The book tells the story of the Post Office Rifles during the First World War. Originally formed at the end of the 19th Century to protect Post Office buildings from Irish Act of Terror, they later became part of the Territory Army and were mobilised at the onset of the First World War.
In 1914 the Post Office was the world's largest employer with over a quarter of a million employees and a great many joined the Rifles. Suddenly catapulted into conflict, ordinary postmen and messenger boys found themselves in the trenches of the Western Front, hoping that their own letters would reach home - and relying on the letters and parcels they received for comfort and much-needed boosts to morale. By the war's end 1,500 of them had been killed.
Using the personal stories, letters and diary entries of the men who joined the Post Office Rifles, this is a moving account of how the war touched the lives of ordinary people - how it changed communities, how women took up men's jobs, and of course, the vital role the mail played in winning the war. It tells the stories of the men in their own words which makes it very personal and immediate.
We come to know many of them by name: Frank Seddon, an eager young recruit from Bethnal Green; Bill Howell, a 19-year-old messenger who worked in Willesden sorting office; and Second Lieutenant Home Peel, a junior officer with a keen sense of responsibility for the men under his command.
Duncan Barrett's research for the book involved reading memoirs written by men who served with the Post Office Rifles, which are held at the Imperial War Museum and the British Postal Museum and Archive. He was in part inspired to write it after learning that his own great-great-uncle, Eric Layton, had fought alongside the Post Office Rifles, served in the war and fell at High Wood.
This interesting history of the Post Office Rifles is just one product in our large range of World War One collectibles. It includes a variety of items including a range of special stamps and coins to commemorate the Great War, the perfect items for collectors of history and all available at affordable prices from the Post Office Shop.
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