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).
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 [
different, you get a smile," says Griffiths.
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
"It's a nice job. You fix everything for people, everybody
knows you and you are helpful," says de Poorter.
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.
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
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
Nations of SFOR: UK, Netherland,
SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001