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Ira M. Britton papers

Identifier: 6097

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of Ira M. Britton's World War II documents. The letters reveal information about the lives of Americans who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II and about Britton's experiences in the Navy in the United States. The collection includes many photographs. Some are of various servicemen and highlight life in the military. There are some group pictures of men in the RCAF and the Navy. Others are of friends and family members back home. Some appear to have been sent to Britton while he was in the service and others include him as well. Other documents in the collection, including records and notebooks, show details of life in the RCAF and Navy.


  • 1941-1945


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Ira Martini Britton was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania in 1920. After receiving a letter from an American friend who had joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, Britton decided to enlist as well. He left for Canada in the fall of 1941. By December, he had washed out of the program and returned to the United States. He then enlisted in the United States Navy where he worked in aircraft maintenance. On November 19, 1945, Britton was honorably discharged from the Navy with the rank of Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class.

Biographical / Historical

When Canada joined the war on September 10, 1939, Americans who wished to fight before the United States entered the war got their opportunity in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When joining the RCAF, recruits were required to pledge alleigance to the British monarch. For American recruits, this pledge could mean forfeiture of their American citizenship. In order to work around this issue, the Canadian government passed an Order in Council that allowed foreign recruits to instead agree to obey RCAF rules and discipline during the course of the war. When the United States entered the war, many Americans returned home to serve in the United States military.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Ira M. Britton papers consist of letters, photographs, certificates and notebooks created and collected by American serviceman Ira Britton during World War II. Britton served in both the the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Navy. Together, the photographs and letters describe the experience of Americans who served in the RCAF.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Walkabout Books, December 18, 2014.

Finding aid for the Ira M. Britton papers
Natalie Camacho
2015 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States