About the books
The Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance (POFR) today is a community interest company and membership organisation. They were formally established after the Second World War when in 1951 they officially opened The Waterhead Hotel on Coniston Water in the Lake District. The hotel was established in order to provide economical holidays and convalescence for postal workers affected by the two world wars. The organisation’s history in fact dates back to the inner war years, when postal workers in the North East began a membership scheme that saw workers donate funds, often directly from their pay, toward offering discount holidays for those impacted by the First World War.
After the Second World War this grew into a much bigger organisation that opened the Waterhead Hotel and membership to all postal workers. Further hotels were opened and allowed members and their family to take cheaper holidays at one of a number of hotels around the UK.
The POFR has always been an independent organisation but has maintained very close ties with Royal Mail, Post Office and BT. Staff of all three businesses had the option to join the POFR as members and enjoy the benefits of the organisation. Royal Mail, Post Office and BT also maintained regular dialogue with the POFR and worked together supporting events and acts of remembrance every year.
Part of the history of the POFR rests within two memorial books that have been digitised and made accessible on this website. The books, one volume for the First World War and one for the Second, list the names of all GPO (General Post Office) postal and telecommunication employees who gave their lives in the two world wars. There are 8858 names in the first volume and 3972 names in the second.
The memorial books are a key document in POFR’s history. They were compiled after the Second World War as a memorial to all those who worked for the Postal Service and gave their lives in the two world wars. They were handwritten on individual sheets of cream wove paper, with each name appearing in alphabetical order. It took approximately 2 years’ work by one man, James Trezies. The start of each section was illustrated with the relevant letter, written in gold leaf and decorated with hand-drawn images. The First World War volume had native British flowers beginning with that same letter of the alphabet and the Second World War volume had hand-drawn images of native British trees, again beginning with the same letter.
The complete volumes were presented to POFR on 2 April 1957 in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at Busbridge Hall, Surrey.
In November 2015 the two volumes were given to The Postal Museum, to allow them to be accessed and consulted and to seek ways of improving access to the information within them. BT Archives supported the digitisation of the two volumes and a volunteer from BT Archives transcribed all the names from both books which was shared with The Postal Museum to allow the creation of this GPO War Heroes website.