Wednesday, December 15, 2010

George VI Inland Rates and Fees:
May 1 1940 - August 1945

(POST 2)

Inland postal rates increased on May 1, 1940 and remained stable into the 1950s. This article however only deals with war-time period mail starting from May 1, 1940. A future article will cover the rates and fees applicable during the post-war reign of George VI.

On May 1, 1940, inland letter, post card, and printed papers rates increased. Registration and Express Delivery fees were unchanged.

Colour Changes

The 1/2d. to 3d. denominations were printed in paler colours beginning in mid-1941. A future article will discuss this topic.


The letter rate was increased from 1 1/2d. to 2 1/2 d. on May 1, 1940.

London, May 1, 1940
"First Day of War-time Postage Rate"

Postage Stamp Centenary Commemoration

Durham to Darlington, July 4, 1940

Cable And Wireless Limited telegram confirmation copy
Newcastle-on-Tyne to South Shields, February 7, 1941

His Majesty's Forces at Home

The ordinary inland rates of postage and general regulations applied to mail addressed to persons serving with his Majesty's forces at home.

Maidstone, Kent, to military forces at home, May 17, 1942
2 1/2 d. inland letter rate
Advertising label attached to the 1 1/2 d. booklet stamp)

Consulate-General of the Netherlands

Re-used envelope from the Consulate-General of the Netherlands to Col-Ash, February 3, 1941

Merchant Navy Comforts Service "Paper Saver"

Glasgow to Bridge of Allan, March 25, 1944
Label permitting re-use of envelope

Re-Used Envelopes

Envelopes were re-used during the war as an economy measure. One method was to address the envelope on the reverse side. It was necessary, of course, to indicate to which address the letter was to be delivered. The two covers shown below show both sides of the envelope:

Letter originally mailed from Maidstone to local address, May 2, 1940
The envelope was re-used and "CANCELLED" handstamps applied

An addresses sticker was affixed to the back of the envelope. The re-used envelope was mailed to Tonbridge on May 7, 1940.

Letter from Huddersfield to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Leeds, March 3, 1945
The address was scratched out with a blue pencil with a P.T.O. notation

A government label was affixed to the back of the envelope and the re-used envelope was mailed from Leeds to Grassington, May 31, 1945

The British Council

The British Council was founded as an organ of internal propaganda. During the late 1920s an influential group of civil servants became convinced that "British" values of parliamentary democracy could be subsumed by the rising tide of fascism. Their response was the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries (1934), which became the British Council (1935). Particular Council initiatives included the teaching of English, but political messages always came with language lessons.

The British Council to Polish Maritime Department, London, October 4, 1943

R. Harkness & Company

R. Harkness & Company were rose breeders from Hitchen, Hertfordshire. The nursery was founded by brothers John and Robert Harnkness in 1879. Today (2010), the Harkness nursery is in the hands of the fourth generation, Philip and Robert Harkness.

Hitchen to Sheerness, May 4, 1944

The 1944 letter head lists some awards won by R. Harkness & Co.: The Championship and Coronation Trophies H.M. King George V H.M. Queen Mary Cups Edward Mayley And N.R.S. Gold Medals etc.
The awards continue to this day with the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal 2010 for Harkness Roses.

United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (U.N.R.R.A.)

The UNRRA was founded in 1943 to give economic and social aid to countries that were under German occupation during World War II. UNRRA, a division of the United Nations, was actually founded before the establishment of the United Nations, by an agreement signed by the delegates of 44 countries in Washington, on November 9, 1943.

UNRRA correspondence, London, December 22, 1944

Return Letter Office

Undeliverable letters without return addresses were processed at return letter offices. The letters were opened to determine the sender's address and sealed with a tape.

Sheffield to Birkenhead, April 4, 1944
Undelivered and sent to Liverpool Return Letter Office
Sender's address written on the back of the envelope and forwarded to Sheffield
Liverpool RLO postmark April 11, 1944

Return Letter Office, Liverpool

Postage Due

Southport to Southall, May 20, 1940
2 1/2 d. letter rate
Shortpaid 1 d. and taxed 2 d.

Cardiff to London, April 26, 1941
Unpaid and taxed 5 d. (double the deficiency(
London cancel on due label, April 28, 1941

London to Farnham, January 17, 1942
Due labels cancelled at Farnham, January 18, 1941

Woolwich to London, December 17, 1941
Shortpaid 1d. and charged 2d.

Staines local letter, January 13, 1943
Shortpaid 1 d. and taxed 2 d.

Potton to Birmingham, June 9, 1941
3 1/2d. letter rate (3rd weight step)
Shortpaid 1 1/2d. and taxed 3 d.
Birmingham cancel on 3d. due label, June 30, 1941

Railway Letters

Under agreement with the Post Office several railway companies accepted and conveyed letters. Postage at the appropriate inland rate had to be prepaid.

London Midland and Scottish Railway

Liverpool to Eastmoor, September 1, 1943
Railway fee 4d.

Railway label

Express Delivery From Station of Address

Railway letters could be specifically delivered by Post Office Messenger from the station of address.

Express service requested

Inland Air Mail

Liverpool/ Glasgow - Belfast

The Liverpool/Glasgow - Belfast air mail service was introduced on September 1, 1941. The fee was 3 d. per 8 ounces in addition to the regular postage.  This was the only inland air mail service provided by the Post Office which had an additional charge.

