Finding Aid for the Donald E. Drake Second World War correspondence 2019.007.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

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