Tuesday, June 24, 2014
V-mail (No, that's not a type-o)
We're all familiar with e-mail, but have you have every heard of v-mail? Victory Mail, or v-mail for short, was a mail system used during WWII. It was a brilliant idea that dramatically reduced the volume of mail being transported to the millions of people stationed overseas, thus freeing up valuable cargo space for war materiel. The National Postal Museum estimates that “the 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack [of v-mail.] The weight of that same amount of mail was reduced from 2,575 pounds to a mere 45.”
Correspondents wrote their letters on specially designed forms that were a combination letter and envelope. The pages were censored before being microfilmed then shipped overseas to a receiving station where they were printed at 60% of their original size and delivered. The use of v-mail was not mandated, so people continued to send their mail via regular first class. It is estimated that for every one piece of v-mail sent, approximately seven pieces of first class letters were sent.
Because troops were constantly on the move, one of the greatest challenges was to get the mail delivered. However, the postal service bent over backwards to work with the military to get letters in the hands
Is there a time in your life when mail was of great importance to you?
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A freelance writer for over ten years, Linda Matchett also writes historical fiction. She is currently seeking a publisher for her series about war correspondent Ruth Brown. Visit her at www.lindashentonmatchett.com