The PCS Archive, held in the Royal Engineers Museum, is one of the largest of its kind in the world and contains; documents, pictures, photographs and artefacts appertaining to over a 120 years of military postal & courier history. It was given over to the Museum by the Defence Postal & Courier Services Agency in 1999.
The objective of maintaining this archive is to preserve, for future generations, the history of the military Postal & Courier Services from its origins to 1993. It also provides artefacts for permanent display in the RE Museum and a resource for historical research.
We are constantly adding to the archive. Should you have any medal(s), document(s), photograph(s), or postal artefact(s) that you would like to gift to the RE Museum, please contact the RE Museum Curator or the Chairman FoREM PCS Subcommittee. Keeping our history alive!
Friends of the Royal Engineers Museum (FoREM)
FoREM was founded in 1987 to support the RE Museum. Members enjoy free admision to the Museum for themselves and a family guest, as well as, a free annual newsletter. They help the Museum by raising funds, researching and sponsoring exhibitions.
FoREM PCS Subcommittee
The Chairman of the FoREM PCS Subcommittee, Simon Fenwick is a member of the Executive committee of FoREM and acts as the PCS Representative to the RE Museum. The PCS Subcommittee is charged with the responsibility of raising funds, gathering together material, conducting research for the PCS displays and PCS Archive.
FoREM PCS Appeal (funding)
The FoREM PCS Appeal was established in 2000 to raise funds for the preservation of the PCS Archive and to pay for permanent PCS displays in the RE Museum. If you would like to make a donation please download the Gift Aid Form (57kb) and the Direct Debit Form (99kb) and then complete and send to the address on the forms.
The Royal Engineers Museum was first established in 1912 at Brompton Barracks, Chatham. It moved to the Ravelin Building, its present home, in 1986 and was opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on 20 May 1987.
In 1999 the museum was designated as “a museum of an outstanding collection”, one of only three private military museums in the country to be so recognised.
Click here for more information – Royal Engineers Museum
The RE Museum houses one of the most extensive British military medal collections in the world.
It is the policy of the Museum to accept any medal awarded to a member of the Corps of Royal Engineers, for inclusion in the Collection and eventual display in the Medal room.
FoREM has obtained an agreement from the Museum to extend this policy to members of the ATS and WRAC (Postal) who served with RE Postal Units.
Postal & Courier Services Exhibitions in the RE Museum
Through the work of both FoREM and the Museum permanent Postal & Courier Services displays are being erected in the Museum’s galleries. Currently the follow exhibitions have been established:
- Victorian 1854-85 Opened on 20 Feb 2004 by Brig Peter Maggs CBE, CE BFPO.
- Opening of the Victorian Display by Brig Peter Maggs, attended by the RE Museum Curator and President of the FPHS
- Contains: This exhibition covers the postal arrangements for the Crimean War (1854-6), the founding of the Army Post Office Corps by Col du Plat Taylor, the Egyptian Expedition (1882), and the Sudan campaign (1885).
- Artefacts: Two covers (envelopes) from the Crimean War, photographs, the Binoculars belonging to Col du Plat Taylor and a water bottle from the the Egyptian Expedition (1882), and the Sudan campaign (1885).
- First World War 1914-18 – Opened on 5 May 2000 by Brig Barry Cash, CEO Defence Postal & Courier Services Agency (MOD).
- Contains: Circulation maps, photographs of Army Post Offices/Field Post Offices in Flanders and Salonica, WAAC (QMAAC).
- Artefacts: Hardtack biscuit sent from the Western front through the APS system. Examples of covers and Field Post Cards.
- Second World War 1939-45 – Opened 10 May 2002 by Sir Iain Vallance, President of CBI and son of Lt Col ET Vallance RE 2i/c of the Home Postal Centre RE during WW2.
- Contains: Circulation maps, photographs of Army Post Offices/Field Post Offices in England, Middle East, Burma, Drawings by Maj G Dennison RE.
- Artefacts: WW2 ATS tunic (kindly donated by Barbara Danter). Examples of Air Letter Forms, Airgraphs (both Postal innovations), Telegrams and covers. Nazi date stamp.
- Post-world war This exhibition consists of information boards about PCS, examples of some covers and a lindholme container.
Exhibitions to be planned and erected:
- Anglo-Boer war 1899-1902
- Post-World War 1945-93
- These exhibitions still require funding, researching and gathering of material.
Postal historical sources/books
Wells E: Mailshot – The History of the Forces Postal & Courier Services (DPCS, London, 1987) – This is the official history of the PCS.
Anson Maj DP: A Short History of the Royal Engineers (Institute of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1993).
Baker R: Burma Post – A personal story of air mails and other activities in the Burma campaign, 1944-1945 (Churchman, Worthing, 1989).
Batten AGM: Proceedings of the Army Post Office Corps in South Africa 1899-1902 (PFSA, Bloemfontein, 1983).
Boyden PB: Tommy Atkins Letters – The History of the British Army Postal Service from 1795 (National Army Museum, London, 1990).
Holmes Brig KS : Operation Overlord – History of the work of the Army postal service in relation to Overlord (Postal History Society No 38, London 1984).
Jay B: Early Forces Mail (Stuart Rossiter Trust Fund, London, 1997).
Kennedy A, Crabb G: The Postal History of the British Army in World War 1 – Before and after 1903 to 1929 (George Crabb, Epsom, 1977).
Messenger C: Terriers in the Trenches – The History of the Post Office Rifles’ (Picton, Bristol, 1982).
Proud EB ed: History of British Army Postal Service Vol I 1882-1903 (Proud-Bailey, Heathfield, 1982).
Proud EB: History of British Army Postal Service Vol II 1903-1927 (Proud-Bailey, Heathfield, 1980).
Proud EB: History of British Army Postal Service Vol III 1927-1963 (Proud-Bailey, Heathfield, 1982).
Stitt Dibden WG: Postage Rates of HM Forces 1795-1899 (Postal History Society, London 1963).
Maj I Winfield: The Posties went to War (Square One, Worcester, 1990) – A personal account of the postal arrangements for the Falklands campaign 1982.
History of the Corps Royal Engineers (1885-1914)- Vol IV (Institute of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1952).
History of the Corps Royal Engineers (1938-48)- Vol VIII (Institute of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1958).
History of the Corps Royal Engineers (1948-60)- Vol X (Institute of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1986).
History of the Corps Royal Engineers (1960-80)- Vol XI (Institute of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1993).
Cleft Stick – Newsletters of the Defence Postal & Courier Officers Association.
The Posthorn – Newsletters of the PCS Branch REA
Newsletters of the Forces Postal History Society.