Changes to military Christmas postage

NEW controls on the postage of gifts to soldiers this Christmas means only parcels to a named person will be accepted.

Last year more than 21,000 sacks of mail, weighing over 170 tonnes, were sent to Afghanistan alone, the majority of which were parcels and shoeboxes to unnamed British service personnel.

This bulk of mail meant personal mail from loved ones was delayed and the extra helicopter journeys to deliver the post put pilots in danger.

For these reasons, the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with British Forces Post Office, is limiting the free postal system only to friends and families, with mail only being accepted if to a named person.

For those who still wish to show their support, but who do not have someone specific to give to, there are a range of other charities they are encouraged to donate to, including UK4U Thanks!, which provides a Christmas parcel for every serviceman and woman serving overseas on Christmas Day.

The Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, SSAFA, Army Benevolent Fund, Help for Heroes and other military charities are all alternative organisations working to support our service personnel.

Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel), said: “The generosity and support of the British public has been outstanding and it means a huge amount to all those serving in our Armed Forces.

“When on operations, the receipt of news from home, a letter from your wife or children, is a huge boost to morale, but unfortunately, this can be delayed by the sheer volume of mail generously donated.

“Last Christmas, the mail created a significant challenge to our logistics chain in theatre, which must also focus on the supply of operational essentials such as ammunition, food and medical supplies.

“These controls mean we will continue to supply free post to the friends, family and loved ones of those serving on operations overseas, whilst ensuring our operational effectiveness is maintained.

“We are hugely grateful for all the public support for our servicemen and women, but because of the great response, we urge people to donate to alternative organisations to minimise the impact of Christmas mail surges.”
Great stuff. A few people may chunter and whine about their random acts of kindness being unappreciated, but at least this stops the system from becoming oveloaded as it did last year in particular.
Policy was announced and explained months ago.

I could start a rant about why there aren't enough aircraft around or why can't we charter a one-off flight. But then we would need more Posties to distribute and more helicopters to move boxes around Theatre . and on and on and on.

Outrage bus is too late to catch last post day anyway.
My fault.

This year I cut back the boxes to names and numbers and made a few donations instead.
If you realy need to send something special/valuable then DHL it, so it costs more but its quick ! and takes the strain off the system.

However it does take away the unique feeling of having put together a parcel yourself with an encouraging note and Christmas card to a soldier in a far away land on a dangerous mission. Many from my village did it over the last two years and are not much interested in giving the money to charity. And many got a thank you note back again. They say it's not the same. It my opinion it cuts the link between the people and the forces and the MOD should think again.

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