Monday, 27 August 2012

New British Forces Philatelic Bureau.

Announcement (updated May 2013)

The British Forces Philatelic Service (BFPS) is a new not-for-profit business operating the Forces Philatelic Bureau (FPB) under license from the British Forces Post Office (BFPO), specially set up to ensure that the Forces Philatelic Bureau survives and thrives.

The British Forces Philatelic Service (BFPS) is registered with Companies House as a Community Interest Company (CIC), which is a type of limited company designed specifically to operate for the benefit of the community.

The British Forces Post Office (BFPO) has had responsibility for all aspects of military mail,
including philatelic matters, since its formation in 1882. More recently, as part of a Strategic
Defence and Security Review, BFPO was reorganised and as a result of this the Forces
Philatelic Bureau was transferred to BFPS as the sole authorised body empowered to deal
with all matters concerning the Forces Philatelic Bureau.

BFPS is jointly managed by two retired career Army officers, each of whom has had
extensive experience working within the BFPO in general and the Forces Philatelic Bureau
in particular. Both are volunteers and are dedicated to keeping the Forces Philatelic Bureau
alive.

They are working hard to ensure the future of this important area of BFPO operations
is secure and flourishes. Lt Col (Ret’d) Graham Meacher MBE (based in Scotland) has
responsibility for operations and finance whilst Lt Col (Ret’d) Denis Dillon MBE (based in
England) deals with sales, marketing and business development. The third key member of
the small team is the Webmaster, Darrell Drury (based in France), who is also an ex-Services volunteer (and keen philatelist).

The Head of BFPO, Colonel Stephen Heron, is Chairman of the BFPS Management Board,
which along with the two JMDs, has two senior directors from industry as Board members.

This additional information was provided by Graham Meacher:

What we have done is reactivate the in-house Forces Philatelic Bureau cover servicing and reposting facility that used to exist at Mill Hill and latterly Northolt. This allows us the flexibility to produce shorter cover runs (under 1,000) and helps make the operation viable. Cover production runs of 1,000+ will continue to be serviced by the Midlands SHC as our resources are very limited (BFPS is run on a shoestring with only three part time volunteers (all ex-Services) located in three different countries). The reposting address for each handstamp will be advised in the respective Postmark Bulletin, but most will be BFPS in Fife*.

BFPS now requires postage to be applied to any outer covers for the return after postmarking:
Whilst return postage is covered by the postage on the item, most people want their covers to be delivered in pristine condition so include a self-addressed envelope to protect their covers from the rigours of the post.

Royal Mail count the postage on the handstamped covers as matter of course, but they can afford to. As BFPS don’t have a budget for return postage, customers must provide a stamped addressed envelope if they want their postmarked covers returned under cover. And obviously if the returning package is over 100g or over 5mm thick, this return be stamped at the appropriate large letter rate or a surcharge will be charged by Royal Mail.

* BFPS, The Old Post Office, Links Place, Elie, Leven, Fife, KY9 1AX

Read more about the history of the BFPO and BFPS, and buy commemorative military covers from their online shop - http://www.bfps.org.uk/



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