the Glen Edwards diaries


V-Mail from the war zone

V-Mail ("V" for Victory, of course) was used by U.S. miitary personnel and their families for exchanging mail. You wrote your message on a one-page form rather like the "aerogrammes" that are still available from the Post Office, put it in an envelope that allowed the address to show through, and posted it like any letter. It was opened, photographed, and the microfilm sent to the theater of war--a system that saved cargo space, made it feasible to use air transport for personal mail, and preserved the original in case the aircraft was lost.

Usually officers were allowed to censor their own letters, but in this case Glen Edwards's V-mail did go through a military censor, who duly blocked out his references to "Italy" and "Italian".

At the receiving end, the microfilmed letter was printed like a photograph on lightweight paper, put in another envelope, and delivered through regular mail channels.