asked the Postmaster-General the present practice with regard to charging postage for parcels sent to persons in the services in ships at sea and the relative rates for land and sea destinations; and whether he is aware that questions are asked about the where-about of ships which the sender obviously cannot answer?
For reasons of security, all parcels for His Majesty's ships, including merchant vessels taken up for naval or military service, have to be addressed c/o G.P.O. London, E.C.I, and no indication of a ship's location may be given in the address. If the ship is in home waters, the ordinary inland postage rates apply: otherwise the charge is the same as for parcels for the land Forces serving abroad, namely, 3 lb. 9d.; 7 lb. 1s. 6d.; 11 lb. 2s.; 22 lb. 3s. 6d. Post office counter staff hold very definite instructions that in no circumstances must inquiry be made of the sender whether a ship is in home or foreign waters, for the purpose of assessing postage. The sender should be given particulars of the alternative rates and informed that the decision which rate to apply must rest with him. I should be glad if the hon. Member would let me have particulars of any case he may have in mind where these instructions have been contravened.