18 April, 2009


Postal Services

snail All mail posted in the UK to Service men and women overseas is dealt with by the (military) Post and Courier Depot located at Mill Hill in North London where there is a special section for the despatch of mail to HM Ships and Shore stations abroad.

If you have any questions do call or write to the BFPO Customer Care Unit who are very helpful (calls are not answered by a machine!) at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill, London NW7 1PX.

info More Information: Ships BFPO Numbers

Phone Icon Phone: 08457 697978 - BFPO CCU

Phone Icon Phone: 020 8818 6450 - BFPO Helpline

Royal Mail Mail including postcards, packets and aerograms to Europe and HM Ships costs UK Inland Rates. See Royal Mail leaflet entitled "HM Forces Letter Rates" for more information and full list of costs. The Naval Mail Staff at Mill Hill only despatch mail, they do not receive homecoming mail; this goes directly to the Royal Mail at Mount Pleasant sorting office.

website Web site: Post Office (Royal Mail)

website Web site: British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

To make sure outgoing mail is sent quickly address it correctly including Name, Rank/Rate, Service No. and Mess (if known), as well as the name of the Ship or Unit and BFPO number - for example:

LS J. SMITH D123456Y
152 Mess
BFPO 789
Mne J SMITH PO12345X
7 Troop
M Company
BFPO 789

info More Information: Ships BFPO Numbers

letter, envelopeDo...

  • Make sure Banks, Building Societies, Insurers, Solicitors and others all have the correct postal address.
  • Seal the edges of large letters with good quality adhesive tape. They may have to travel long distances and be handled in boats, winched down from helicopters, etc.
  • Send letters to families accompanying Service personnel abroad to the BFPO address, which will go at the cheaper rate. Their mail should be addressed C/O (care/of) the serving member. But if you write to a private address abroad, then the normal full overseas postage has to be paid.
  • Mark "HM FORCES MAIL" in the top left-hand corner of a parcel.
  • Include the sender's and the recipient's details inside the parcel.
  • Wrap parcels well! Use a strong cardboard box with lots of padding to protect and seal up the contents. This makes sure the parcel arrives safely and also that other mail in the same mail sack will not become damaged by anything in your parcel e.g. liquid/perfume. Christmas or Birthday cakes may be a nice idea but if not well packed, everyone else's mail will be ruined and the birthday boy/girl will not be popular!


  • Use Airmail labels. They are not needed.
  • Mix up BFPO addresses and civilian addresses (e.g. either BFPO 52 or GIBRALTAR). Mixed addresses may get the mail mixed up in that country's civilian system and suffer long delays and possible loss.
  • Send goods and substances classified as dangerous. Other articles may also be prohibited or restricted. e.g. do not send alcohol or anything that could be considered to be pornographic like some magazines, videos etc.

Phone Icon Phone: 08708 501150 - Parcelforce NEC

HM Customs FORM CN 22
You will need this for any parcel sent overseas. Customs Form CN 22 is available from local post offices. This has a customer receipt and it is best to keep it as you will need it to make any enquiry.

More on parcels
Parcels (under 2 kg) for Ships/Units in home waters may be sent using the UK Inland Postal Rate. (Hint: So it may be better to send several smaller packets than one large parcel).

Parcels for Ships/Units away from UK are to be sent by either BFPO Standard Service (by air) or BFPO Economy Service (by ship or truck). Speedy delivery means the use of the Standard Service is best. This should cost UK/European Rate.

There is no official Standard Service by air to the Falkland Islands but parcels may actually go by that way if there is sufficient room on a Falklands bound aircraft.

All parcels must be clearly marked "HM FORCES MAIL" in the top left-hand corner.

Weight and size limits for parcels
30 kg per parcel, 11 kgs for ships, and then, because it has to fit in a mailbag, it must not be bigger than 1.05m Length and 2.0m Length & Girth combined.

For further details check leaflet "Parcelforce World-wide - Parcel Delivery to HM Forces", contact Customer Service Team or ring the BFPO Enquiries Team.

The Royal Mail funded pre-Christmas free mail service to Op Telic, Op Herrick and HM Ships in support, which ran from 3rd Sep 07 to 9th Nov 07, has been authorised to continue from 08th Dec 07 until further notice.

The funding for this service is now shared between Royal Mail and the Ministry of Defence.
Only relatives and friends in the UK and at BFPO addresses worldwide may send packets to named Service personnel and MOD deployed civilians in authorised operational theatres.

Packets will be limited to 2kg in weight.

For a full definition of the Terms and Conditions of this Service call or go to:

website Web site: British Forces Post Office

Phone Icon Phone: 08708 501150 - Parcelforce Customer Service Team

Phone Icon Phone: 08457 697978 - BFPO Enquiries Team

website Web site: Parcel Force

Mail to Northern Ireland and Eire
Except for mail to BFPO numbers, it is very important, for safety's sake, not to indicate the sender OR receiver of any letter or parcel has links with HM Forces. Service titles or any other sign (e.g. HMSO envelope) could attract hostile attention from terrorists.


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