Airgraph Christmas Card from Arthur Sainsbury to his mother, posted 13 November 1943 Item Reference : cny02848
Arthur Sainsbury was Trevor's cousin, and served with the RAF throughout the Second World War. During the Second World War, there were many problems associated with mail to and from soldiers posted overseas. There was a huge quantity of mail to deal with, and intercontinental transport was difficult. The allied countries developed a service to reduce the mail volume. The British versions were called Airgraphs, while the US system was known as V-mail. Printed sheets were allocated to servicemen and their relatives, with spaces for correspondence and names and addresses of sender and recipient.The forms were sent to dedicated Airgraph, or photo stations, where they were photographed on 16 mm film. The film was then forwarded to a similar facility on the same continent as the addressee. There the pictures were processed and enlarged, and printed onto small sheets of photographic paper. The original forms were 21 cm by 28 cm, while the processed forms measured 10.5 by 13 cm. These were then sent by post to the recipient. Servicemen and women were able to send their Airgraphs postage free, whilst civilians had to pay normal postage. Trevor was called up in January 1940. He went into The Royal Artillery initially, and was sent to France, ending up with a large group of French refugees, fleeing from the Germans. At one point they met with a group of British officers, who requisitioned their rifles. The officers then gave Trevor and his colleagues pick handles, with which to defend themselves and the hundreds of French citizens. Trevor finally arrived at Cherbourg, and boarded a ship. He had no idea where he was bound until he was half-way across the English Channel, and realised he was going home.
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