© 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.