© Wonersh History Society - www.wonershhistory.co.uk (WHS)
WW1 FIELD SERVICE CARD In February 1913, the War Office authorized the formation of a military postal unit - The Royal Engineers, Special Reserve, Postal Section. (REPS). The staff for this new unit was recruited solely from post office personnel and at the outbreak of WW1 the REPS had a staff of 300. This had grown to over 3000 by the end of the war. The postmen designated to run the Field Post Offices (FPOs) were attached to military units. An ordinary letter service and a parcel service were provided and FPOs sold stamps and dealt with postal orders and telegrams. Field Service Postcards were used by soldiers on active service to send quick messages home without any need for censoring. Their purpose was to reassure the recipient that they were alive and well and to confirm that letters and parcels from home were getting through to the Front. The soldier was allowed to delete as appropriate from a selection of pre-printed sentences. If anything other than a date and signature were added the card would be destroyed. The first postcard below is dated 6 June 1916 and was sent to Miss M Walker at Chinthurst Lodge. We would like to hear if anyone knows the name of the sender. The second postcard, dated 23 July 2015, was sent by Henry Ockenden , chauffeur to C F Dendy Marshall of Chinthurst Lodge. Henry was killed in action on 3 July 1916. Text and photograph of British Army postman are courtesy of Tony Alan. Anyone interested in the history of postcards of the Great War should visit Tony’s website which is packed with facts, photographs and stories. Anyone not interested in the history of postcards should visit the website anyway because it really is exceptionally good.