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Remembered Today:

Reservists and Postmen


rolt968
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I have been noticing that quite a lot of reservists (and in some cases early casualties) were postmen.

The Post Office was in those days part of the civil service. I have always thought that it was easy for reservists (or at least ex-regulars) with a good record to become postmen or indeed other types of lower grade government employees.

However I realise that I have never seen any actual evidence for this. Was it true?

R.

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The Post Office was in those days part of the civil service. I have always thought that it was easy for reservists (or at least ex-regulars) with a good record to become postmen or indeed other types of lower grade government employees.

However I realise that I have never seen any actual evidence for this. Was it true?

The General Post Office (GPO) was not "part of the Civil Service", which covers the Executive, Administrative and Clerical grades of the staff of Government departments or ministries. The GPO was a publicly founded and run organisation, headed by the Postmaster General, a minister of Cabinet rank (although not in the Cabinet), but the workforce of sorters, postmen etc, were not civil servants; they were public employees (in the same way that train drivers did not become civil servants when the railways were nationalised).

I have no knowledge whether the GPO ever had any preference or priority for ex-members of the regular armed forces as employees, but it is known that during the Great War the GPO had a strenuous policy of urging staff to volunteer for the Army,

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Interesting. I know of at least a couple of 1914 reservists from north-west Wales who were postmen - one went out with 2nd RWF in the BEF but survived to earn a MSM and his Imperial Service Medal. Another was wounded/sick very early on and appeared at a recruiting meeting back home that autumn.

In terms of the GPO's pro-enlistment policy, there was a telegraphist in Oswestry who was bluntly refused permission to enlist and threatened with the sack if he did so. He joined up anyway in 1915 in defiance of his boss.

Clive

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The General Post Office (GPO) was not "part of the Civil Service", which covers the Executive, Administrative and Clerical grades of the staff of Government departments or ministries. The GPO was a publicly founded and run organisation, headed by the Postmaster General, a minister of Cabinet rank (although not in the Cabinet), but the workforce of sorters, postmen etc, were not civil servants; they were public employees (in the same way that train drivers did not become civil servants when the railways were nationalised).

Woolly thinking on my part - trying to get over the difference between the and now.

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Interesting. I know of at least a couple of 1914 reservists from north-west Wales who were postmen - one went out with 2nd RWF in the BEF but survived to earn a MSM and his Imperial Service Medal. Another was wounded/sick very early on and appeared at a recruiting meeting back home that autumn.

In terms of the GPO's pro-enlistment policy, there was a telegraphist in Oswestry who was bluntly refused permission to enlist and threatened with the sack if he did so. He joined up anyway in 1915 in defiance of his boss.

Clive

A remarkably high proportion of the reservists I have run across have been postmen (possibly because it's a relatively rural area). A depressingly high proportion were killed.

(In Edzell about which I posted my In Memoriam on 27 October, the second reservist-postman was killed on 27 October 1914. A third postman was no longer a reservist, but re-enlisted immediately. (Private to sergeant in 24 hours! He had originally enlisted in 1892 or 1893. He survived and returned to being a postman.) I suspect that there were only three postmen in Edzell.

R.

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Pages 33-35 of the 1905 Soldier's Small Book might be of interest:

1905_SSB_Civil_Employment_details.jpg

http://postimg.org/image/g8nyxnxuv/

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Yes, thanks Andrew. I was intrigued to note that those weakened or disfigured by their own misconduct needn't apply. I remember seeing a family photo of someone's great-granddad, a cheery white-whiskered old cove in his postman's uniform and medals proudly worn - a Victorian campaign, a Territorial Long Service, and the Imperial Service Medal.

His papers showed that whilst a Regular in India he had contracted syphilis. Clearly didn't prevent him getting the postie's job (or being a Territorial, and performing Home service in WW1).

Clive

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Hello all

The army as a whole, and individual regiments within it, were quite keen to help men whose service had been completed, to find respectable and secure jobs. The police were an obvious example but various other public posts such as with the GPO would take a proportion of ex-soldiers. It was all part of the "package" designed before the war to encourage men to join a fully volunteer army.

Ron

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Actually the Post Office appointments were certainly made via the Civil Service Commissioners at the time, appointment to most posts or promotions were by competitive examination. See as an example https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/issue/10784/page/537

The Post Office was a government department until 1969 http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/page/leadership and this page http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/page/ism describes Post Office staff as civil servants, hence their eligibility for the Imperial Service Medal (or Order if of administrative or clerical grades)

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