Cerro Gordo County

Lt. Melvin Spencer




Lt. Spencer, Liberated 2 Months Ago, Now Home
Had Had Hard Luck Getting Back, and Was 18 Days on Boat

Second Lt. Melvin Spencer, who was liberated from Stalag Luft 1 at Barth, Germany, on May 1, after some delay in getting to the States, has arrived here for a 60-day leave. He is visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. K. W. Spencer, 1322 President N.W. His brother, Dennis, employed by the FBI at Washington, D.C., is also here for a visit.

Lt. Spencer reported that he had some hard luck getting back, being bunched up in a camp before leaving Europe, and on top of that was 18 days on board ship enroute to the States. He reached Newport News, VA., on July 1, just 2 months after he was released from the prison camp.

Spencer was captured when the crew was forced to bail out of their plane after being hit by a fighter plane. They had dived the plane from a height of 22,000 feet to a cloud layer at 500 feet and were starting back when they were hit. Two of the enlisted men were killed and 2 were injured, he reported. They were taken prisoner by the Volksturm and some civilians, then taken to an interrogation center before being sent to the camp.

Lt. Spencer often saw F/O Roy Martin of Clear Lake, who was in the same compound and barracks, but saw no other Mason Cityans, though he knew they were in the camp.

Things here seemed no different, said Spencer, though he was surprised at the seeming “plentiness” of food in the Midwest—he had heard so much about rationing and food shortage and was prepared for something different.

When Melvin arrived in the States, he had visited with his brother, Dennis, in Virginia. Dennis, now here, arranged for a vacation from his duties, and arrived a week after Melvin’s arrival.

Lt. Spencer will report to Miami Beach, Fla., at the end of his leave.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, July 17, 1945 (photo included)

Melvin Joe Spencer was born Jan. 2, 1923 to K. W. and Jennie Mae Michaelson Spencer.

Lt. Spencer served in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps 366th Squadron, 95th Group, 8th Air Force. He was a POW of the Germans at Stalag Luft 1 Barth.

Source: ancestry.com