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Lead bag seals WW1 - query

Started by Michael Dobbs, August 29, 2023, 08:23:48 PM

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Michael Dobbs

I have received the enquiry below from Belgium

I suspect that the letters HD do represent Home Depot (the only other potential alternative is Home Defence but I don't think that is appropriate for the BEF in France).

I am aware that in post-WW2 days the bag seals equated to FPO datestamp numbers, but I do not know the procedure in WW1.

Does anyone have any knowledge of FPO lead seals?

Thanks, Mike

[color=maroon]I got your website from someone at The Postal Museum.

I'm an archaeologist from Flanders and I work for the company RAAP. During a research in Vlamertinge, a borough of Ypres, we found some square lead seals. I did not find much about them on the internet, other than that they're lead seals from the General Post Office (they are called GPO bag seals).

During World War I there was a British depot and camp at the find location from 1917 onwards. Also, Vlamertinge is listed on a diagram of the mail routes as an army post office (POST47/1017). I therefore wondered if the seals could possibly be linked to this camp. On 2 of the bag seals it says "HD 26". At first I thought it the letters stood for Huddersfield but somebody from the Postal Museum pointed out that HD could also stand for "Home Depot". But I can't find anything about the number 26.

I was wondering if you have more knowledge about this? What could HD26 refer to? If you like I could send you a picture of the bag seals.

I would like to thank you for your answer on beforehand.[/color]

Geoff Hanney

The letters H.D. according to the references Post Office Circulars was 'Home Defence' when used for Army Post Office cancellers with (H.D.) and a number (or number a letter combination).

The Army Post Office did have a Home Depot which was located in London but cannot see where the number 26 would apply to this office. 

Kennedy & Crabb gives HD 26 as Brook Hill, Ipswich, Suffolk around May 1916.

Could the bags lead seals have been on incoming mail bags? Rather than for sealing outgoing bags. I assume it would be possible for the Army Post Office to have enough mail going to a single field post Office to seal it bag before sending to France especially if from the particular units home base (Location in U.K.) Which would still doing administrative tasks.

When looking through the Post Office Circulars recently did see refences to Lead seal in the WW1 period.  Unfortunely as did not appear to have any reference to Army Camps I past over it ,but when next go will see if can see find it again.