This card is postmarked by the Base Army Post Office 5 in Algiers which supported the British North Africa Force (“BNAF”) in 1942-43. It has been passed by the censor of the same base.
The Army Postal Service (“APS”) was not involved in the initial planning stages of Operation Torch, the 1942 Anglo-American invasion of North Africa. As a result, a Base post office was not established in Algiers until a month after the invasion and through no fault of the APS the mail services to the BNAF were very poor in the initial stages. This was worsened by the fact that a convoy carrying the Christmas mails was sunk.
After consultation between the military authorities and the APS, air links with the UK were established and both air letter and airgraph services were made available. Kodak established an airgraph processing station in Algiers, which was later to process the airgraphs sent by troops engaged in the Italian Campaign.
In theatre the mails were carried along the North African coast to the front lines by sea, rail and vehicles. The road service that operated over 500 miles from Algiers to the front was described as having the “the regularity of a town collection in peacetime Britain”. A staff officer with the 6th Armoured Division commented that “As soon as the tanks pulled out of battle, there was the mail waiting for them – incredible”.
Presumably the serviceman who sent it was sold this forty year old card on his way through Marseilles to the front.
French military authorities distributed stamped envelopes and correspondence cards free of charge to the forces.