In 2009 I wrote about V-Mail, the U.S. Postal system’s answer to the hundreds of thousands of letters that were being exchanged between families on the home-front and service men and women all over the world during WWII.
A person who wanted to send a letter by airgraph or V-Mail would obtain the standard, pre-printed form from the local post office or five and dime store on request. The form contained space for a letter of about 100 to 300 words, the address of the serviceman or -woman to whom the letter was to be delivered, the address of the sender, and a circular area for the censor’s stamp of approval. Once the message was written, the form was to be folded and sealed. It then made its way to a processing center where the form was re-opened and fed through a machine that photographed the letters on 16mm film.
This past weekend in at the flea market in Pennsylvania I bought three actual V-Mail prints between PFC Edward Roofner (who was stationed “Somewhere in England”) and his family back home in PA. Interesting stuff. Kate here at ACL HQ (who scanned these letters; thanks Kate) commented on how many cigarettes that a soldier was issued compared to actual food. Amazing stuff.
UPDATE: ACL reader Chuck did some detective work and discovered that “PFC Roofner made it through the war and passed away last month.
UPDATE II: ACL reader Chad found some more info about Mr. Roofner.