I grew up on a small farm that my parents owned in southeast Illinois. With the threat of war, my brother Ellis and I joined the Army Air Corps November 3, 1941. We trained to be navigators on a B-17. For several months, I trained on a B-17 with nine other men flying practice missions over the U.S. Then we flew from Florida to South America to North Africa to England. For my first (and last) mission on April 16, 1943 I was awakened to join another crew, replacing their navigator. Four of us parachuted down over France. Wounded and captured by the Germans, I spent almost two years as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, Poland. After a forced march in blizzard conditions and a ride in a train cattle car, I spent my last three months at Stalag Luft VIIA, at Moosburg in southern Germany. The U.S. Army freed the 100,000 men imprisoned there on April 29, 1945. (Voyle Spence died November 18, 2009)
My father, Voyle Spence, taped his stories. I transcribed them. Using family pictures, we put together this book and published it using blurb.com in the fall of 2009. It is available in large type and regular print. My father died November 18, 2009 at 91.