Canadian mail arriving behind the firing line | National Library of Scotland

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Soldiers unloading sacks of Canadian mail from a canvas-topped truck. The men are taking the sacks into a building, most likely for sorting. Letters provided soldiers with a vital link to home and the outside world.

The ability of the soldiers to communicate with home was never seriously interrupted during the war; by 1918, the Postal Services, Royal Engineers employed 2,500 men and women, and by 1920 had handled 320,409 tons of letters and parcels for the troops in France and Belgium alone.

Original reads: ‘Canadian mail arriving behind the firing line.’

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About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
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