South Colton Oral History Project Collection



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" My POW Experiences in WW II"

Dr. Tom Rivera interviews Luis Contreras and his wife Lucy. Born in 1923, Luis was 90 years old at the time of this interview. Luis was drafted into the army before completing high school. After training to be a gunner on a bomber, his unit was sent to England, which was their base for bombing runs in France and Germany. American planes drew German fire crossing the English Channel. His plane was hit over Dresden, Germany and he was injured in the parachute jump. As a POW, he suffered pain and mistreatment. In Berlin, when the Germans marched him and other prisoners to be shot, he was among those rescued by General Patton’s forces just in time. Because of severe injuries, he spent time in the hospital before coming home.

Also in this interview, Luis reminisces about his life in South Colton recalling friends, social life, racial discrimination, and the shops/stores on 7th Street. He explains how he left Colton for a time, and then returned after his first wife died. Luis has led a life filled with events and adventures – he passed away in September 2018.