Canadian field post

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The focus of the article is on the use in Germany.

Canadian Field Post

The first field post deployment

The first Canadian field postmark appeared in 1886 on the occasion of a maneuver in Brockville in eastern Ontario . Further maneuvers with the participation of the field post followed from 1909 to 1911.

Canadian Field Post early stamps

The first foreign deployment of Canadian units that can be proven by stamps took place in South Africa from 1899 to 1901 . Cecil Rhodes , as prime minister of the Cape Colony , prepared the conquest of the Boer states that after the invasion Jameson in Transvaal in the Boer War was completed. A Canadian contingent involved in the fighting used two cachets for their service mail . However, the actual field post service was provided by the British Army .

The first Canadian contingent left Québec on October 30, 1899 . Reinforcements followed on January 21, 1900. These troops were accompanied by a postal department headed by Lieutenant (later Captain) W. R. Ecclestone of Hamilton, Ontario. On January 30, 1900, Ecclestone used an oval stamp "CANADIAN CONTINGENT / EN ROUTE / SOUTH AFRIKA" for the first letters that were exchanged on the Cape Verde Islands. "EN ROUTE" was later removed and the post was handed over to the international postal service via Cape Town.

For another mission, Postmaster General Hon. R. Lemieux opened Field Post Office 1 for the Canadian military on June 16, 1909 in a special ceremony on the occasion of the maneuver at Niagara Falls .

It was not until May 3, 1911, that the Canadian Postal Corps was set up as a special unit within the Canadian military. The new organization consisted of a post office at the headquarters in Toronto and a post office each in eight departments where a maneuver was held. These FPOs received their own stamps, which were only used during the summer maneuvers.

The varied stamps of the camps remained in use until they were withdrawn in the early days of the Second World War .

Stamp of the Canadian Field Post in the First World War

The First World War

Before the “1st Canadian Expeditionary Force” (COEF, with 33,000 men) set out for England on October 3, 1914 , the six “Canadian Postal Corps Detachments” and the troops were given special stamps. A total of eight stamps were used. These stamps were already in use at the beginning of September in the Valcartier warehouse in northern Québec and on the convoy ships to Plymouth. After arriving in England and France , the stamps were used very sparingly until they were completely withdrawn in March 1915. The Canadian contingent was integrated into the British army and with it the Canadian field post.

In February 1915, the first units of the 1st Canadian Division were relocated to France. They strengthened the Allied forces. The Canadian Postal Corps maintained 31 "Canadian Post Offices" within the British field post in Flanders. The stamps were given the distinguishing letter "X", it was used by the Canadian units until 1917. With the appearance of the 10th British Corps in France, it was necessary to change to the "P" in the stamp image. The Canadian troops had to supply up to 150,000 men, 100,000 of them with Canadian units. The 50,000 were deployed with British units and units and used the British FPOs. All British field postmarks are therefore also possible on post from Canadian combatants.

At the end of the war in 1918/19, the stamp of the Canadian field post offices changed to a "C". Not all units of the Canadian Corps actually use this stamp. Some field post offices were also closed, dissolved or destroyed by enemy attacks.

The Canadians stationed in England used the local post office. The special CFPO (Canadian Field Post Office) only existed in larger garrisons. a. as liaison offices for the management of letters and parcels from or to Canada. Canadian subsidiary postmarks are also known from hospitals with Canadian patients.

Stamp of the Canadian Field Post in use in Siberia

Canadian troops in Siberia

Canadian units (over 4,000 men) were also deployed in Russia ( Murmansk and Vladivostok ) at the end of 1918 . They helped the Russian White Army and the Czechoslovak Legion fight the Red Army . The following have become known: single-circle stamps, rectangular stamps and various censorship stamps. They are very rare.

Preparation for World War II

As the mobilization progressed, new field post offices were added in Canada. Numbers similar to our postcodes were used to identify the districts. Every camp, every barracks or station within a district was given a number with the district number in front. The camps in the Western Ontario district were given the numbers of the 100 series, the field post offices the numbers 101, 102, etc .; Alberta numbers of the 1,300 series.

During the Second World War, the CPC (Canadien Postal Corps) organized a new mail supply system for the army and air force. In Canada there were around 140 (MPO) military post offices (including 2 FPOs). The Royal Canadian Navy had its own naval post offices. These NPOs were also subordinate to the Post Office of the Royal Canadian Fleet (RCN) to supply the ships and the coast guard, a total of 25 NPOs were used.

