As World War II took hold, the re-routing of seaborne traffic resulted in an incredibly slow international postage system. As a result the General Post Office, after seeking a speedier method by which to send correspondence to troops stationed in the Middle East, introduced Airgraph. In short, postal workers photographed each message and then flew the conveniently small microfilm negatives to the letters’ destination where they were then re-printed full size. Below is the first Airgraph sent from London to Cairo, written by the Queen.
Trivia: The U.S. later followed suit and renamed the service ‘Victory Mail‘.
My dear General Auchinleck
In this first message by the new Airgraph Service to the Middle East, I wish to tell you, on behalf of all the women at home how constantly our thoughts turn to all those under your command.
I know how grievous is the separation which parts wife from husband, and mother from son, but I would assure those whose achievements have already filled us all with pride that their example is an inspiration, and I do not doubt that even greater accomplishment lies before them. Many of them come from homes in our Dominions, and to those I send a special message of greeting. Their valour has been the admiration of the world, and to one and all I wish a speedy victory, and a safe return to their homes and those they love.
I am, Yours Very Sincerely, Elizabeth R