History KS1 / KS2: P is for Post Office

Photographs, newsreel and commentary examine the role of the Post Office in conveying messages and parcels from home to British Tommies in the trenches.

An estimated two billion letters and parcels were delivered to the front during World War One.

A dramatic monologue introduces Percy Bale, a post orderly in the Hampshire Regiment.

He describes his daily duties at the front and the presents, such as woolly socks, chocolate, cigarettes and cakes, that friends and relatives put in their parcels.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Pupils could practise wrapping up items such as chocolate, socks and cake, using just string and brown paper.

How easy is it to make a parcel that doesn’t fall apart? Which 3-D shapes are the easiest and hardest to wrap?

This activity provides a practical context for learning the mathematical names of some simple solids.

There are also opportunities for measuring and accurately cutting lengths of paper and string.

Key Stage 2

Pupils could search in books and online for examples of messages sent to soldiers in the trenches.

Institutions such as the Imperial War Museum and theNational Archives publish examples of letters online, which provide rich sources of information.

Children could share their discoveries from these letters and the class could record a soundtrack of quotes from various letters as a lasting memorial of the everyday cares and concerns of individuals caught up in the conflict.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching History at primary school ages for Key Stages 1 and 2, or First and Second Level.

More from the series WW1 A to Z

O is for Owen (Wilfred)
Q is for Quartermaster
R is for Remembrance