Clay County

Capt. John Swanson


Capt. John Swanson, Widely Known County Man, Said Missing in Flight from Britain

Capt. John Swanson, member of a prominent Clay county farm family west of Spencer, was reported missing in action in a telegram received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Swanson, of near Royal, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.  No details of the action were given.

Capt. Swanson was pilot of a bomber operating from a base in the British Isles and had been overseas on active duty with the U. S. air forces since shortly after he had spent a leave of absence here last January.

Widely known throughout Clay county, Capt. Swanson was married here during the Christmas holidays of 1942 to the former Miss Geraldine Hart of Spencer.  He was a graduate of Spencer high school and was a student at Iowa State college in Ames when he enlisted in the air corps.  Capt. Swanson was commissioned following graduation from the advanced flying school at Brooks Field, Tex.

Source: Spencer newspaper, May 24, 1943 (photo included)


The first communication from Capt. John Swanson to be received since he as taken prisoner of war by the Germans was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Swanson, the last of the week.

The card received was written May 20.  A pilot on a bomber operating over Europe from a base in the British Isles, he wrote that his whole crew bailed out safely.  He assures his parents, “We’ve had Red Cross food so far, which is good.”

The first word received here that Swanson was missing in action came May 24.  A short time later, the War Department wired that he was prisoner of war of the Germans.

His parents were extremely pleased to get a communication directly from him and in his handwriting so soon after he was taken by the Germans.  Previous to his being reported missing, he had been on several operational missions over Europe.

Source: Spencer newspaper, July 6, 1943

The increasing cheerfulness and optimism in the letters received from Capt. John Swanson, who is interned in a German prison camp, to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Swanson, southwest of Spencer, is being reflected in their attitude towards his capture and imprisonment.  Captain Swanson, with the invading aerial forces of the United States, flying from England, was taken prisoner by the Germans.

Source: Spencer newspaper, August 26, 1943 (photo included)