Canadian Field Post postmark during World War II

The stamps were single-circle, double-circle or machine stamps for letters, roller or large rubber stamps for parcels or rubber hand stamps for registered items or postal orders.

The first stamps of the MPOs just like those of the NPOs only had numbers in the stamp image for security reasons. Since 1940 there was a Canadian field post outside the country. The CPC, “Canadian Postal Corps”, set up a special CAPO (“Canadian Army Post Office”) in Newfoundland in 1940, in Labrador in 1942 and in Kiska in the Aleutian Islands in 1942/43 . For a short time in September 1941 so-called "emergency stamps" were used in Newfoundland, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

In cooperation with the British fleet, a naval base was maintained in St. Johns, Newfoundland from May 1941 to July 1946. The base was called HMCS ("His Majesty Canadian Ship") AVALON. At least two FPOs are known. In addition to a single-circle stamp, a rubber stamp in the shape of a triangle "Postage Paid" from the Canadian postal administration was discounted.

The stamps of the military and other camps in both wars and the summer maneuvers and the air force stations do not quite fit into one scheme. Most of them were single-circle punches with a diameter of 23 or 24 mm. There were also large rubber stamps, as well as elliptical and machine stamps.

The second World War

With the beginning of the Second World War, the Canadian pre-war stamps continued to be used until 1941 and then withdrawn. They were single-circle punches with a diameter of 30 mm. Smaller single-circle punches with a diameter of 24 mm and machine punches (22 mm diameter and 54 mm long wavy lines) were temporarily used, some of which were in use until after the war.

Flag of the Canadian Associated Forces, with the country flag and coat of arms

Canadian units in Germany after World War II

The deployment of Canadian troops overseas was more extensive than anything that was necessary in previous missions. The Canadian Army was involved with five divisions. The Canadian contingent fought in the "British Liberation Army", ie in the army that landed in Normandy and conquered Germany, and in the Mediterranean region in the "Central Mediterranean Forces" (CMF).

Canadian troops also crossed the German border. For the time being, they only stayed until 1946. The following units were in use: The

  • 1st Canadian Infantry Division was relocated to England in 1939. The division was transferred to the Mediterranean region in June 1943 and participated in the landing in Sicily in July 43. In 1945 she returned to England from Italy to be assigned to the British Liberation Army.
  • 2nd Canadian Infantry Division arrived in England in August and September 1940. Even before the 1944 invasion, a Canadian commando operation broke out in France on August 19, 1942. As a dress rehearsal for the invasion, parts of the 2nd Canadian Division undertook the operation "Jubilee" in Dieppe. This company failed on the first day. Parts of this division were assigned to the British Liberation Army as the 1st Canadian Army in June 1944.
  • 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, relocated to England in the fall of 1941, was merged with the remainder of the 2nd Division in June 1944.
  • 4th Panzer Division reached England in autumn 1942, joined 1st Canadian Army in June 1944.
  • 5th Panzer Division, arrived in England in June 41, was relocated to the Mediterranean area in August 1941, landed in Naples in November 1943 and returned from Italy in March 1945 to be assigned to the BLA.

British field post offices were assigned to the Canadian Postal Service (CPC) and thus to supply the Canadian Active Service Forces (CASF) <Heer> and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) <Luftwaffe>. In addition to British field post equipment, our own Canadian single-circle stamps (3 types) as well as various machine and rubber stamps were used. At some field post offices there were several stamps at the same time, e.g. B. when the postal service of the army and air force worked together. Each unit was assigned a stamp with its own number. During this time, the Navy also set up its own Fleet Mail Offices.

Canadian field post mark in Germany during World War II

The three types of Canadian single-circle stamps are briefly explained here:

  • Type 1 introduced in 1942 for FPOs in England. Single-circle steel stamp with a diameter of 23.5 mm and a letter size of 3 mm.
  • Type 2 introduced 1944-45 for use in Northwest Europe, single-circle steel stamps with a diameter of 23 mm and a letter size of 3.5 mm.
  • Type 3 issued for use by the Independent Armored Brigades in Northwest Europe, in the same dimensions as Type 2

Type 4 machine stamp, issued June 1945 for use by the Canadian Army of Occupation in the Netherlands and Germany. The stamp was in use until June 1946. Circle diameter 20.5 mm, letter height 2 mm, length of the lines 50 mm, height of the line block 20 mm.

