Mother's bread and cooking, Family chores, Started at 4:00 a.m., Breakfast, Buying molasses from itinerant, Eggs, Brothers, Physical exercise and hard work, Going into town on Saturdays, Father allowed him to go after 1000 pounds of cotton, First rifle for picking cotton, Picking cotton techniques (again), Picked 300 pounds for rifle, Hunting wit uncle, Shot, cooked, and ate rabbit, Mother taught him to shoot, Hunting rabbits, Hunting on ranch with friend, Four flats in Model A, Going to town (Lorenzo), Entertainment, Party every Saturday night, Ice cream, Beatty family, 'Ring' games, Drop-the-handkerchief, Parental opposition to dancing, Associated with alcohol and drinkers, Example of classmate who got in fights, Lorenzo described, Picture theater, Prices, Rodeos, Breaking horses, Uncle's interest, Riding bulls, First Monday rodeo in Idalou, Contest for riding bulls, horses and mules, Riding bull, Anecdote about mule riding friend, Depression experiences, Self-sufficient farms

Tape 5, Side 1: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Depression experiences (continued), 1934, no crop from drought, Looking for work in wheat harvest, White Deer, Texas, Hitchhiking with friend, Sneaking ride on truck, Slept in boxcar, 200-300 men in town looking for work, Driving tractor and combine, 1530 Farmall, Unfamiliarity, Pulling combine, Shoveling grain, Dirty, hot job, Eating lunch, first meal in 2 days, Back to driving tractor, Learning how to operate, Feeding hogs with Mr. Collins, Saturday night to Pampa, Texas, Like Las Vegas, Open all night, Worked 6 weeks for Mr. Collins, $3 per day, Bought pair of pants, Gave money to parents who paid for staples rest of year, Popularity of mother's butter, Looking for work in Greenville, Texas, Riding train through Ft. Worth, Returning home, Avoiding railroad 'bulls' in Baird, Texas, Hid in concrete mixer, Attended Baptist Church every Sunday, Camp meetings, Revivals and singings, Church attendance, Recreation, Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Fullingam, Son, Peyton Fullingam, became minister, Services different from today, Few frills, Old hymns, Preached longer, Few seminary trained preachers, Pianos used more, Opposition to dancing (again), Widespread because of association with alcohol, Dances in private homes, Father and uncle played for dances

Tape 5, Side 2: Bradshaw, Fred (continued), Depression and boyhood memories (continued), Segregation, Drinking fountains, train waiting rooms, schools, buses, Few blacks in Lorenzo, Black family that worked for Dad, Brother and 'colored boy' playmate, Black girl 'Soapy' that cooked for family, Joe Jenkins and hired black man (Joe Willie), Forced him to remove hat, Threatened with gun, Rule regarding blacks, Lubbock, Texas, Theaters, Brick streets, 34th Street still a farm, Broadway and Main, Only about 1/2 dozen paved streets, Texas Tech University, Fourth of July, Fireworks, Scaring man, Interest in flying, Flying with a barnstormer in Crosbyton, Texas, Joining Air Corps (again), Returning to Lubbock after the war, Price of land differential, 1930s - $40/acre, 1946 - $225/acre, Early irrigation wells, Water wells, Bottom of water, Red bed, Depth of water on his farm, Deepest in region, Modern cotton strippers, Burr extractors, Watermelon, best in Texas, Anecdote about son-in-law George, Affects of weather, Watering, Perspectives on farming, 1998 drought, Problems for farmers, Need for late rain, Farms in Ropesville, Texas, Poor condition, Condition of cotton, Growing organic cotton, Chicken manure, Demise of government farm programs, Getting rid of the farmers, Need for supply and demand balance, Government's fault, Loss of textile mills to foreign nations, Technology exported, Cotton imports, Can't compete with foreign cheap labor, Threat to farming, Boll weevil, Government should protect farmers and American manufacturers, Protecting markets

Range Dates: 1915-1998

Bulk Dates: 1940s

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


Thank you for your interest in this oral history interview. Our oral history collection is available to patrons in the Southwest Collection's Reading Room, located on the campus of Texas Tech University. For reading room hours, visit our website. Please contact Reference Staff at least one week prior to your visit to ensure the oral history you are interested in will be available. Due to copyright issues, duplications of our oral histories can only be made for family members. If an oral history transcript has been made available online, the link will be provided on this page. More information on accessing our oral histories is located here. Preferred citation style can be found here.