Brief History

Although sporadic references to a military mail service appear from the early 17th Century, the service takes its origin from a memorandum to the Post Master General, dated 15th August 1799, in which HRH Duke of York, second son of George III, recommended that “…a good and intelligent clerk should accompany the Army (to North Holland) to manage the whole correspondence, to facilitate delivery and to collect letters and protect the revenue.” The man appointed was Henry Darlot who recorded upon arrival of the mail “I was beset by at least a hundred officers and non-commissioned officers who insisted on looking for their personal letters before the Drum Majors (who were appointed Post orderlies) could get them.”

It was nearly a century later that General Worsley, whio was about to embark on his Egyptian Campaign, recognised the need to establish a properly organised postal service for HM Forces. Thus, on the 22nd July 1882, Her Majesty Queen Victoria signed a Royal Warrant authorising the formation of the Army Postal Corps. Within four days of the signing of the Warrant a detachment of one hundred men of the newly formed Corps raised from the Post Office Rifles (Volunteers) left for Egypt on the SS British Prince. Some twenty years later. after serving with distinction in the South African War, the Army Postal Corps was absorbed into the Corps of Royal Engineers. In 1993 Postal Courier Services, as it had become known, transferred into the newly formed Royal Logistic Corps, which continues to provide the worldwide postal and courier services well known to every Serviceman and woman in every theatre of operations.

Links to websites which provide historical information about the British military mail service are:

Royal Engineers Association (Postal & Courier Services) Branch

Forces Postal History Society

The British Postal Museum & Archive

The Royal Logistic Corps Museum

Wikipedia – History of the British Army Postal Service