Giedraičiai (Gedrojcy, Gedroizi) is a town in Aukštaitija 45 km north of Vilnius. In WWI, during the German encirclement and capture of Vilnius (which fell on September 18, 1915), Giedraičiai was passed through in early September by troops of Korps Hutier which was flanking Vilnius from the north.
In the immediate post-war period, in 1919 – 1920, Giedraičiai found itself in a vortex of political and military changes. When the German forces withdrew from Russia at the end of 1918, troops of the Red Army came to Giedraičiai in early January 1919 but were pushed out jointly by Lithuanian and Polish troops on May 9, 1919. Although claimed by Lithuanians, a few days later Giedraičiai was taken over by Polish troops and eventually retained in accordance with Marshall Jozef Pilsudski’s intention to re-establish a greater, confederated Poland. During the Russo-Polish war, when military misfortunes in 1920 forced the Polish forces to withdraw, Lithuanian troops re-took some of the lost territory, including Vilnius, and Giedraičiai was taken back on July 11, 1920. On Polish military recovery, a major battle developed in the area and Polish troops moved into Giedraičiai on ca. October 26. Before long, the town changed hands again twice and Lithuanians conclusively regained Giedraičiai on November 21, 1920.
In czarist times, Giedraičiai had had a post office (as Gedrojcy) but none during the German occupation. A mandate to open a Lithuanian post office at Giedraičiai was given to Jurgis Lukoševičius as from September 1, 1920. However, even if the actual opening did take place around that time, normal postal activities probably did not start before very late 1920 or early 1921, that is, after the cessation of Lithuanian-Polish hostilities and the drawing of a Line of Demarcation.
The first stamps available at Giedraičiai were values of the Kaunas Coloured Issue and the Sėjėjas Issue etc. As Giedraičiai had no regular postmarker to start with, cancelling was done by means of a one-liner cachet “GIEDRAIČIAI” (and date ?). So far, no other early provisional markings have been noted.
A regular calendar-type postmarker was supplied later, in 1921 or 1922.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by one-liner cachet:
ca. 12. III. 1921 card (prepaid at half-rates for soldiers’ mail, Kaunas Col. 20 [colln. Bubnys]