Harold Truman Speck collection
Scope and Contents
This World War II collection relates to Harold Truman Speck, a copilot Flight Officer of nine B-17 bombing raids over Europe. He served with the 545th Bombardment Squadron, 384th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force. This collection consists of photocopies of photographs, military personnel records, books, medals, pins, and Speck's personal POW journal provided by the Harold Truman Speck family.
- Created: 1943-1947
- Other: Date acquired: 07/14/2017
- Speck, Harold Truman (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to all researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyrights in works by Harold T. Speck in this collection are held by the Speck family. Copyright restrictions may apply to other works in this collection as well. Re-use or copying of these works beyond Fair Use may require permission from the rights-holder. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Biographical or Historical Information
Harold Truman Speck was born August 5, 1919. He flew nine different missions, as part of the 545th bombardment squadron, 384th bombardment group. Seven out of eight of the missions he flew were targeting German factories for airplane parts or airplane storage areas, as "Operation Argument" (Big Week). His ninth and last mission was to be a military target. On this mission, Speck flew as the copilot of the B-17G, 42-32007, and the aircraft flew the low group of the 41st combat wing. Takeoff was at 8:00 AM from RAF Grafton Underwood Airfield. However, because of a dense cloud cover, the lead bomber's pilot decided they would instead strike a target of opportunity at Cologne, Germany. It was later determined that they were flying over Bonn. The bombers flew in a formation to bomb until Speck's B-17G was hit with flak at 11:57 a.m. Speck recounts that the pilot was the last one to bail out. The B-17G eventually crashed three kilometers (1.9 miles) north of Ransart, Belgium.
Speck, along with six others, were taken as prisoners of war, while two evaded capture and one was killed in action. He was sent to Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany and spent a year there until he left post-war for home, settling in Arkansas and marrying Anita S. Speck. During his captivity, Speck kept a detailed journal which included Red Cross package contents, weight and types of German food rations, POW recipes, menus, information about barrack design, bedding, poems, and names/addresses of fellow POWs. He was awarded the Air Medal. Speck passed away on August 27, 1987, and is buried in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, FL with his wife Anita, who passed away on December 28, 2003.
Note written by Alicia Kasper
Language of Materials
Collection received in March 1999 from Anita Speck without Deed of Gift. Contact was made with daughter of Harold Speck in July 2017 to obtain Deed of Gift. Family of Harold Speck requested return of collection. Family authorized photocopies of collection be retained by the Institute and signed Deed of Gift to authorize photocopies be retained. Original collection was returned to family on July 17, 2017.
Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.
Source of Acquisition
Jane Speck Fike (Daughter of Harold Truman Speck)
Method of Acquisition
Created on 6/15/2017 by Alicia M. Kasper.
- Air pilots, Military--United States Subject Source: Local sources
- Bombing, Aerial--Germany Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- International Committee of the Red Cross
- Prisoners of war Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States. Army Air Forces. Bombardment Group, 384th
- United States. Army. European Theater of Operations
- World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--Food supply Subject Source: Local sources
- World War, 1939-1945--Food supply--Germany Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--Germany Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, German Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Harold Truman Speck collection
- Alicia M. Kasper
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note