Free Parcels To Overseas Operational Theatres At Christmas

SofS for Defence has just announced in Edinburgh that the free postal packet scheme (parcels under 2kg in weight) will now form part of the OWP for Christmas (not just this year).

In essence if you are on overseas operations and in receipt of OWP then you will be entitled to benefit from the scheme between 10 Nov - 8 Dec (first and last posting dates to the theatre of operations). It is only for parcels to named Service personnel - anonymous addresses (ie 'To a soldier in Iraq) will not be accepted.
You cannot send parcels out of theatre to relatives at home.

If you are not in receipt of OWP (NI, Falklands, DG, AI or other small scale UN Ops) you will not benefit from the concession.

The BFPO Website will, in due course, give the details at BFPO site

MOD Oracle have an article at: MOD Oracle


Book Reviewer
beat me to it fellow modBloke ! ...for those who cannot access the DefenceNet site from where you are:

John Reid delivers early Christmas present to service families

Secretary of State for Defence, John Reid, has announced that postage will be free for parcels sent by family and friends to members of the Armed Forces away on operations this Christmas, and that this is to become a permanent part of the Operational Welfare Package (OWP).

Free Christmas parcels will only be available for personnel in receipt of the OWP, which is provided specifically to support those on operations, for whom communication with home is particularly important.

The OWP is provided to Service personnel and qualifying civilians deployed on:

• Operations overseas expected to last 2 months or more with a designated name and under the command of PJHQ.
• Maritime exercises expected to last 2 months or more.
• Other operations, exercises and deployments overseas, outside NW Europe, which are expected to last 2 months or more by formed units, non-formed units and ships under the command of NATO, PJHQ or single-Service Commands.

The following Operations are currently covered by the OWP, and these areas will be eligible for the free Christmas parcels: Operation TELIC (Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman); Operation HERRICK (Afghanistan); Operation OCULUS (Bosnia and Kosovo); Operation TOSCA (UN duties in Cyprus)

The following ships which are deployed over the period will also be eligible for the free postal packets: HMS Montrose; HMS Southampton; HMS Roebuck; HMS Endurance; HMS Dumbarton Castle; RFA Bayleaf; RFA Grey Rover; RFA Enterprise; RFA Diligence.

Visiting soldiers and their families at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh today, John Reid said:

"Those serving our country abroad on operations feel the strain of separation particularly keenly at Christmas time, as do their family and friends. That is why I am introducing a free packet service this Christmas and every Christmas as a permanent part of the Operational Welfare Package.

"Hopefully this can help ease the burden of separation for those whose service to their country has taken them away from their families on operations."

The Defence Logistics Organisation expects to transport over ten tonnes of post a day to the Gulf alone in the run up to Christmas.

This year, the free service will be available from 10 November. Packets must be sent before 8 December 2005 to qualify for the free service (and to arrive in Theatre in time for Christmas!).

Relatives and friends in the UK and at British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses worldwide may send packets. Packets from commercial firms and those from support groups will not be accepted; this service is intended specifically for friends and relatives to send items to people on operational deployments over Christmas. For this reason, packets must be addressed to a named person, using the appropriate BFPO number. The service does not cater for packets to be sent out from an operational theatre. There is no limit on the number of packets that a person may send.

The weight limit for packets is 2kg. This typically equates to a packet the size of a shoebox. Restrictions on what may be sent apply. They include aerosols and knives.

The Falkland Islands (and Ascension Island and Diego Garcia) and Northern Ireland have their own packages of support and this scheme does not apply to them.

A Defence Internal Brief will be issued shortly
now that's a good news story - long overdue.

( Dear Daily Mail: - whatever happened to your campaign for Operational deployments to be tax - free ????? )

Le Chevre

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