HC Deb 31 August 1914 vol 66 cc356-8

asked the Postmaster-General if he will cause instructions to be given to our troops as to the posting of letters, as a large number have arrived from the front unstamped which have been surcharged on delivery; and if he will consider the question of allowing a percentage of letters to travel free or, at any rate, not to be surcharged on arrival?

7. Mr. WING

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that surcharges are being made on letters and postcards from soldiers on active service to their relatives, although passed by the censor and marked active service; and will he issue instructions that such letters must not be surcharged?


asked the Postmaster-General whether letters and postcards sent by soldiers serving abroad in the Expeditionary Force to friends in En gland and bearing an Army Post Office stamp are being charged for on delivery in England; whether this is the case with letters that are unstamped or insufficiently stamped; and whether he will state definitey what are the postal arrangements in regard to this matter?


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the Post Office authorities are exacting the usual charge from the recipients of unstamped letters in cases where such letters bear on the envelope official evidence that they come from soldiers serving with the Army in the field; and whether, in view of the difficulty soldiers in the fighting line must have of obtaining stamps, he will give instructions for all such letters to be treated as if they were on His Majesty's Service?


It has hitherto been the practice of the Post Office to charge the recipient of letters written by soldiers from the front and unstamped with the sum of 1d. payable by the recipient of the letter. It has, however, been decided by the Government that in future all letters written by soldiers on active service may be sent to this country without any prepayment by the soldier, and without any charge being made upon the recipient of the letter. In other words, correspondence written by the soldier on active service to his relations or friends will be carried free of charge. This exemption from postage may be subject to the French Government refraining from making any charge for the conveyance of the mails to the sea.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain the latter part of his reply? He seemed to indicate that if the French Government refuse to carry letters from the troops to the sea it will be necessary to make a charge.


That is a hypothetical question, and I hope the position indicated will never arise.