Sgt. Norman Frederick Spencer
Frederick Spencer was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin, on May 31, 1920.
He was one of
fourteen children born to Robert H. Spencer & Clara E. Knudsen-Spencer. In 1937, his family moved to
5833 Electric Avenue in Berkley, Illinois. After moving to
Berkley, Norman attended Proviso Township High School in
Maywood, Illinois, where he was a member of the Class of 1940.
With his friend, Harry Jerele, Norman joined the Civilian Conservation Corp. His reason for doing this was that he wanted to travel and work outdoors. While a member of the C.C.C., Norman built roads and parking lots at national parks in Wyoming and Colorado.
Returning home to Berkley, Norman enlisted in the Illinois National Guard, with his friend, Harry, on June 31, 1938. Norman lived across the street from a captain in the Illinois National Guard. This captain convinced him that the National Guard would be a "good" experience for him.
Norman went to Fort Knox, Kentucky, when the 33rd Tank Company was called into federal service in November of 1940. Upon arrival at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Maywood Tank Company's name was changed to Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion.
While at Fort Knox, Norman was trained to operate the various equipment of the battalion. In January of 1941, during his training, Norman was transferred into the Headquarters Company of the 192nd Tank Battalion and was promoted to sergeant.
In the late summer of 1941, Norman went on maneuvers in Louisiana. After the maneuvers were completed, the battalion received the news that their time in the army had been extended. Those considered "too old" were released from federal service and replacements joined the companies.
Norman traveled by train to San Francisco. Then the battalion took ferries to Angel Island. There they received the necessary shots for duty overseas. He was then sent to the Philippine Islands in October of 1941 with the battalion.
When war came on December 7, 1941, Norman fought with his battalion on Luzon and in Bataan. Norman was a motorcycle messenger and carried messages between Headquarters Company and the other companies of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
When Bataan fell to the Japanese, Norman became a Prisoner of War. He took part in the death march and was imprisoned at Camp O'Donnell. He was transferred to Cabanatuan Camp #1, where he died of malaria & pellagra on December 2, 1942 at approximately 8:00 PM. He was 20 years old. The report that was kept at the camp indicates that Norman died from pellagra.
Sgt. Norman Spencer was buried in the Cabantuan Camp Cemetery in Plot 2, Row 16, Grave 2042. After the war, Sgt Norman F. Spencer was buried in Plot N, Row 10, Grave 1, at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila. His friend, Harry Jerele, who had traveled with him and joined the National Guard with him, also died while a POW.