There are something over 100,000 war memorials in this country and around 300 memorials are dedicated to Post Office staff.

One of the 75,000 post office employees who served in the First World War was my grandfather, Thomas Pybus, a telegraphist. He regaled me in the 1940s with exotic tales of Black Mamba snakes from his time in East Africa at war with the German colonies. When the war began the Post Office was the largest single employer in the world – over 250,000. On the outbreak of war a letter was sent encouraging every male employee to volunteer. 11,000 responded immediately and by December 1914 28,000 had signed on.

The Shrewsbury Post Office War Memorial is mounted on the wall at the sorting office, Castle Foregate. The inscription reads:

Erected by their colleagues to the memory of the undermentioned officers of the Shrewsbury postal district who fell in the Great War 1914-1918.

  • R.S. Calliers, Wilts. Regt.
  • G.D. McAlister
  • J. Duncan, Tanks Corps
  • S.M. S. Hall, Manchester Regt.
  • W.H. Fishwick
  • J. George
  • W. Hand
  • W.J. Lewis M.M.
  • H. Millman
  • F.E. Jones, Scottosh Rifles
  • Jones
  • J. Crewe
  • A. Davies
  • R. Grove
  • P.R. Edwards
  • G.H. Evans
  • H. Gwilt
  • C. Stewart, Royal Scots
  • G. Simkiss
  • A. Morris

The British Postal Museum & Archive, with the Royal Mail Group, has recorded and transcribed the memorials and created a searchable database of their records.

A free British Postal Museum & Archive exhibition Last Post: Remembering the First World War, which explores the impact of 1914-18 on the Post Office, its people and the contribution of postal communications to the war effort. It is on display until Friday 27 March 2015 at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, adjacent to Enginuity in the Ironbridge Gorge, see our events listings for further details.

Keith Pybus