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Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

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Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby PeterP » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:10 pm

Hi all
My great-grandfather worked for the Post Office at Mount Pleasant all his working life, and would have been 26 at the outbreak of WW1. We have no artefacts from any wartime service he may have done, nor can I find any records of him. Given the sort of amazing stats that 9 million letters came home from the Western front every week, does anyone know if a postal worker would have been a protected occupation?

Many Thanks
Pete
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RE: Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby ksouthall » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:13 am

Hello Peter,
My great-great-uncle, Albert Victor Edward Terry, was born in 1887. When he left school in about 1904, he became a postman in his home town, Brighton. He joined the 8th Battalion of the London Regiment, known as the Post Office Rifles, some time during World War I. He was enlisted at Brighton and was a Company Sergeant Major by the time of his marriage in 1915.
Unfortunately, he was killed in action on 30th October 1917.
Post Office Riflemen fought at Ypres and at Passchendaele and suffered tremendous losses. More than half of their fighting force was lost at the Battle of Wurst Farm Ridge in September 1917. They lost 1,800 and 4,500 men were wounded by the end of the War. Sergeant Alfred Knight was the only member of the Post Office Rifles to be awarded a Victoria Cross, which re received for his bravery at the Battle of Wurst Farm Ridge, Alberta Section, Ypres on 20 September 1917.
There is a very helpful website which has information about postal workers who served in the army, which can be found at [link=http://postalheritage.org.uk/history/war/por]http://postalheritage.org.uk/history/war/por[/link].
In general, I don't think postal worker was a protected occupation however people working at Mount Pleasant may have been a special case as I believe it is a major London sorting office.
It is possible that your great-grandfather did serve in World War I but the records may have been destroyed. Alternatively, he may have been exempted if he was vital for the war effort back home or if he had a medical condition. My grandfather suffered from asthma so was not conscripted.
If you could provide some basic information about your great-grandfather, I could try a few searches to find out whether or not he fought in World War I.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Katherine

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RE: Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby PeterP » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:06 am

Thanks for the reply.

He was Edward James Leigh Parsons, born 1887 in Lambeth. He married Amy Schooling in 1912

Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

Pete
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RE: Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby paulberyl » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:50 am

The position on reserved occupations in the First World war is an interesting one. Whilst certain occupations were classed as reserved: railway workers, miners, farm workers, hospital workers, dockers: individuals, or more commonly their employers, could apply to have a specific emmployee exempt from military duty as being essential to their trade. Thus there is the story of the men's outfitters who asked for their employee to be excused military service on the basis that all their other pre-war employees had enlisted and been replaced by women and this was now their only employee who could take inside leg measurments!

Paul
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RE: Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:43 pm

Paul,
Thanks for the information about protected occupations. My great-grandfather, Harry Terry, was an engineer originally from Brighton, however he was head-hunted and moved to Luton, Bedfordshire, either shortly before or early on in World War I, as he was needed for the war effort.
If he hadn't moved, I wouldn't be here and nor would the rest of my branch of the family.
Apparently, he never talked about his family from Brighton and my mum and aunt did not know that his younger brother, Albert, had joined the Post Office Rifles and subsequently been killed in action.
It shows that we are all here by chance movements and meetings that our ancestors had.
Katherine
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RE: Postal worker - protected occupation in WW1?

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:00 pm

Peter,
I have checked the British Army Service Records for World War I on Ancestry but there were no records relating to your great-grandfather on there.
This could either be because he did not serve or because his records were destroyed in the Blitz of World War II.
To find out more about his work in the postal service, the first option you have is to ask any older family members if they have any recollections or artefacts relating to his work. As he was your great-grandfather, there may be second cousins who you have not yet had chance to speak to who may have some useful information.
The other alternatives are to visit the [font=arial][color=navy][size=2]The British Postal Museum & Archive, [/size][/color][/font][font=arial][color=navy][size=2]Freeling House, [/size][/color][/font][font=arial][size=2][color=navy]Phoenix Place[/color][color=navy], [/color][color=navy]London[/color][color=navy], WC1X 0DL [font=verdana][color=#000000]or try their website [/color][/font][/color][/size][/font][font=arial][color=#0066cc][size=2][u]www.postalheritage.org.uk[/u].[/size][/color][/font][font=arial][color=#0066cc][size=2]
They also provide a [/size][/color][/font][font=arial][color=navy][size=2]Family History research Service. This costs £30, and they will check their records for you and send you the relevant photocopies. [/size][/color][/font][font=arial][color=navy][size=2]To request this service, email [u][color=#0000ff]richard.wade@postalheritage.org.uk[/color][/u].[/size][/color][/font]
[font=arial][color=navy][size=2]I have a document explaining which sources are checked and a research order form but do not know how to upload them to the forum. If anyone knows how to upload files, please let me know.[/size][/color][/font]
[font=arial][color=navy][size=2]Thanks,[/size][/color][/font]
[font=arial][color=navy][size=2][/size][/color][/font][font=arial][color=navy][size=2]Katherine[/size][/color][/font]
[font="times new roman"][color=navy][size=3][/size][/color][/font]
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