Back to news... 19 May 2011 Parcel Delivery Successes: The Red Cross
Probably one thing above all others gave the clues to the parcel industry as to what could be sent anywhere in the World by parcel delivery, and that was as a result of actions by the Red Cross. Originally they gained prominence in the First World War when the Australians and Americans began sending supplies to their troops who were captured and imprisoned during this war through the Red Cross. The British and French also sent parcels but they sent then directly and not through the Red Cross. The parcels consisted of food and hygiene goods along with basic clothing necessities. Whilst the British, American and Australian goods were free the French had to pay for their supplies. These parcels helped many survive through the war when supplies were short and the chances of disease and illness were high.
The third Geneva Convention in 1927 made provision for the sending of such parcels in cases of war, and they were based around the medical and health needs of the person concerned. Most of the parcels in the Second World War were channelled through the UK in a joint effort with their Allies. The parcels often added to a deficient diet and helped with the medical supplies.
The success of the Red Cross parcel then expanded and today is a completely different animal than that of 70 years ago. Today it is used to help in times of distress and disaster that may well have nothing to do with war. They are used in times of political upheaval and financial collapse. When the Russian economy collapsed when the Soviet Union collapsed the pensioners of Georgia lost all their savings and their pensions and was starving. The Red Cross parcel was used to save many from starvation and with the German Government backing the scheme some half a million people were helped. This is typical now and in a disaster the well oiled machine comes into action to provide short term relief and assistance.
A Commander Bernard Peter de Neuman was a hero of the Second World War who was caught by the French Vichy and imprisoned, in his mementos was a Red Cross label from his prison in Timbuktu.
The parcel industry has always been involved with help and assistance and in return it has developed ways of transporting great quantities of food and medical supplies to areas with little infrastructure at times of trouble. Often out of disaster they say green shoots grow and the parcel business has learnt hard and fast and now they still deliver to Timbuktu.