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"... mail again?"

By 1st Lt. Philippe Mouret
First published in
SFOR Informer#125, October 31, 2001

"I can't believe it! You have more mail?" We hear it around us very often. They mock in a nice way, but also, sometimes, show a certain jealousy towards those who receive more mail than they do. It reveals the importance of mail to anybody with links left abroad.

Sarajevo - This week, SFOR INFORMER continues its survey of the coalition's national postal services.
"British Forces Post Office"
Sgt. Steven Griffiths (an Engineer reservist) and Cpl. Peter Everitt man the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) in Butmir. They receive 500 letters and parcels each day. All mail from Great Britain to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) travels through Zagreb (Croatia) and arrives in Banja Luka. There, in the sorting office, distribution and collection are organised for all British Forces, mainly deployed in Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW).
In Banja Luka, thirteen big postal bags (4,000 letters and parcels) arrive and leave every day. Six people are in the office, commanded by Capt. Claire-Louis Cobley. The trip between the United-Kingdom and BiH lasts two or three days.
All the services provided by BFPO include: free letters with "Bluey" envelopes, which can be sent by Internet also, with "Electronic Bluey" service on www.bfpo.uk; banking and savings accounting; and day before newspapers in English. "This job keeps guys happy. E-mails are good. But when you give a letter […] it's different, you get a smile," says Griffiths.
"Veld Post"
Sgt. Dennis de Poorter, Pfc. René Wigboldus and Pfc. William Elie man the Dutch Forces Post Office ("Veld Post") in Butmir. The main sorting centre is in Bugojno in MND-SW, where five people work under WO1 Dirk de Jong's command. Poorter and his team go there three times a week, with four big postal bags and come back with about 50 letters, six parcels and two bags of magazines. Weekly, 60 bags arrive in Bugojno from the Netherlands and 90 leave the place. "Veld Post" of Butmir also deals with soldiers’ freight and Sarajevo Dutch Embassy mail. Mail and parcels of up to two kilograms, sent to Europe, are free for Dutch soldiers.
"It's a nice job. You fix everything for people, everybody knows you and you are helpful," says de Poorter.
"Le Postal"
1st Lt. Urbano Fumagalli commands the Canadian National Support Element (NSE) in Butmir. In his team, Sgt. Sylvie Bélanger has the responsibility of "Le Postal" (Post Office). Bélanger explains with her charming Quebecois accent and a smile that she receives "three big 'poches' (mail bags) full each week, that means 30 letters and 10 'boîtes' (parcels). Four parcels and 30 letters leave weekly." She also receives 40 newspapers a week. Every Friday, Velika Kladusa (MND-SW) soldiers visit Butmir's office.
The main sorting office for the 1,200 Canadians who are now in BiH is located in Velika Kladusa. Sgt. Claude Roy commands this "Postal." He has under his command Sgt. David Patterson and Cpl. Joel Corriveau. Every day, 300 letters arrive and leave by civilian airline. It takes seven to 10 days to fly from BiH to the North American continent. Parcels travel by military airplane. Ten are sent every week and 30 arrive.
Mail is free for letters sized under 10 x 5 inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm). For anything else, mail prices are the same as those charged in Canada. "Le Postal" also does registered post. Bélanger, a regular soldier, deals with administration and finance in Canada. Here, she likes to deal with other matters: "People are always very satisfied in receiving letters or parcels. It is pleasant to see them happy."
To be continued

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK, Netherland, Canada

"Any mail?", SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001