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What do the initials FM stand for

Started by Michael Dobbs, June 10, 2014, 10:21:13 AM

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Michael Dobbs

I have received an enquiry asking what the initials FM are for.  On the face of it this appears to be a simple question but I don't think I've seen a proper explanation (but I'm not a French military mail collector).

[color=maroon]I have a couple of postcards sent to UK from France in 1940 and instead of a stamp the sender has written "FM" I am guessing this is Forces Mail but would appreciate confirmation from you[/color]

As far as I can tell the initials stand for Franchise Militaire - but what is this in English please (we never had languages other than English in my school days)

French Military or Military Frank ?

Many thanks, Mike  :D

Robin Davis

Hello Mike,

As far as I am aware "FM" are the initials for "Franchise Militaire" which translates to "Military Free" and :) is the equivalent of the British "OAS".

Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards



FM presumably used as the writer was in France.

Frank Schofield

You find these initials on British mail from around Dunkirk, usually RNAS
Frank Schofield

Khalid Omaira

I found in a book written by William C. Robertson, titled "FREE FRENCH CENSORSHIP IN SYRIA" a cover with Franchise Militaire handwritten. The author states: ([b]"Franchise Militaire" indicates that it was free military mail; this is the source of the initials "FM" sometimes seen on French military covers[/b]). In another book written by him "SYRIA AND LEBANON - FREE FRENCH CENSORSHIP WORLD WAR II", he show two examples: A surface cover from Aleppo to Alexandria dated 27/11/41 with "FM" handwritten, and another one, surface from Damascus to Egypt with the same initial. The two covers without stamps, but with different censors types or cancels.

Colin Tabeart

David Trapnell, who has written several monographs for us, says FM = Franchise Militaire, which stands for free military postagel privilege - see page 2 of his "French Military Posts & Railways 1914-18", which we all have. Clearly the equivalent of the German "Feldpost".