A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine

Australian and New Zealand Field Post Offices
in Palestine and the Occupied Enemy Territories

Australian and New Zealand troops served in the Near East theatre for most of the war. The first battalions of the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force arrive in Egypt on 3.12.1914. Initially in transit for Europe they become Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on 21.12.1914:

Divisions

Datestamps

  • New Zealand and Australian Division
    Formed from New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 1 Australian Light Horse Brigade, and 4 Australian Infantry Brigade in January 1915 in Cairo. After its evacuation from the Dardanelles in December 1915 it serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences and in March 1916 most troops become New Zealand Division.
The datestamp used at HQ was HEADQUARTERS / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION (25.01.1915--4.09.1915 and 6.02.1916--27.02.1916). The brigades used:
  • MOUNTED BRIGADE / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION
  • INFANTRY BRIGADE / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION
  • 1ST AUST. L.H. BDE. FIELD P. O.
  • 1ST L.H. BDE. / DETAILS F. P. O.
  • 4th AUST. INF. / BGDE. / FIELD P.O.
  • New Zealand Division
    Formed on 1.03.1916 from troops in New Zealand and Australian Division: 1 New Zealand Brigade (the former New Zealand Infantry Brigade), 2 New Zealand Brigade, and New Zealand Rifle Brigade. This division serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences at Ferry Post and sails for France in April 1916.
The datestamp used at HQ was HEADQUARTERS / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION (6.03.1916--5.04.1916). The brigades used:
  • INFANTRY BRIGADE / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION
  • NEW ZEALAND / RIFLE / BRIGADE / FIELDPOST OFFICE
  • NEW ZEALAND / 2ND INF / BRIGADE / FIELD POST OFFICE
  • DIVISIONAL TRAIN / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. & A. DIVN
  • 1 Australian Division
    Joins ANZAC upon its creation. After its evacuation from the Dardanelles in December 1915 it serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences. In February 1916 some troops become 4 Australian Division and 5 Australian Division, the remainder sails for France in March 1916.
The datestamp used at HQ was 1ST AUST. DIV. FIELD P.O. (8.12.1914--11.01.1915 and 2.02.1916--13.03.1916). The brigades used:
  • 1ST AUST. INF. BDE. FIELD P.O.
  • 2ND AUST. INF. BDE FIELD P.O.
  • 3RD AUST. INF. BDE. FIELD P.O
  • 1ST AUST. DIVISIONAL / TRAIN / FIELD P.O.
  • 2 Australian Division
    Formed 26.07.1915. After its evacuation from the Dardanelles in December 1915 it serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences. It sails for France in March 1916.
The datestamp used at HQ was 2ND AUST. DIV. / H.Q. / FIELD P.O. (1.03.1916--18.04.1916). The brigades used:
  • 5TH INF. BDE. / FIELD P.O
  • 6TH INF. BDE. / FIELD P.O
  • 7TH INF. BDE. / FIELD P.O
  • 2ND AUST. DIV. TRAIN / FIELD P.O.
  • 2 Australian Light Horse Brigade
    Joins as Anzac Corps troops on 1.02.1915 and serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences. On 16.03.1916 it joins Anzac Mounted Division in the newly created II Anzac Corps.
The datestamps used were LH BDE FIELD PO 2 AUST (11.01.1916--03.1916) and 2 AUST LH BDE FIELD P O (5.02.1916--03.1916).

The corps headquarter moves from Shepherd's Hotel, Cairo to the Dardanelles in April 1915, returns to Tel el-Kebir in January 1916 and moves to Ismailia in February 1916. The datestamp used at HQ was AUST. & N.Z. ARMY CORPS / HEADQUARTERS / FIELD P.O. (31.03.1915--8.04.1915 and --.12.1915--24.04.1916).
In April 1916 the Corps leaves for France where it becomes 1 Anzac Corps.

