WAR AND WORKERS – Plaque Tribute to Fallen Postal Workers to be unveiled in Exeter

On August 9th 2014 Trade unions linked up with the community and local history groups across Exeter to run the World of Work event at the Exeter Phoenix Centre with an Informal Adult & Community Learning agenda attached to it.

More than 200 people visited the exhibition showing how working people were affected by the First World War. One of the main groups of people affected were the postal staff, and they are set to be remembered in the conclusion to this event, with the unveiling of a plaque at the Royal Mail Delivery Office in Exeter.

The plaque made by John Patterson a local sculptor is due to be unveiled on Friday, 28th November and has been funded by a grant from Devon County Council, under the Devon Remembers Memorial Restoration fund and the CWU Union. The Communication Workers Union, represent postal staff both nationally and locally, have been the main driver in obtaining this funding.

As a local rep I have played a big part in this tribute for the fallen postal staff and their families and wanted to give something back to the community. The original Plaque was destroyed along with the Post Office building, in the blitz of Exeter in World War 2 and has never been replaced. It is fitting that this ceremony coincides with the centenary celebrations for World War 1.

At the event, the final talk was from a CWU tutor Nick Nicholls, who spoke about a battalion, the 24th Post Office Rifles, formed from postal workers. This battalion fought bravely and suffered 8,400 casualties during the conflict. Nick also touched on the social, economic and political consequences of the war, saying ‘that 35,000 women were employed by the Post Office between 1914 and 1916 (and were paid less than the men they replaced), and that trade union membership among women during the war rose by 160%’.

The event is scheduled for Friday 28th November 2014, and will be of interest:

  • For the Exeter community and families who can see the plaque on show daily
  • This is a unique project, with the local union and management paying tribute together
  • This marks a special time for remembrance and a tribute for those in Exeter who lost many lives in WW1

For more information contact Darren Rowbotham – CWU, Union Learning Representative.
phone: 07584077829, email: DarrenRowbothamCWU@Hotmail.co.uk.