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Harold Truman Speck collection

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections - 1999 Box 6 (99.0116-99.0133)
Identifier: 99.0117

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


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 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


8.00 folders

Language of Materials


Custodial History

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.

Custodial History

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


Related Materials

Link to Personal War Service Records of Harold Truman Speck:

Processing Information

Created on 6/15/2017 by Alicia M. Kasper.

Harold Truman Speck collection
Alicia M. Kasper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US