Bush War: Military Post Office (M.P.O.)
Military Post Office (M.P.O.)
The start and escalation of the Bush or Terrorist war in Rhodesia required the establishment of a specific postal service to suit the special requirements of the service members and those who wished to communicate with them, as the existing postal network did not operate in the remote and hostile environments service members were often located in.
In collaboration with the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, the Military Post Office (MPO) was established in February 1974, serving Operation Hurricane in the north and north east of Rhodesia, which grew and became more complex with time and the escalation of the war.
Service members received, upon call-up, specially printed M.P.O. labels which they were required to complete. A ‘specimen’ label would be given to any member of the general public who wished to communicate with them. On this label was indicated their regimental number, name and initials, company and unit. Additional completed labels were then affixed to any postal article, charged and posted in the normal way.
All postal items bearing such labels were, initially, sorted and delivered to 2 Brigade Headquarters, Old Cranborne Barracks. They were then sorted there and delivered to sub MPO’s in the operational areas. Should it be required, they were further delivered into the field by whatever Military Transport was available.
The system was expanded into the Operation Thrasher area in the eastern border district, then into Operation Repulse in the Fort Victoria area, with a corresponding increase in sub MPO’s and delivery networks.
The system of MPO’s catered for all postal articles addressed TO service members. Mail FROM service members were sent without charge, and required the endorsement ‘Forces Mail’ and relevant unit handstamp.
A far more detailed explanation of this service can be found in the article written by Cecil Russell, available through www.rhodesia.co.za.
Military Post Office
- Bulawayo – Operation Tangent
- Salisbury – Operation Hurricane
- Umtali – Operation Thrasher
- Fort Victoria – Operation Repulse
- Gwelo – Operation Grapple
- Terrence Devine