The remaining troops are formed into II Anzac Corps on 2.03.1916:

Divisions

Datestamps

  • Australia and New Zealand Mounted Division (Anzac Mounted Division)
    Formed 16.03.1916 at Serapeum from 1 Australian Light Horse Brigade, 2 Australian Light Horse Brigade, 3 Australian Light Horse Brigade, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and parts of the disbanded 4 Australian Light Horse Brigade. It serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences.
The datestamp used at HQ were FIELD POST OFFICE / M.D.1 (27.04.1916--06.1916). The brigades used:
  • 1ST AUST. L.H. BDE. FIELD P. O.
  • LH BDE FIELD PO 2 AUST
  • 2 AUST LH BDE FIELD P O
  • 3RD LIGHT HORSE / A.I.F. / FIELD POST OFFICE
  • MOUNTED BRIGADE / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION
  • 4 Australian Division
    The former 4 Australian Infantry Brigade serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences and in June 1916 sails for France.
The datestamp used at HQ was FIELD POST OFFICE / D.A.N.4 (17.04.1916--30.05.1916). The train used FIELD POST OFFICE / T.A.N.4 (15.03.1916--30.05.1916). The brigades used:
  • 4th AUST. INF. / BGDE. / FIELD P.O.
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / A.N.12
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / A.N.13
  • 5 Australian Division
    Formed in February 1916 from 8 Australian Brigade and parts of 1 Australian Brigade and 2 Australian Brigade. It serves in 2 Section Suez Canal Defences and in June 1916 sails for France.
The datestamp used at HQ was FIELD POST OFFICE / D.A.N.5 (27.04.1916--13.06.1916). The train used FIELD POST OFFICE / T.A.N.5 (17.05.1916--30.05.1916). The brigades used:
  • 8TH AUS. INF. BDE. / FIELD P.O
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / A.N.8
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / A.N.14
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / A.N.15

II Anzac Corps leaves for France on 7.06.1916, only the mounted formations remain in theatre. At its HQ it used datestamp FIELD POST OFFICE / MH2 (March--June 1916).

Divisions

Datestamps

    In June 1916 Anzac Mounted Division is transferred to 3 Section Suez Canal Defences, joins Desert Column on 7.12.1916 and Desert Mounted Corps in August 1917.
    After briefly becoming Palestine Line of Communication troops at Rafa in January 1919, the division moves to Kantara where it gets disbanded on 1.07.1919.
The datestamps used at HQ were FIELD POST OFFICE / M.D.1 (--.06.1916--3.04.1917), FIELD POST OFFICE / DM1 (17.05.1917--4.08.1917), and FIELD POST OFFICE / D.M.1 (16.08.1917--1.02.1919). The train section used FIELD POST OFFICE / MDT1 (15.06.1916--4.02.1917), ARMY POST OFFICE / TM1 (22.05.1917--22.06.1917), and FIELD POST OFFICE / T.M.1 (4.07.1917--7.07.1919). The brigades used:
  • 1ST AUST. L.H. BDE. FIELD P. O.
  • 1ST L.H. BDE. / DETAILS F. P. O.
  • 2 AUST LH BDE FIELD P O
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / LH2
  • LH BDE FIELD PO 2 AUST
  • 3RD LIGHT HORSE / A.I.F. / FIELD POST OFFICE
  • MOUNTED BRIGADE / FIELD / POST OFFICE / N.Z. DIVISION
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / NZ
  • FIELD POST OFFICE / N.Z.
    3 Australian Light Horse Brigade and the reformed 4 Australian Light Horse Brigade subsequently serve in:
    • Imperial Mounted Division (January to June 1917)

    which then becomes
    • Australian Mounted Division (from June 1917)
    There they are joined in August 1918 by the newly formed 5 Australian Light Horse Brigade.
    By August 1919 all troops have left for Australia.

The datestamps used at Imperial Mounted Division HQ were FIELD POST OFFICE / MD2 and FIELD POST OFFICE / M.D.2 (17.03.1917--16.05.1917).

The datestamps used at Australian Mounted Division HQ were FIELD POST OFFICE / DM2 and FIELD POST OFFICE / D.M.2 (8.06.1917--17.01.1919).

Stationary Field Post Offices and Base Post Offices

Both Australian and New Zealand forces maintained a number of stationary field post offices and several base post offices.

