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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Before there was E-mail there was V-Mail:

Capture (2)V-mail, short for Victory Mail, was a process used during the World War II as a primary and secure method to correspond with soldiers stationed abroad. V-mail correspondence was on sheets, 7 by 9, that would go through mail censors before being photographed and transported as thumbnail-sized image in negative microfilm. Upon arrival to their destination, the negatives would be blown up to 60% their original size 4 ¼ in. by 5 3/16 in. and printed.

According to the National Postal Museum:

"V-mail ensured that thousands of tons of shipping space could be reserved for war materials. The 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack. The weight of that same amount of mail was reduced dramatically from 2,575 pounds to a mere 45."

This saved considerable weight and bulk in a time in which both were hard to manage in a combat zone.
In addition to postal censorship, V-mail also deterred espionage communications by foiling the use of invisible ink, microdots, and micro-printing, none of which would be reproduced in a photocopy.

In our family’s military history book we have several examples of V-Mail from World War II:



This V-Mail was sent from Emirau Island, 4-28-1944
To Mrs. Bert Curtis Tr Bld 45 P.O. Box 1711 Knoxville Tennessee
From J D Littrell 63 C.B. H-? N.P.O. 3220 F P.O San Francisco Calif April 28 – 1941

Dearest Sis,
Well I got your letter today. I sure was glad to hear from you I also heard from Mom today. Well at last I got a letter from Red, it is the first time in over 3 months, I sure hate to see him go across.
Say if Joe Bee, is a Jap prisoner, he is just the same as dead right now. I sure do feel sorry for him, but if he is a German prisoner that is not so bad. Just Where is he, is he over here in the Pacific or on the other side. I hope he is on the other side.
Say you get me a picture of Noble & his new wife. I sure like to see her, from what I here I wont get to see her much. Tell Dad hello, Bert.

Sis is Onene [Bert's Wife]. Onene, Red [Redford], and Noble are all older siblings of JD. All are children of John Daniel & Kizzie Zore Comer Littrell.

We assume that "Joe Bee" is a generic reference to 'any GI' in the Pacific. A way of speculating about why JD preferred that Red was in Europe and not the Pacific without actually talking about Red in a fearful way. The reference to Noble's new wife is Azalea, his second wife.                                      Gdl~2000


V-Mail sent fro Red to Onene (his sister) in Knoxville Tennessee.
Probably sent in November or December of 1944, probably from the Tuscany Region of Italy.


Another Christmas card (V-Mail), but this one is from the JD in the Pacific to Onene.

“Love & Luck, JD”

For years we were unable to figure out what year and where this V-Mail was sent from, then while preparing the final draft for the book it hit me, “The Admiralties”. I had thought it might be some naval slang or a Christmas card from the Navy brass, but in searching for the picture of the SS Carlos Carrillo and a transport from Emirau to Manus we came across a reference to the Manus Islands as also being referred to as “The Admiralties”
JD and the 63rd CBs were indeed on the Manus Islands in December of 1944


Martha Rae is JD’s niece, Onene’s daughter.

All these V-Mails are courtesy of Onene Littrell – Curtis. Thank heavens she saved these items over the year so we can have a glimpse at a family during war. One son (Red) in Europe and Africa, two more sons (JD & OJ) in the south Pacific… island hopping across the world, and two son in laws also serving.       Glenn Littrell

The above information is from: Military Role Call: The Littrell Family of Mississippi County, Missouri, The Littrell Family Journals Volume IV. (click here)
Littrell Family Veterans Video

reposted from 2015:   37 / 89

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