Postal staff at London postal centre

Postal staff at London postal centre

New Zealand Expeditionary Force postal staff take a brief break from processing mail in London during the First World War.

When the bulk of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) moved from Egypt to France in early 1916, its headquarters was transferred to London. The Base Post Office moved into the Mount Pleasant post office. Said to be the largest postal building in the world, this was a late-19th-century edifice erected on the site of the former Coldbath Fields Prison in the inner London borough of Islington. The complex is still a major mail centre and it now also houses the British Postal Museum & Archive.

Major F.D. Holdsworth, formerly Auckland’s chief postmaster, was director of army postal services in England; Lieutenant D.A. McCurdy was in charge at Mount Pleasant. When a consignment of mail from New Zealand arrived after a five-week voyage the postal staff worked long hours to process it, typically from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

By January 1917 the New Zealand Base Post Office at Mount Pleasant employed nearly 100 men. That month it received 4230 mailbags containing 680,000 letters and parcels, of which 32,000 had to be redirected to men who were now in hospital.

Mail for troops in France was sorted into bags for each unit and despatched daily, while letters and parcels were sent to men in camps and hospitals in the United Kingdom twice daily. Mail reached field post offices in France two or three days after it was despatched from Mount Pleasant. It was sent on to railheads for collection by orderlies (not postal staff) who delivered it to units.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Postal staff at London postal centre

What do you know?