Those of us lucky enough to possess items like these may assume they are 'everyday' items with little or no value. You may find that some of these are in fact quite rare and many people will never have seen items such as these. If you have any items you would like to share then please contact me and I will gladly include them on this site.
When my Aunt first found my G Uncle's letters, I found what at first appeared to be photocopies of handwritten telegrams of the same quality as that of the early copiers in the late 1970's. I was pretty sure that photocopiers didn't exist during WW2 and also doubted that my Grandmother knew anyone who could obtain photocopies for her. These documents remained a mystery to me until June 2005
Imagine my surprise when I received the following email....
"I thought you might like to see this airgraph sent L/Seaman B J Evans on board HMS Arethusa – the date is Nov 26th but no year is shown in the postmark. I think this must have been just after the events of Nov 1942 when the Arethusa was damaged. Do you know if any publicity was given to the action at the time? Presumably the fact that the Arethusa survived would have been a great morale booster!
L/ Sea Evans was apparently a Scout before he joined the Navy.
The following was attached...
I duly replied to Alan asking just what was an "Airgraph"? His reply....
Airgraphs were actually photographs. The message was written on a large form specially printed for the purpose [11x8 inches approx]. In order to save space and weight in transport by air the form was then photographed - in London in this case - and converted to microfilm. The negative microfilm roll was then sent by air – the weight saving was considerable – 1600 forms in a roll weighed 5 ˝ oz as against 35lbs for the same number of letters. On arrival at destination probably the Processing station in Cairo the negative was blown up to the airgraph size and developed as a positive print. This was cut from the long roll and placed in a special envelope, which was then delivered to the address.
Here are my Airgraphs
This is the card that was sent to my Great Grandparents with their son's medals, Eric received the War Medal 1939-1945, the 1939-1945 Star and the Africa Star with a Clasp. I believe that these cards are quite rare, I still have Eric's medals in the original box that they were posted in.
It seems that sailors were provided with, or could purchase, special stationary to write home with. This is the last letter that Eric wrote home, being posted just before the Stoneage Convoy left Alex'. He told his parents that he wouldn't be home again this christmas.
My Great Grandmother had her last letter to her son returned to her by the Admiralty
The saddest item I believe is this one, the telegram that my Great Grandmother received informing her that her son had died on 'War Service'.