Military unit cachets for free of charge mail

An owerview

(N. Jakimovs 1986 – 1988 / J. Mors 2009)

In the early years of the Latvian Postal Administration, practically, still partly the regulations of Imperial Russia were in use. All official, non registered, government-, local self-governing-, municipal-, church synod- and the clergy- mail enjoyed postage free privileges - on the behalf of the government budget.
On such mail should a cachet of the actual organisation be applied and it also had to be numbered and entered in a ”delivered mail” book.
Persons in charge by the standing army had the rights to send postcards and letters (with a weight of maximum 30 grams) free of charge if this mail had a cachet of the actual military unit in the upper right corner.
The (normally) 2-circle seals consisted of an outer ring containing the designation of the army unit or organisation and in the inner circle an inscription or the first Coat of Arms of Latvia.
As postage free of charge cachets were also used such of the Army Commanders with the Latvian Coat of Arms in the centre or cachets of battalion, company or other army units without designations that they were meant for mail cancellation.
The used military cachet impressions were with violet, blue and sometimes also with red coloured ink. Cachets in black ink are uncommon.
By the circular No. 1219 of 12th August 1919 the Main Field Post Office in Riga was announced and it exchanged mail with the Riga Railway Station Post Office.
Post Offices located where Field Sub-offices were opened, were not allowed to take mail from the standing army units - this mail had to be delivered to the Field Sub-offices.
Belonging to the standing army were all mobilised war units, headquarters and military administration detachments, reserve units and formations, partisan units and the Latvian-German home guards (Landeswehr).
On July 10, 1919, the two Latvian Brigades were unified under the first official Commander-in-Chief of the Latvian Army (General Dāvids Sīmansons). The Army was restructured into three Infantry Divisions (each with three Infantry Regiments and one Artillery Regiment). The new order of battle was as follows:

1. Kurzemes Divizions

     1. Liepājas kājnieka pulks
     2. Ventspils kājnieka pulks
     3. Jelgava kājnieka pulks
     Kurzemes artilērijas pulks

2. Vidzemes Divizions

    4. Valmieras kājnieka pulks, agrāk
     1. Valmieras kājnieka pulks
     5. Cēsu kājnieka pulks, agrāk
     2. Cēsu kājnieka pulks
     6. Rīgas kājnieka pulks
     Vidzemes artilērijas pulks

3. Latgales Divizions

    7. Siguldas kājnieka pulks
     8. Daugavpils kājnieka pulks
     9. Rēzeknes kājnieka pulks
     Latgales artilērijas pulks

At the end of 1919 these Divisions were completed with a newly formed Division:

 4. Zemgales Divizions

    10. Aizputes kājnieka pulks
     11. Dobeles kājnieka pulks
     12. Bauskas kājnieka pulks
     Zemgales artilērijas pulks

As regards the fate of the German-Baltic “Landeswehr”, already in April 1920 it had been fully integrated into the Latvian Army being redesigned:

13. Tukums kājnieka pulks

Other regiments and units of the Latvian Army:

Grobiņa kājnieka pulks
Latvijas Strēlnieku Pulks
Partizāņu Pulki
Imantas Pulks
Jātnieku Pulks

Tehniskās vienības
     Auto-Tanku  Divizions
     Aviācijas Divizions
     Bruņoto Vilcienu Divizions
     Elektrotehniskais Divizions
     Instruktoru Bataljons    
     Sapieru Bataljons

Kara flote
Kara skola
Slimnīcas / Garnizona Lazaretes
Gūstekņu Nometnes / Cietumi
Armijas Saimniecības Pārvalde
Robežsargu Divīzija / Pulki
Kara Apriņķu Pārvaldes

1st Kurzeme Division

     1st Liepāja Infantry Regiment
      2nd Ventspils Infantry Regiment
      3rd Jelgava Infantry Regiment
      Kurzeme Artillery Regiment

2nd Livland Division 

     4th Valmiera Infantry Regiment, earlier
      1st Valmiera Infantry Regiment
      5th Cēsis Infantry Regiment, earlier
      2nd Cēsis Infantry Regiment
      6th Rīga Infantry Regiment
      Livland Artillery Regiment

3rd Latgale Division

      7th Sigulda Infantry Regiment
       8th Daugavpils Infantry Regiment
       9th Rēzekne Infantry Regiment
       Latgale Artillery Regiment

4th Zemgale Division

     10th Aizpute Infantry Regiment
      11th Dobele Infantry Regiment
      12th Bauska Infantry Regiment
      Zemgale Artillery Regiment

     13th Tukum Infantry Regiment   


Grobiņa Infantry Regiment
Latvian Riflemen Regiment
Partisan Regiments
Imanta Regiment
Cavalry Regiment

Technical units
     Tank Division
     Aviation Division
     Armoured Train Division
     Electro-Technical Division
     Instruction Battalion    
     Engineers Battalion

Hospitals - Garrison hospitals
Prisoner of War Camps – War Prisons
Army Economic Administration
Border Guard Divisions / Regiments
War District Administrations

The order No. 83, dated 11th May 1920 of the Army Supreme Commander, and also following orders, determines which Chief of Staff / Superintendents of the army forces and establishments were allowed to use seals with the Latvian Coat of Arms. These seals were made of rubber. A part of the army establishments Superintendents, who were manufacture or value keepers, also had seals made of metal to be used on wax seals.
All other Commandeers of the army units, detachments and combatant units were allowed to use seals without the Latvian Coat of Arms but with corresponding texts as e.g.: ”I. Leepajas Kahjneeku pulka, I. rota”.
In every headquarters office, administration office, and separate detachment office there had to be seals with the Latvian Coat of Arms - one for wax sealing one for coloured stamping - made according to a confirmed proof. These seals were to be used confirming documents.
For common mail seals without the Coat of Arms were to be used.
In the early years of the Latvian Republic all documents and correspondence was in the ”old orthography” - this concerned also to the seals.

As on July 27, 1922 by the Council of Ministers decided was the postage free privilege of government owned autonomous organizations, including saving banks and the Government Printing Works withdrawn.