There is also a large single-circle stamp "FIELDPOST OFFICE", date "27 MAY 1944", "C5" of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, which was part of the 2nd CDN Division on 6./7. Landed in Normandy in July 1944 and came to Germany via France - Belgium and the Netherlands. The British FPO stamps had a diameter of 27 mm and a letter height of 2.5 mm. A letter (“A”, “B”) or an asterisk (*) has been incorporated into the stamp to distinguish between several stamps in one unit.

Canadian field postmark from 1950

Postmark from 1950

The use of the "Canadian Postal Corps" (CPC) overseas became necessary again in the 1950s with the beginning of the Cold War and the Korean conflict. For this reason it was reactivated on November 1, 1950. Initially two units of the “Royal Canadian Army Service Corps” (RCASC) were subordinate to him. The task of the CPC was to jointly manage all three overseas postal services. (Army, Navy and Air Force).

The new postal service used four digits for every regular field post office (CFPO = Canadian Field Post Office) if they were deployed overseas, as well as the abbreviation CAPO for "Canadian Army Post Office". These CAPO's were subordinate to CFPO. CAPOs and CFPOs had similar stamps and registration slips.

Since January 1, 1965, the inscription for all Canadian field post offices has been CFPO. Two or three-digit numbers were assigned to CFPO. A single-circle, a rubber hand and a roller stamp were issued for each CFPO. There are also machine stamps.

Canadian field post postmark after 1950

The numbers were reused after each use. The place of use can only be determined from the date. As an example this is the CAPO / CFPO No. 5000 called. It was initially in use at the HQ CIB in Kure, Japan, from May 7, 1951 to September 12, 1955. From May 16, 1960 to November 15, 1963 it was in Ottawa at the Canadian Forces HQ, served in Lahore in Pakistan from October 3, 1965 to March 25, 1966 with the UNIPOM of the UN troops and has now been on the 27th. March 1967 in Lahr at the HQ of the Canadian Forces in Europe.

One of the first Canadian units in Germany after the war was the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade, which ran the field post office CFPO 40 in Hanover from December 1, 1951 to December 7, 1953, and from December 2, 1951 to December 16, 1951 maintained the field post office 5050. At the same time there was a field post office (42) of this brigade from December 20, 1951 to March 31, 1952 in Hannover-Bothfeld, from December 24, 1951 to November 27, 1953 in Hohne (43), and from December 20, 1951 to March 31 1952 in Hanover-Vinnhorst (41).

The main supply port for all Canadian units in Europe is Antwerp. The post that is not sent by airmail also runs through Antwerp. Originally this mail went from Antwerp to the CAPOs and from there to the CFPOs.


  • APO = Army Post Office
  • ATAF = Allied Tactical Air Force
  • BAOR = British Army of the Rhine
  • BPO = Base Post Office
  • CAPO = Canadian Army Post Office
  • CBPO = Canadian Base Post Office
  • CEF = Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • CFE = Canadian Forces Europe
  • CFPO = Canadian Forces Post Office
  • CFPU = Canadian Forces Postal Unit
  • CIB (G) = Canadian Infantry Brigade Germany, CMBG = Canadian Mechanized Brigade German
  • COPD = Canadian Overseas Postal Depot
  • CPC = Canadian Postal Corps
  • DIV = division
  • FPO = Field Post Office
  • MPO = Military Post Office
  • NPO = Naval Post Office
  • RCAF = Royal Canadian Air Force
  • RCASC = Royal Canadian Army Service Corps
  • RCN = Royal Canadian Navy
  • SQN = Squadron
later Canadian field postmark

See also


  • WJ Bailey: Canadian Military Postmarks . The British Commonwealth Stamp Exchange, Ottawa 1978
  • WJ Bailey: The Canadian Military Posts. Volume 2, between the wars ans world war two - 1920 to 1946 . edited by EB Proud, Norfolk UK 1985.
  • WJ Bailey and ER Toop: Canadian Military Post Offices to 1986 . The Unitrade Press, Toronto 1987.
  • RW Gould: History of the British Army Postal Service. Volume III, 1927 - 1963 , EB Proud: 1982, Proud Bailey CO LTD, POBox 74,
  • Heathfield, East Sussex.
  • E. Wells: Mailshot, a history of the Forces Postal Service, 1987 , Privately published by the Defense Postal & Courier Services Royal Engineers.