British Expeditionary Force postal services

This has the potential to win the most boring thread ever award, but a guy I know is doing some research for a philately project and has asked me to help a little. You should understand that my philatelic knowledge is extremely limited, so I just hope I have framed his questions correctly.

His four main questions are:

1. Can anyone explain the so-called Lines of Communication units, which were part of the BEF? To me, after only a little reading, they appear to be the enablers and FP units, which were not part of the main combat formations. Railways, roads, transport, signals, AAA and the RMP. However I haven't managed to find an actual explanation.

2. Is there, anywhere, a record of the FPO numbering, indicating which units were covered by particular FPOs and when? Were they regional or command based?

3. It appears that FPO numbers were allocated to Army, Corps and Div HQs, but were they in use at brigade and unit level too?

4. Many envelopes are marked with censor stamps, which are numbered. He has found some numbers, no15 for example, that appear to been in use in completely different units within a short space of time. Is there a record, again, of which censor stamps were used by which units/formations and when? Can anyone explain how the censors were organised?

As a supplementary, does anyone know of any records type offices that may have records of such things? Apparently the British Museum and the National Archive only have tiny amounts and just raised more questions.

Any help with this would much appreciated?
 
Thanks for your reply Gecko. He hasn't contacted them, but I got the address from t'inter earlier and will pass it to him along with some for the RE.

I should have been more specific in stating that the BEF in question is the one that was forced off the Dunkirk beaches in WWII.

He is a German guy who doesn't know much at all about the British military, now or then. He has been invited to give a display at the Royal Philatelic Society next year, and as part of this they have given him the task of presenting on a them of stamps and postal services in the BEF leading up to Dunkirk.
 
Perhaps 29 PC Regt RLC or BFPO Northolt has a museum/history room? They must be the only descendants of any field units today. Or perhaps an RE museum, given the posties were sappers even in my recollection.
 

Drew5233

Old-Salt
Is it just the FPO's you are interested in or the LoCs themselves? I have 6 volumes on BEF orbats for all the units that served in France dated 10th May 1940 by Philson. I also have close to 1,000 of the 1,448 BEF war diaries at the National Archives. I'm a bit of a BEF geek I'm afraid.

I don't have a copy of this diary but it may hold the info you are after WO 167/59 Headquarters Lines of Communication: 1 Postal Unit 1939 Dec.- 1940 Jan.
 
Is it just the FPO's you are interested in or the LoCs themselves? I have 6 volumes on BEF orbats for all the units that served in France dated 10th May 1940 by Philson. I also have close to 1,000 of the 1,448 BEF war diaries at the National Archives. I'm a bit of a BEF geek I'm afraid.

I don't have a copy of this diary but it may hold the info you are after WO 167/59 Headquarters Lines of Communication: 1 Postal Unit 1939 Dec.- 1940 Jan.

Drew, it's the FPOs he is really interested in, but the LoCs are a curiosity for him, particularly their structure and hierarchy.

Would it be OK if I put him in touch with you? If so please PM me your details and I shall pass them on. He is German, although his English is very good, but he misses the subtleties that come with having it as a mother tongue, which is where I came in.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads

Top