Dickinson County

Lt. Norman Gross



Mr. and Mrs. Fred H. Gross were happy Friday, Sept. 16, to receive their first letter from their son, Lt. Norman Gross, since he has been in a German prison camp.  The letter was written June 22, 1944, and took more than two months to reach its destination.  Norman, pilot of Mustang, over German territory, was shot down and taken prisoner May 29, 1944.  He entered service in Feb. 1942, and received his commission as lieutenant on Sept. 28, of the same year at Luke Field, Phoenix, Ariz.  Previous to that he had received training in different air fields in California.  He was sent overseas in May 1943, and for a time was stationed in Italy.  His letter in part follows:

Dear Folks: 
June 22, 1944
I hope that by now you have received word of what happened.  There isn’t a thing to worry about.  Am well situated in a German P.O.W. camp for officers. There are 12 of us in a large room.  We do our own cooking, etc.  We are rationed but so far have had plenty to eat.  I even have a small garden planted and my radishes are coming up already.  You should see the pans we made out of tin cans.  Always something to do.  We can receive mail and packages, although delivery is pretty slow.  If you want to send me somethings, go to the Red Cross for details.  This is quite and experience—Please don’t worry.  As usual I didn’t even get scratched.  Tell all about it some day.  As ever, Norm.

Source:  The Milford Mail, September 21, 1944

Lt. Norman Gross Free -
Writes He Will Be Soon Be Home

Word came to Milford Wednesday morning by V-mail letter that Lt. Norman Gross, former Milford business man, has survived the ordeals of German prison camps and is enroute home.

The V-mail letter that was the first from him in a long time, set off a “V-N” (Victory for Norman) day in the Fred Gross household and started plans for his homecoming. The youth wrote that he would “be home soon.” Current press dispatches have stated that all released prisoners would be returned home as soon as possible.

There was no date on the letter that Mr. and Mrs. Gross received yesterday morning. It was written from a camp in France, he said, where he was preparing for the trip home. He said it was good to be free again and inserted a phrase that is familiar to all his friends. It was: “It’s very good to be away from the goons.”

Gross wrote that he was being re-clothed in the camp in France, that he expected to draw part of his pay and “go to town” to have a look around.

The career of the former Milford business man has been followed closely here. He had been a prisoner of the Germans since May 29, 1944. His parents were notified June 12 that he was missing and that he was a prisoner, July 6, last year.

Just before he was captured, while he was flying a Mustang fighter to escort heavy bombers on a mission over Austria, Gross had made headlines throughout [Page 8] the nation for having shot down some enemy planes.

Gross went into the army Feb. 21, 1942, and chose the air force. He was trained at several southwest air bases and graduated as a second lieutenant and pilot. He was later advanced to first lieutenant. He left the States in May, 1943, flying his plane to Brazil and across the Atlantic ocean to North Africa.

When he arrived there, Gross was given additional training in operation of the British Spitfires and pursuit planes and operated them until he was transferred to the mainland and to the American Mustang fighters. He was known to have had 85 missions from bases in Africa, Corsica and Sicily before he was shot down.

Mr. and Mrs. Gross were notified last August that their son had been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for exceptional work in his mission escorting bombers over Austria.

He has a brother in service and a sister who is doing war work in California.

Source: The Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, Thursday, May 24, 1945, Pages 1 & 8 (photo included)