4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 17, 2021 4:20 PM by Linda Hindes Branched to a new discussion.

    Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military?

    Linda Hindes Wayfarer

      Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military and on file today? I have obtained a reduced size letter from my Dad in Burma in 1944 to his uncle in Los Angeles, California.  It's hard to read.  Is original letter still on file with military?  Can anyone help with reading?  I tried to enlarge but small lettering gets fuzzy.  Thank you.

      Dad's letter to uncle in Los Angeles, California 1944

        • Re: Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military?
          Lisa Sharik Tracker


          Scanning the letter at a higher resolution (DPI) might help. For the first paragraph I got: " Was just wondering why you haven't been writings have you gotten (?) or what? Your letters were very interesting (?) (?) enjoyed reading them, so why would you stop writing, don't be so lazy.


          Lisa Sharik

          Texas Military Forces Musuem.

          • Re: Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military?
            Jason Atkinson Guide


            Dear Ms. Hindes,

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            According to the V-Mail Service in Action Booklet posted on the website of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, “Clerks assigned numbers to each V-Mail letter sheet. This was part of the insurance policy on V-Mail. In the event that a shipment of the microfilm was lost in transit, these letter sheets were retained as a back-up and could be re-photographed. Also, It was useful if the printing quality proved sub par and the original had to be accessed again. When the sending station got the all-clear from the V-Mail receiving station, the original sheets were destroyed.”  Therefore, the original paper copies of V-Mail letters no longer exist.


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the 12 series, 1489 file units & 155 items in various record groups that relate to V-mail. Most of these records have been digitized and are available for viewing via the Catalog. For more information about the non-digitized records, please contact the reference unit listed in the records description.


            Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from the various NARA reference units.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.


            For more information about V-Mail in general, we suggest that you review the following:



            We hope this is helpful.


            • Re: Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military?
              Lisa Sharik Tracker


              Okay, my eyes are killing me and some of this translation is just my best guess. If I could not figure out a word it will show like this (?). If I'm unsure of a word I'll make a note of it after the word. (Also, a couple of phrases which are acceptable at the time this was written.)


                 Was just wondering why you haven't written, have you gotten tired or what? Your letters were very interesting and sure enjoyed reading them so why don't you start writing, don't be so lazy.

                 Well how have you and all the family been making out? guess you've been okay huh! hope so! Can't say the same for my (?) life has sure changed a lot for me it isn't like it was hard in India where a guy could go to sleep and not worry about having these yellow bastards! coming around. Not its been quite sometime since I've had a good nights sleep. can't write at night cause you can't depend on the lighter, this (?) is sure the closest thing to (?) you never know what's going to happen. I'll be the happiest guy you've ever saw the day this guy gets back and you better have alot of (?) cold beer cause that's just about all I'm going to do and you'll be around to help me celebrate huh! But you don't have to worry about that day cause from the looks of things this guy won't be back for quite a long time, yes long time job! ( not sure about the word job)

                  Well guess you'll be celebrating pretty soon huh! On Christmas and New Year's. Well I'll be thinking of you and the folks, maybe in my fox hole sweating it out but when you are sipping on some beer you'll have a few beers for this guy but you won't have to bother seeing my gal for me cause I'll do that someday, she's still waiting for this guy. Guess she'll have to wait a long time but she has faith and that's good enough for me.

                  Well guess you'd like to know about the gals here huh! Well don't ask me cause all they've got here are Burmese and Chinese but from the looks their papa (not sure of that word) must have gone to work cause most of the Billys (unsure of that word) are ready to (?)

                 Well so long (?) You better write soon, My regards to all, your nephew Jesse



              Lisa Sharik

              Texas Military Forces Museum

              1 person found this helpful
                • Re: Was original V-mail correspondence kept by military?
                  Linda Hindes Wayfarer

                  Thank you Ms. Sharik,

                  The daughter of this letter's recipient is now age 80 and legally blind.  She has been sending what she thinks I can use on our Family Heritage Tree.   My parents met in 1950 and did not know one another in 1944. It has been important to learn more about my father's personality, etc.   I learned that of the seven brothers, he came back from the war a very different person.  In the few photos that I have of him, he looks demented.  He died at the young age of 41 (1964) of alcoholism and we three children and mother suffered a great deal due to it.

                  It helps me to understand a bit of his character and mental stability through his penmanship and content.  Military service was January, 1943-1946.  

                  I recall him saying that he would never forget the smell of dead bodies and would never eat rice again.

                  I am a member of a military organization that supports homeless veterans and all veterans in need.

                  One veteran told me that no one would have wanted the tour of duty my father was a part of.  It was grueling.

                  It saddens me to think we were not aware of the term PTSD or have programs in the 1950's for returning veterans.

                  I appreciate your time.   Merry Christmas!