Field post office
A Field Post Office is a post office set up during time of war or when a military unit is on manoeuvres. It is set up 'in the field', hence the name, however, FPOs may be on land or at sea. Their use pre-dates the introduction of postage stamps.


FPOs have a long history. The first British FPO was in 1808 during the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 and in 1840 the British Army used a FPO during the first Chinese War.

FPOs were also used extensively during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...



In the United States a close equivalent is the Army Post Offices (APOs), the Air Force Post Offices (AFPOs) and the Fleet Post Offices (FPO in the U.S.).

In Hungary the head FPO is known as the tabori fopostahivatal while a normal FPO is an tabori postahivatal.

Equivalent terms are in use in most countries with Field Post Offices.


Field Post Offices have special cancels and their mail is eagerly collected by philatelists, but the cancels are sometimes anonymised so that the place of posting is not revealed and this presents collectors with a challenge.

Further reading

  • Crouch, G. and Hill, N. British Army Field Post Offices 1939-1950: Locations and Assignments, 1951.
  • King, Christopher. "The Prussian Field Post-Relais in Denmark 1864: Mail in Denmark Handled by the Static Prussian Field Post Offices" in The Posthorn, Scandinavia Collectors Club, November 2007. Download link
  • Lowe, Robson. Indian Field Post Offices 1903-04, The Aden-Yemeni Boundary Commission, The Somaliland Field Force, Robson Lowe
    Robson Lowe
    John Harry Robson Lowe , Robbie to his friends, was an English professional philatelist, stamp dealer and stamp auctioneer.- Life and career :...

    , 1979. ISBN 0853971072.
  • Wagner, Ryszard. History of the Polish Army Postal Service, Middle East and Italy 1940-1948, Caldra House Limited, 1992.

External links

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