A letter from a Polish soldier, in the Polish 1st Armoured Division, written to his bank just as they were preparing to invade Germany.
This cover bears a postmark of a British Field Post Office 252. This postmark was
allocated, from June 1944 till sometime in 1946, to the Polish Forces attached
to the British Liberation Army. It was posted on 27 March 1945 and has an Edinburgh arrival postmark of 2 April 1945.
On the reverse side is the name of the sender, which appears to be Paweł Kozudius, and his postal cryptonym P/40
P/40 S was the postal cryptonym for "Dowódca Oddziałów Technicznych Polskiej 1 Dywizji
Pancernej" - Technical Units Headquarters Polish 1st Armoured Division.
From the brief history, below, one can see that this letter was posted when
the Polish Forces were somewhere in northern Holland preparing to enter into
northern Germany near Emden.
As there is no content it's not possible to tell what the soldiers would have been writing about to the bank.
But it does make one wonder!
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POLISH 1ST ARMOURED DIVISION 1944 - 1945
The Polish 1st Armoured Division (Polska 1 Dywizja Pancerna) was an
Allied military unit created in February 1942 in Scotland. It was commanded
by General Stanisław Maczek and at its peak numbered approximately 16,000
After landing at Caen in Normandy at the end of July 1944, the Division
was involved in a number of offensive operations along the coast of Northern
France, in Belgium and then Holland. The Division spent the winter of 1944 -
1945 on the south bank of the river Rhine, guarding a sector around Moerdijk,
Netherlands. In early 1945, it was transferred to the province of Overijssel
and started to push with the Allies along the Dutch-German border, liberating
the eastern parts of the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen including the
towns of Emmen, Coevorden and Stadskanaal.
In April 1945, the 1st Armoured entered Germany in the area of Emsland.
On 6 May, the Division seized the Kriegsmarine naval base in Wilhelmshaven,
where General Maczek accepted the capitulation of the fortress, the naval base,
the East Frisian Fleet and more than 10 infantry divisions. There the Division
ended their offensive operations and, joined by the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade,
undertook occupation duties until they were disbanded in 1947. They then returned to the UK.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain, 1939-49
by George K Kay & Ron Negus, J Barefoot Ltd, 1999, 250pp, ISBN 0906845521 This book covers the system operated by the Polish Government in
Exile in London and its maritime agencies, Polish and British field post
offices and the undercover sending of mail via Portugal and other countries.
This book also contains a full list of all the postal cryptonyms used by the Polish Forces during WWII.
A Priced Checklist of British Army & Field Post Offices 1939 -1946
by Charles R Entwistle, Chavril Press, 1988, 36pp