HC Deb 21 June 1895 vol 34 cc1655-6

I beg to ask the Postmaster General—(1) whether he is a ware that, on the delivery in this country recently of two letters written by an officer of H.M.S. Tartar, on the West Indian Station, from Jamaica, each bearing Jamaica stamps to the value of 3d., and each being under weight, the recipient, a distinguished Admiral, father of the writer, was fined 10d. on each letter, and the Jamaica stamps were obliterated and rendered useless; (2) whether, on complaint being made, the official reply (sent after 17 days delay) from the General Post Office, stated that the letters, having been posted on one of Her Majesty's ships, should have been prepaid in British postage stamps, and the General Post Office did not recognise Colonial stamps; (3) whether he is aware that British Naval Officers are generally unaware of the existence of such a rule, and that it is frequently difficult to obtain proper British Home stamps on board; and (4) whether he will direct that, in all cases where letters received in this country from officers or sailors of Her Majesty's Navy serving on stations abroad bear Colonial stamps of adequate value, no fine shall be exacted from the recipients?


The amount demanded on the delivery of each of the letters referred to was 5d., not 10d., as stated in the first paragraph of the question. The Jamacia stamps on one of the covers are not obliterated, but if those on the other cover were obliterated by mistake their value shall be made good. The answer to the second paragraph is in the affirmative. I am not aware that there is frequently difficulty in obtaining British stamps on board British men-of-war; the Queen's regulations provide that the Accountant Officer on board shall obtain a supply of postage stamps for the use of the crew. The system of exchanging direct bags between the General Post Office and British ships of war was introduced for the convenience of the officers and crews of those ships, and it was arranged that British stamps should be used. But the suggestion of the hon. Member shall receive consideration.