The town Skaudvilė (czarist name: Neskuchnoye) lies on the militarily important highway between Šiauliai and Tilsit (in northern East Prussia). The town is also close to the somewhat parallel railway line which was constructed in 1915. In World War One, when German forces launched a drive into Žemaitija and Courland, Skaudvilė was taken the very next day, April 28, 1915, by Abteilung Pappritz.
During the German withdrawal from Russia at the end of 1918, Skaudvilė together with the southern part of the above-mentioned highway and railway line were guarded by rearguard Detachement Randow which in early 1919 came under Generalkommando 52 which in turn in March 1919 became Brigade Schaulen. In the second half of 1919 this sector was in the hands of Bermondt’s Westarmee until final evacuation of “bermontininkai” in mid-December 1919.
In czarist times, Skaudvilė had a post office named Neskuchnoye. During German occupation, a civilian post office Skaudwile was opened on October 20, 1916 as a result of the facility’s re-location from nearby Kielmy (= Kelmė). It was closed down on December 26, 1918. In 1919, German volunteer troops in and around Skaudvilė belonging to the Grenzschutz or the Westarmee made use of, first, Frw. Feldpost 3052 and, later, Frw. Feldpost 3072.
A mandate, as įgaliotinis, to open a Lithuanian post office at Skaudvilė was issued to Petras Gerbiatis as from January 22, 1919. On July 2 a recent postal graduate, Kazys Užumeckas, was added as a practitioner but on July 17 he was appointed postmaster of Tytuvėnai. The following year, on March 1, Petras Gerbiatis was promoted to a position in the Pašto Valdyba and was replaced as postmaster by Stasys Lukošius from Raseiniai.
For stamps, Skaudvilė was supplied with values of Second Vilnius Issue. It is not clear if it received First Vilnius Issue. Also it is not certain whether Skaudvilė was supplied with any of the Kaunas Issues. However, like a very few other post offices in the vicinity of Raseiniai, Skaudvilė also made use of the Raseiniai Local 15 k stamps (genuine use on a postcard is shown below).
No postmarker being available to begin with, cancelling was done in manuscript, indicating place and date.
An even earlier mode of cancelling at Skaudvilė may very well have been a manuscript diagonal cross, as shown below. This cover whose sender gives her address as Cytowjany (=Tytuvėnai), district of Skaudvilė, bears the date (posting or receiving?) 26. 3. 19. But while this letter may have been posted at Skaudvilė, the possibility cannot be excluded of its having been posted elsewhere, e.g. at the more convenient post office of Kelmė which had opened in mid-March 1919.
The standard calendar-type postmarker “SKAUDVILĖ” which is frequently encountered struck as C.T.O. on the controversial Second and Third Berlin Issues, with several dates within May 1919, was at first employed quasi-legally at Kaunas for obviously commercial purposes – in the same context as 9 other postmarkers. But proper use of this postmarker at the Skaudvilė post office dates at least a few weeks later, in the second half of 1919.
The registration cachet for Skaudvilė was delivered later than its standard postmarker and so, for some time, was imitated by a provisional hand-drawn red box showing “R”, place and serial number.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by MS, place and date:
14 / II / 19 single, Vilnius II 15 [formerly Norton]
17 / II / 19 card to Kaunas, Vilnius II 20 [Matuzas auction]
20 / II / 19 card to Kaunas, Vilnius II 20 [colln. Bubnys]
29 / II / 19 cover to Kaunas, Raseinių Apskr. Ženklas 15 [formerly Norton]
1 / IV / 19 card to Joniškis, Raseinių Apskr. Ženklas 15 [colln. Bubnys]
Cancelling by MS diagonal cross (in Skaudvilė ?)
26. 3. 19 [posting or receiving date ?] cover to Germany, Vilnius II 50 [colln. Bubnys]
Provisional registration by MS red box:
259 16. VIII. 19 reg. cover to Holland, Berlin IV 20, 1a [colln. Doniela]