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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Content Description
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
    Title: Donald E. Drake Second World War correspondence
    Creator: Drake, Donald Eldred, Corporal, 1922-1966
    source: Terpin, Mark
    Identifier/Call Number: 2019.007.w.r
    Physical Description: 0.02 Linear Feet (1 folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1943 July 22 - 1945 August 13
    Abstract: This collection contains correspondence from Cpl. Donald Drake, USAAF to his uncle and family during the Second World War.
    Language of Material: English .
    Container: WWII 24
    Container: 10
    Container: 1

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Mark Terpin.


    This collection is arranged by material type and the letters are arranged chronologically.

    Biographical / Historical

    Corporal Donald Eldred Drake, United States Army Air Force (6/26/1922 - 5/2/1966) was born in Bath, New York to Eldred and Ethel Drake. He enlisted in the Air Force on September 30, 1942 and served in England as a radio operator for the 355th Fighter Group, 357th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force and later for six months with the 9th Air Force in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Donald E. Drake Second World War correspondence (2019.007.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Content Description

    This collection contains correspondence from Cpl. Donald Drake, USAAF to his uncle Wayne Jackson, and family, of Buffalo, New York during the Second World War. Cpl. Drake wrote three V-Mails and one Christmas card, sent with a black and white photograph of himself in front of a plane, as well as one typed letter while in Germany with the Army of Occupation. Also included in the collection is a short obituary clipping for Cpl. Drake.
    The V-Mails do not say much because of the censors, only sharing that he is first writing on a ship in the Atlantic, and later somewhere in England, though specifically not London.
    The letter was written August 13, 1945 from Gablingen, Germany about seven miles from Augsburg, at the Messerschmitt aircraft factory. This letter, written after the war in Europe was over, describes his flight to Germany in a B-17 bomber as navigator, only one thousand feet off the ground giving him a great view of the destruction which he describes. He also discusses the poverty of the German people, denying being part of the Nazi party, and a lingering hatred for German people, even women whom he claims are "so crazy to land with an American that they do anything and everything under the sun to get one for company."
    Also discussed in this letter are souvenirs picked up from the air base at which they landed, mostly from dead Germans and destroyed planes, traveling to Augsburg for fun and drinking beer at the "Werzhall." This leads to an explanation that Americans don't have to pay for things if they do not wish to, but sometimes do just to be nice or get better treatment in the future. He claims that "usually we just drink the beer and don't bother to pay for it. Because the Americans let the Germans consider it an honor to serve us."

    Conditions Governing Use

    There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
    World War (1939-1945) -- England
    World War (1939-1945)
    World War (1939-1945) -- Europe
    World War (1939-1945) -- Germany
    World War (1939-1945) -- Christmas
    United States -- Army -- Air Forces -- Radio operator
    United States -- Army -- Air Forces
    Terpin, Mark