Australian stationary offices used a number of named datestamps which were often used together with regular FPO datestamp. These include:
  • 1ST TRAINING BATTALION F.P.O. / A.I.F.
  • 3RD TRAINING BATTALION F.P.O. / A.I.F.
  • 4TH TRAINING BATT. 11TH F.P.O. / A.I.F.
  • 5TH TRAINING BATTALION F.P.O. / A.I.F.
  • 3RD L.H. BRIGADE DETAILS / F.P.O.2
  • AUST. M.P.O. / No. 10
  • AUS. AUXILIARY HOSPITAL / No.1
  • AUS. AUXILIARY HOSPITAL / No.3
  • AUS. GENERAL HOSPITAL P.O. / No.14
  • AUS. GENERAL HOSPITAL P.O. / No.3
Three New Zealand stationary offices are known, believed to be situated Zeitoun, Heliopolis and Suez. They used named datestamps:
  • NEW ZEALAND / No.1 / STATIONARY A.P.O.
  • NEW ZEALAND / No.2 / STATIONARY A.P.O.
  • NEW ZEALAND / 16 / SPO 3

Datestamp Location Known Dates
Australian Base Office AIBD
AUSTRALIAN / INTERMEDIATEBASEP.O. Cairo (Headquarter) 21.06.1915--2.03.1916
A.I.F. INTER. BASE P.O. / CAIRO Cairo (Records, Finance, Ordnance) 22.06.1915--10.07.1916
A.I.F. INTER. BASE P.O. / CAIRO Heliopolis (Medical) 20.07.1915--20.05.1916
AUSTRALIAN BASE / DETAILS P. O. Zeitoun (Reinforcements) 2.03.1915--29.11.1915
A.I.F. BASE / POST OFFICE Cairo (Postal) 21.03.1915--6.11.1915
Australian Base Office AIBPO
AUSTRALIAN. IMP. FORCES / BASE / POST OFFICE Alexandria 7.06.1915--28.11.1916
This stationary FPO was replaced from July by British stationary army post office SZ3. It moved to
Moascar in August 1916 and to Kantara in May 1917. It is closed by August 1919:
ARMY POST OFFICE / SZ3 Moascar, Kantara 10.10.1916--26.07.1918
ARMY POST OFFICE / DLO SZ3 Kantara 26.06.1918--9.01.1919
New Zealand Military Post Office Expeditionary Force
N.Z. MILITARY POST OFFICE / EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. Cairo 9.12.1914--21.01.1917
New Zealand Base Details Military Post Office
NEW ZEALAND / MILITARY / POST OFFICE / BASE DETAILS Zeitoun 6.07.1915--24.11.1915
Becomes stationary office in November 1915: NEW ZEALAND / No.1 / STATIONARY A.P.O..
New Zealand Advanced Base Army Post Office
NEW ZEALAND / ADVANCED / BASE / ARMY POST OFFICE Alexandria 13.09.1915--1.04.1916
NEW ZEALAND ADVANCED BASE A.P.O. / RETURNED LETTER BRANCH Alexandria 1.02.1916--17.02.1916
NEW ZEALAND ADVANCED BASE A.P.O. / REGISTRATION BRANCH Alexandria (3.04.1916)
Leaves for France 9.04.1916.

180407_FPOLH2 (30K) 150010_AusImpFor (47K)
Registered letter (2d. registtation only envelope) sent from Palestine to Egypt. Headquarter postmark of 2 Australian Light Horse Brigade operating in April in the Ghoraniye/Es-Salt area: FIELD POST OFFICE / LH2 / 7 AP / 18. Transit mark at the Advance Base A.P.O. Ramleh: ARMY POST OFFICE / SZ8 / B / 10AP18 and triangular censor mark with crown PASSED BY SENSOR / No. 4321 (Sacher Cen.2, Firebrace CM3). Registration label R / Australian Imperial Force. / No. 236 (Firebrace ARL1E)

Image: Ebay.

Block of four British 2½d stamps with two brilliant strikes of AUSTRALIAN.IMP.FORCES / BASE / POST OFFICE / 10-OC-15.

Image: Ebay.

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[Created 2.03.2005, last revised 29.12.2006]
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