New podcast goes online: The Post Office during the Second World War

by Alison Bean, Website Officer

Peace and Freedom stamp, 1995

Peace and Freedom stamp, 1995

Earlier this year several talks were given at the Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms to tie-in with the exhibition Last Post – Remembering the First World War. These covered various wartime and postal history topics, including talks on the Post Office during the First and Second World Wars. The talk The Post Office during the Second World War, given by Mark Crowley, is now available to download as a podcast.

Mark Crowley is a PhD student conducting research at the BPMA, who has previously written for this blog on The Post Office Home Guard. His talk presented a number of interesting insights into Post Office operations during World War 2.

The bomb damage suffered by Greenwich Post Office in 1945

The bomb damage suffered by Greenwich Post Office in 1945

The Post Office played a vital communications role during the War, providing both postal and telegram deliveries, and telephone services. With many Post Office workers now in the forces, women were employed in large numbers to deliver and sort mail, drive Royal Mail vans and maintain the telephone network. Mark’s talk is peppered with stories of the bravery of some of these workers, who managed to keep telephone exchanges and sorting offices running even as the enemy bombs rained down.

Vital infrastructure such as post offices, sorting offices and telephone exchanges were often targets for enemy bombers, and many suffered bomb damage. Mobile Post Offices, offering telephone and counter services were set up in effected areas.

A Mobile Post Office in a bombed area, 1941

A Mobile Post Office in a bombed area, 1941

Unfortunately, many of the archive images referred to in the talk cannot be included with the podcast due to copyright reasons, but we hope to make some of these available in the future.

The British Postal Museum & Archive Podcast can be downloaded through iTunes or from our website. Last Post – Remembering the First World War is currently on a national tour.

4 responses to “New podcast goes online: The Post Office during the Second World War

  1. That’s really old post office. Do it exist in the present time? Nice to see such images of our history.

  2. John MacKenzie

    My father was listed in 1942 as a police constable. Now as far as I know he worked for the GPO, at George Square in Glasgow at that time.
    I have heard that the GPO had a form of p0licing, but did they have similar ranks to those of the ordinary police force?

    • Thanks for your enquiry, John. There was a Post Office Investigation Department, we’re not sure in what form it exists now. However, we do have files and records for that department as well as instruction manuals relating to the procedures that were to be carried out. To view this material you are most welcome to visit the archive here http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/visitus/. You mentioned too that your relative worked for the Post Office. We have employment records for employees pensioned before 1959. Although they do not give any personal details such as next of kin or private addresses, they will give career details including any promotions.

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