Getting Mail to Millions in the Field


Soldiers on both sides were generally cut off from normal contact with their family and friends for very long periods of time. They were confined to very strictly defined portions of the front or rear areas and had no access to telephones or telegraphs, assuming they would have been helpful in the first place. If a Great War soldier wanted to keep in touch with his family, and indeed most did, they resorted to letter and post-card writing. And Great War soldiers were prodigious letter writers. In the French army alone it is estimated that each sldier received on average at least one letter, postcard or parcel a day from family, relations, friends or godmothers. Many even received up to 5 each day.

Military authories recognized that dependable and regular delivery of mail was a prerequisite to maintaining high morale. Accordingly much effort was put into efficiently organizing the military postal services. The media were very sympathetic and also contributed their bit by assuring the general public and soldiers of the excellent quality of the military postal services by publishing articles and photos.

The following collection of photos is taken from war-time magazines and books.


to a Text

Monster Mail

To a Collection of Photos

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left : coverpage of 'Sur le Vif' : picking up the mail from the trenches




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