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Post Office proud to be 3,000th business to sign the Armed Forces Covenant at special Remembrance service commemorating former employees who fought in the First World War

Press release   •   Nov 07, 2018 13:19 GMT

  • Post Office today becomes the 3,000th business to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant; a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
  • The Covenant signing, attended by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, took place at a special remembrance service to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
  • The service was jointly hosted by Post Office and Royal Mail who, along with BT, formed the General Post Office (GPO) at the time of the First World War.
  • Service paid tribute to those whose bravery will never be forgotten. More than 75,000 GPO employees left their roles to fight in the War, 12,000 joining the GPO’s own regiment, the Post Office Rifles.
  • The Post Office Rifles earned high praise and a prestigious place in British military history for their service during the First World War. About 1,800 of its soldiers were killed and 4,500 injured during the conflict.

‘Bullets rattled on my steel helmet – there were several significant dents and one hole – part of a book was shot away in my pocket; a photograph case and cigarette case probably saved my life from one bullet which must have passed under my armpit’

– Sergeant Alfred J Knight VC, Post Office Rifles

The Post Office is proud to have become the 3000th business to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which they did today (Wednesday 7th November) at a special memorial service, marking the centenary of the end of WW1. The service was jointly hosted by the Post Office and Royal Mail who, together with BT, formed the General Post Office (GPO) at the time of WW1, and was attended by former military personnel and Reservists who currently work for Royal Mail and the Post Office.

The signing took place at St Botolph’s-Without-Aldersgate Church in central London – a poignant location for the business, with the Church’s strong links to the businesses’ military history. Inside the Church is a dedicated memorial and battle flag of the Post Office Rifles, the General Post Office’s own battalion, who served with distinction in the First World War.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The Post Office has a long and distinguished history with the Armed Forces and it is fitting they are the 3000th signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant.

“Those who have served our country so courageously deserve the full support of organisations and businesses across the public and private sector.

“Today, the Post Office has demonstrated the value that reservist and ex-service personnel can bring to businesses.”

100 years on from heroism of the Post Office Rifles and the end of the Great War, the Post Office is proud to now be the 3000th company to sign the Covenant, demonstrating the business’ continuing commitment to support, respect and value ex-military and Reservist colleagues at work and beyond.

Paula Vennells, Group CEO of Post Office, said:

“It’s a real honour to sign the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the Post Office at this very special service. For us, today is about honouring and remembering the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country - including those that served in the Post Office Rifles and who earned high praise and a prestigious place in British military history as a result of their commitment and bravery.

“But it is also very much about those here today, and recognising the value that our serving personnel, both Regular and Reservists, veterans and military families contribute in the present to our business and our country.

“We know that having a diverse workforce brings huge benefits to a business; and our ex-Armed Forces colleagues and those in the Reserves are a unique and vital asset to the Post Office. We want to thank them for their service and to ensure that we continue to create a business in which everyone can thrive and develop as part of the Post Office team.”

Ahead of the signing, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had a chance to meet some of ex-Forces and Reservists currently working for the Post Office, including Craig Bibby, who served with the Army for nine years and joined the Post Office in July this year, in his first civilian role since leaving the Forces. Craig credits his military career with giving him the leadership and critical thinking skills that he’s now putting to good use in his new role in IT. He also praises the Post Office for the support he’s received in his first few months of his job.

The Post Office and Royal Mail share a long joint history and have continued to work closely as partners since their separation in 2012. Rico Back, Royal Mail Group’s CEO, laid a wreath at the service - along with Paula Vennells and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson - to honour those who lost their lives 100 years ago.

The special centenary service was attended by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson alongside Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Tobias Ellwood , as well as representatives from the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF, and with colleagues from the Post Office and Royal Mail. The Victoria Cross Medal, which was awarded to a member of the Post Office Rifles, Alfred Knight, in 1917 was also on display at the church.

ENDS

‘An Appreciation’ by Lieutenant Colonel A.D.Derviche-Jones DSO, MC – Commanding Officer 8th Battalion City of London Regiment (Post Office Rifles):

The success which has always attended the efforts of this Battalion is due to the splendid co-operation between all ranks and to the indomitable spirit and devotion of each individual man.

Notes to editors

  • At the time of the First World War, Royal Mail, the Post Office and BT were part of the General Post Office (GPO). More than 75,000 employees left their roles in the GPO to fight in the War, including 12,000 men who fought in its own battalion, the Post Office Rifles

With 11,500 branches, the Post Office is the largest retail networks in the UK.

97% of Post Office branches are run with retail partners on an agency or franchise basis.

  • The Post Office provides services central to peoples’ everyday lives; 99.7% of the population lives within 3 miles of a Post Office.

We offer the UK’s largest fee free cash withdrawal network through our 11,500 branches and an additional 2,500 cash machines and 99 per cent of UK bank customers can access their accounts at the Post Office.

We sell 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information; visit www.postoffice.co.uk and to find out about a Post Office business opportunities; visit www.runapostoffice.co.uk

About Post Office:

  • With 11,500 branches, the Post Office is among the larger retail networks in the UK.
  • 97% of Post Office branches are run with retail partners on an agency or franchise basis.
  • The Post Office provides services central to peoples’ everyday lives; 99.7% of the population lives within 3 miles of a Post Office.
  • We offer the UK’s largest fee free cash withdrawal network through our 11,500 branches and an additional 2,500 cash machines and 99 per cent of UK bank customers can access their accounts at the Post Office.
  • We sell 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
  • Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information; visit www.postoffice.co.uk and to find out about a Post Office business opportunities; visit www.runapostoffice.co.uk