Ukmergė is a district centre in Aukštaitija (eastern part of Lithuania), approx. half-way between Vilnius and Panevėžys. During the German withdrawal from Russia at the end of First World War the town was entered by the Red Army (First Brigade of the Pskov Division) on January 10, 1919 and was held for a few months as a supply and communications base. The Red troops were evicted on May 3 as a result of a pre-planned advance carried out by joint efforts of a Lithuanian detachment (led by Jonas Variakojis) and the Saxonian 18th Volunteer Grenzschutz Batallion (led by Mjr. von Zeschau).
As a postal entity Ukmergė (in other languages Vilkomir, Wilkomir, Wilkomierz) enjoys a lengthy history, with a regular post and telegraph office (kontora) having been established in czarist times in 1871. During the German occupation in WWI a post office, within the system of Postgebiet Ober Ost, was operative as WILKOMIERZ for a short time from March 1, 1918 to December 26, 1918 – which explains why mail and cancels from it are rare. A postal facility was reopened during the Bolshevik rule in the early months of 1919, but so far no items have come to light.
A Lithuanian post office was intended for early 1919 and in fact an įgaliotinis, Antanas Jozėnas, was appointed as from January 5, 1919 but had to be revoked on January 15 due to Bolshevik intrusion. After Ukmergė pased into Lithuanian hands on May 3, 1919, the position was assigned to Jurgis Bedarfas on May 23, 1919. On July 31, 1920 he was given an assistant, Juozas Čipkus from the Kupiškis P.O.
For stamps, the Ukmergė P.O. was supplied with values of the Fourth Berlin Issue, followed by the Sėjėjas Issue etc. It also received a regular date canceller, though prior cancelling by manuscript or some makeshift device cannot be excluded altogether.
It took much longer to obtain other cachets, so that in late 1919 registration was still effected by a boxed imitation in manuscript.
The first formal registration cachet (in 1920 or 1921) reflected the current disagreement about the proper spelling of the town’s name and carried the inscription ŪKMERGĖ.
In 1923 the spelling in the cachet was finally decreed to be UKMERGĖ.
Known provisional markings:
Registration in MS:
516 I. IX. 19 to Germany, