A few years ago I did a search on my dad’s name and found this: An old auction for V-Mail (“Greetings from Britain”) from Private Ralph Schirf. I hadn’t known about the auction, long since over, in time to bid. Here are the clues that it’s from my dad:
- Ralph Schirf is a unique name. Schirf is rare, and we’re all related. Ralph Schirf is one of a kind.
- He was from the Altoona, Pennsylvania, area.
- He served as a private in the Army Air Forces during WWII in England (artillery, I believe, although he didn’t talk about it). He was honorably discharged as a corporal.
- That’s his block printing.
- His beloved sister Marjorie married a Way (Ellis G. in the obituary of one of their children).
- He once signed a birthday card to me “Father Ralph.” It’s not a stretch to imagine him signing “Brother Ralph” to his sister.
I would love if the buyer found this post and offered to sell me Dad’s V-Mail, but in lieu of the physical pieces I’ll have to be content with small digital photos.
Here’s more from the Postal Museum about V-Mail.
USPS PDF about the history and process of sending V-Mail.
And his grave in Bellwood, Pennsylvania, outside Altoona: