Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Postal Service in the First World War
The exhibition also had a full size hut as used by the sorting officer to distribute letter and parcels to the boys on the front line, everything that could be sent was, even neatly wrapped footballs.
Keeping in touch with family, friends and loved ones was as important then as is is now and the Post Office was a significant part of that link. When the First World War started in 1914 and it was not "all over by Christmas" it soon became apparent that not only would there be increased costs , which eventually led to the universal postage rate of a penny being abolished, (and it has been going up regularly ever since!) but there was also a shortage of manpower. Posters went up to recruit men of over 45 and then for the first time they recruited women in numbers, where previously they had only been employed as postmistresses or in rural areas where no male employee could be found.
At its peak the Post Office was dealing with 13 million items and by the end of the war owned 22,000 carrier pigeons. What a mind-boggling number of pigeons.