The Role of the Women

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  • In 1913 each person (on average) posted 66 letters a year.
  • During the war the Home post office storehouse handled 2 billion letters and 114 million parcels.
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In the early 1900s, post in towns and cities was delivered by men. If there were shortages of postmen in the countryside, women were sometimes allowed to step in. In general, women were confined to working at the post office counter, selling stamps and dealing with customers.
Postal changes
When war was declared in 1914, every postman was sent a letter encouraging him to go to war. As a result, from 1914 to 1916, 35,000 women went to work for the Post Office to take up the men's places. The women we responsible for ensuring large numbers of letters and postcards from soldiers on the front line reached their family and friends as well as other correspondence including letters and parcels sent to the men on the front line.
Women censors
Women were also employed by the Post Office to monitor letters sent to countries around the world to ensure none of them included information that could be useful to the enemy. When information is changed in this way it is called censorship. Hundreds of women acting as Post Office censors spoke more than one language so that they were able to read letters from different countries.
Women working for the Post Office also arranged for the payment of the Separation Allowance. This was money which the government paid to support the wives of men who were away at war.