Belfast to Glasgow, January 17, 1945
2 1/2 d. letter rate + 3 d. air mail charge

Great Western and Southern Air Lines (G.W. & S. Air Lines):
Land's End-Isles of Scilly

G.W. & S. Air Lines was formed in December 1938 by Railway Air Services to fly its southern and midland routes and to link the provinces' towns. All of the company's services services were stopped during the war except the 29 mile flight between Land's End and the Isles of Scilly.

Prepaid l etters carried by G.W. & S. Air Lines were charged a 4 d. fee. The fee was payable in cash before transmission. Payment was noted by a handstamp.

Isles of Scilly to Penzance via G.W. & S. Air Lines
4d. fee charged by G.W. & S. Air Lines
Posted at Penzance, October 22, 1943

G.W. & S. handstamp
Paid "4d."

Post Cards

The inland post card rate increased from 1d. to 2d. on May 1, 1940

Aberdeen to Goff's Oak, January 10, 1961

Bracknell to London, July 4, 1940


Beeston to Southborough, December 11, 1940
Shortpaid 1 d. and charged 2 d.
Due label cancelled December 14, 1940

Portsmouth & Southsea to Rumney, August 12, 1945
Shortpaid 1 1/2d. and taxed 3d.

Printed Papers

The inland printed papers rate increased from 1/2 d. to 1 d. on May 1, 1940

Brighton local mail, September 13, 1941
1 d. printed papers rate
(Brighton Transorma ident "3" in red)

Leeds to Newark-on-Trent, January 7, 1944
George Angus & Co., Limited perfin ( G A / & Co)

Ipswich to Saxmundham, March 31, 1942

Paper Shortages

Paper shortages during the war resulted in the manufacture of envelopes from non-traditional paper sources. The envelope below was made from a poster. A further economy in this case was the re-use of the envelope.

The envelope was first mailed from Manchester to a local address, August 5, 1942.
An addressed label was affixed to the envelope to cover the original address and mailed to Ashton under Lyne on September 10, 1942.


London to Alnwick, January 11, 1941
Glyn Mills & Co. stationery and G M perfin on the 1/2 d. stamp

Metropolitan Water Board, London stationery, February 26, 1941

Re-Used Envelopes

The cover shown below shows use of both sides of the envelope.

Wakefield to Manchester, September 26, 1940
"SEE OTHER SIDE' was handstamped over the address.

The new address was typed on the back and mailed from Manchester to London on November 22, 1940


A charge equal to the printed papers rate was levied for returned undeliverable printed papers.

Hindhead, Surrey to Cross Keys, Kent, July 3, 1940
Sent first to Cross Keys then forwarded (July 6, 1940) to Kent (Turbridge Wells)
Turbridge Wells machine cancellation July 8, 1940

Undeliverable and returned to sender
Charged 1 d., due labels cancelled July 12, 1940

Interesting manuscript notation:

Return to..
And tell them there's a War on

Penzance to Carmathen, Undated machince cancellation 609 triangle
Undeliverable and returned from Carmathen April 2 , 1943
1 d. charge. Postage due label cancelled Penzance April 5, 1943


The registration fee (minimum) was 3 d.

Mail to ROF Chorley

Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) Chorley was a goverment-owned munitians filling factory. The factory employed over 1,000 production workers by the outbreak of the Second World War. By June 1940, the numbers employed there had risen to nearly 15,000. At its war-time peak, ROF Chorley had over 28,000 employees.

London to Chorley, February 8, 1941
2 1/2d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee

Olney to Eastwood, June 20, 1942
6 d. paying the 3 d. letter rate (up to 4 ounces) + 3 d. registration fee

Compulsory Registration

Packets containing coins or jewellery, and also packets bearing the word Registered or rectangular cross, if not handed to an officer of the Post Office were subjected to a charge on delivery with a fee of 6d. less any amount prepaid in excess of postage.

Earby to Skipton, March 25, 1944
Contained coins and compulsorily registered at Skipton, the receiving office
6 d. registration fee - due labels cancelled March 30, 1944

C.R. (Compulsory Registration)
6d to pay

Instructional label advising that the packed was compulsorily registered because it contained coins.

Edinburgh to Newport, April 11, 1944
Posted Out of Course handstamp , i.e. posted in letter box rather than at the Post Office. Registration label affixed by the Edinburgh R.L.O.

8 1/2 d. : 2 1/2 d. letter rate + 6 d. compulsory registration fee

Charged 3 d. since 5 1/2d. prepaid

Merstham to Headington, September 23, 1944
 Registered Letter  mailed in a letter box

Posted Out of Course , i.e. posted in letter box rather than at the Post Office. Registration label affixed by the Merstham post office.

8 1/2 d. : 2 1/2 d. letter rate + 6 d. compulsory registration fee
Amount due was 3d. since the amount prepaid was 5 1/2d.

Acknowledgment of Delivery

The sender of any registered postal packet could arrange at the office of posting, either at the time of posting or subsequently, for an advice of its delivery to be sent to the sender. The fee was 3d., which was payable by means of stamps affixed by the sender to a form provided for the purpose. 

Advise of Delivery of a registered letter mailed from Beverley to Hull on February 19, 1940
3d. Advise of Delivery fee paid

Express Delivery

The express delivery fee was 6d.

  Epsom to Canadian Corps Headquarters, London, March 11, 1942
2 1/2 d. letter rate + 6 d. registration fee

Hartley to Canadian Corps Headquarters, London, August 24, 1943
2 1/2 d. letter rate + 6 d. registration fee

Express and Registered

London to Sterling, March 19 1942
2 1/2d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee + 6d. express fee

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