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TPOs of Poland

By Tony Goodbody

Poland has had a turbulent history and has only enjoyed a measure of independence following the end of World War I and again following the collapse of Communism in 1990. Before 1918 Poland was divided between Russia, Germany and Austria, and any serious collector of Poland will want to include the forerunners from these three countries. In the 20th Century Poland has suffered two major changes to her borders, but from the philatelic point of view this only serves to heighten the interest.

Period I: 1921-1939

In the 1920s and 1930s the TPOs of independent Poland used double circle marks with numerals such as the route BYDGOSZCZ - POZNAŃ, TPO No. 204 (Bromberg - Posen) (figure 1), BRODNICA - BYDGOSZCZ , TPO No. 223 (Strassburg - Bromberg) (figure 2) or HEL - GDYNIA, TPO No. 235 (Hela - Gotenhafen) (figure 3).

Fig. 1: BYDGOSZCZ - POZNAŃ, TPO No. 204 (Bromberg - Posen)

Fig. 2: BRODNICA - BYDGOSZCZ , TPO No. 223 (Strassburg - Bromberg)

Fig. 3: HEL - GDYNIA, TPO No. 235 (Hela - Gotenhafen)

Period II (1945 - 2006)

Since World War II the Polish travelling post officers have used single circle postmarks with route number such as WARSZAWA - ZAGAŃ (Warsaw - Sagan) (figure 4).

Fig. 4: WARSZAWA - ZAGAŃ (Warsaw - Sagan)

Figures.5 and 6 show postmarks from the route ŁÓDŹ - BYDGOSZCZ and vice versa, both numbered AMB. 601. (N.B. ŁÓDŹ is pronounced "wodge".)


International Routes

The international route WARSZAWA - HANOWER HBF (Warsaw - Hanover) used a single circle mark with the route number 456 (figure 7). The return working was also numbered 456.

Fig. 7: WARSZAWA - HANOWER HBF AMB. (Warsaw - Hanover) ambulant route 456

Fig. 8: AMB. WARSZAWA - FRANKFURT / ODER route No. 14 Another international route (just) is WARSZAWA - FRANKFURT / ODER route No. 14 (figure 8) shown on a bag label.

Finally, yet another international route POSNAŃ - FRANKFURT/ ODER, a shortened version of the route represented by figure 7, used a curious undated, possibly rubber, canceller (figure 9) with the route No. 456. AMB. route 456 POSNAŃ - FRANKFURT/ ODER



This author knows of no comprehensive work in English on the subject of Polish TPOs. There is a book entitled "Pocztowych Ambulansów Kolejowych Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej 1921-1939" ( Travelling Post Offices in the Republic of Poland) by Krzysztof P. Jankowski. This book lists all the routes with their numbers and period of operation.

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