Cedar County

T/5 Melvin R. Owen



Bishop Receives Information On Iowa Prisoners

The Most Rev. Henry P. Rohlman, bishop of the Catholic diocese of Davenport, today announced the names of 21 Iowa soldiers who are being held prisoners of war by the Italians.

Included in those named were Lt. Philip Bailey of Letts, PFC Bernard Lynch of West Branch and Cpl. Melvin Owen of Tipton. All the soldiers on whom information was received, reside in the Davenport diocese which embraces 22 counties. Their families already have been notified by the bishop.

Word of the fate of the soldiers was received at the chancery office here from the Apostolic delegate to the United States, the Most Rev. Amlito Giovanni, in Washington, D.C., who was notified direct from Vatican City.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, April 22, 1943

Saltsman and Owen Reported Held Prisoners

A War Department dispatch from Washington, D.C., through the United States, today listed the names of Pvt. Layman Saltsman, of Muscatine, and Tech. 5th Grade Melvin R. Owen, of Tipton, as interned prisoners.

The Journal, through information obtained from the families of the young men, had previously reported their status in news stories.

Technician Owen is interned by Germany at Transit camp No. 25, Capua, Italy, and Pvt. Saltsman is interned at Stalag 58 in that country.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, June 14, 1943

The War Department Wednesday listed the names of 21 Iowans who are among the first non-combatant troops repatriated in this war. The group will arrive at Charleston, S.C., from Marseilles.

The non-combatants, who the War Department said are not treated as prisoners of war and are repatriated as quickly as possible, consist of medical department officers and enlisted men.

Also included in the list of Iowans was T/5 Melvin R. Owen, whose father, Ralph E. Owen, resides at Tipton.  The others were from scattered points in the state.

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

22 Iowans Home from Nazi War Prisoner Camps

Des Moines—Thursday was homecoming day for 22 Iowans who have been released by the Germans after many months in war prisoner camps.

All of the men were from medical detachments, which, according to Pfc. Robert J. Houghton, Des Moines, probably figured in the explanation of their release. None was wounded.

“We were just 75 lucky men the Germans said could go home.” Houghton said. “I don’t understand it myself.”

He said the Iowa men who returned with him were Melvin Owen, Tipton: John Ondrejka, Fort Dodge; B.K. Smokstad, Monroe; H. Bilterman, Aver; Benjamin Salvetore, Fort Dodge; Marion DeVries, Orange City; Dale Reichert, Fort Dodge; Verne Seidel, Waterloo; Avron Gaulke, Dows; Joe Hayes, Correctionville; Charles Slavens, Cincinnati; John Terris, Dubuque; Russell Sparks, Maxwell; Charles Minor, Lamoni; Vincent White, Marshalltown; Morris James, Newton; John Spiegel, Sioux City and Clifton Warner, Des Moines.

Delayed but on the way home, he said, were Robert Tadewald, Muscatine and Ansel Maughler, Troy. The group also included Richard Clarke, who entered the army from Des Moines but who now lives at Millersburg, Ind.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, March 9, 1945


Tipton—Melvin Owen, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Owen, of near Tipton, arrived home Thursday after being held for many months as a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. Melvin reached the United States last week.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, March 10, 1945


News of victory in Europe had special significance in many Muscatine home where relatives have “sweated it through” for months and, in some cases, years with their husbands, sons and brothers who were being held in prisoner of war camps in Germany.

Others Are Home
Melvin Owen, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Owen of Tipton, came home in March, having spent months in prisoner of war camps in Italy and Germany.

A large number of prisoners were reported liberated some time before word came of the complete capitulation of the Nazis and messages telling of their release were welcome news to their relatives and friends.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, Monday, May 7, 1945