Muscatine County

S/Sgt. Luther Eldon Davis


Prisoner Ranks Expand As War Grows Intense In France and Germany

Hopes for an eventual happy reunion at the conclusion of hostilities with father, brother, son or husband, initially reported as “missing in action” has been spurred in a number of homes in Muscatine and nearby communities in southeastern Iowa and western Illinois by later information, advising that the missing service man was listed as a prisoner of war.

Anxious hours of hopeful waiting after official information listing men as “missing in action” has been followed in repeated instances by such data during the past year, as it was in former years of World War No. 2, as the number of men who have become members of the “Barbed Wire Legion”—prisoners of war—has increased.

Then, for families and for the members of the Barbed Wire Legion, as well, has followed a second interval of waiting—until through the channels of the International Red Cross, letters and communications have been re-established.

This, in turn, is followed by further waiting—waiting for that day when peace will return and the guns of war are silenced—when long days of confinement in distant camps and restriction of privileges will come to an end and families and friends may be reunited.

As the period of America’s participation in the war has lengthened, so has the number of men listed from this community as prisoners of war.

For some, stationed in the Pacific theater of action, three years have passed in prison camps. For others, captured in other fields of action, one year in a prisoner of war camp is stretching to a second. Others, participating in more recent actions, have spent lesser periods in prison camps.

From some of these men, relatives have received fairly regular, although restricted letters, advising of their treatment, the receipt of certain items of clothing, food and for recreational purposes through the Red Cross. From others only scratches of information have been received.

From official sources and from members of their families, brief sketches of the following men reported as prisoners, have been obtained:

STAFF SGT. LUTHER ELDON DAVIS—Previously reported as missing in action, Staff Sgt. Luther Eldon Davis was later reported as a prisoner of war in Germany, accord to word received by his wife, the former June Burrows, 106 East Second street, Oct. 27, 1944. He was an engineer and gunner on a bomber.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, Friday, December 29, 1944 (photo included)


Twenty-seven men from Muscatine county and surrounding territory reported as prisoners of war of Germany have been liberated and eleven of this group have already been given furloughs home, according to Journal records.

Since the beginning of the war in Europe a total of 42 men from this area have been held by the Nazis at one time or another.

Word from the remaining 15 prisoners is being awaited by families and relatives here.

A letter, dated Feb. 1, was the latest message Mrs. Luther Davis, 106 East Second street, has received from her husband, Staff Sgt. Luther Eldon Davis, a prisoner of war since September of 1944.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, May 22, 1945

Luther Eldon Davis was born Mar. 30, 1924 to William H. and Elva M. Dixon Davis. He died Feb. 10, 1995 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Muscatine, IA.