Occupation of Valenciennes 1914-1918

The German occupation of the French territories in north-eastern France in 1914-1918 is still relatively unknown.

Unlike the two wars of 1870/71 and 1939/45, the postal aspect of this occupation linked to the First World War is also relatively little known. For most collectors, finding letters franked with German stamps from Alsace or Lorraine between 1914 and 1918 seems obvious. However, finding the same letters franked with German or Bavarian stamps from towns in the departments Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Aisne, Marne, Ardennes or Meuse, for example, can raise questions.

This study will take you through this aspect, using the town of VALENCIENNES and its District as an example.


Discover here the chronology of the 1560 days of the German occupation of VALENCIENNES.

German Feldpost in 1914-1918

The German Field Post was one of the key players in the lives of soldiers. This section describes how it worked and its postmarks.

German postal service in Valenciennes

For the duration of the occupation, the circulation of private mail was prohibited.

In the rear area (Etappengebiet) the Germans set up a postal service for civilians.

Only certain types of mail could circulate, but only under German control.

Find out how this postal service worked here.

The postal service of the Valenciennes Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce of VALENCIENNES stamp is emblematic of the German occupation. No town in occupied territory issued a postage stamp during the first months of the occupation.

It all began on 25 August 1914, the 1st day of the occupation.

Feldpost numbers

Find out more about the Feldpost numbers here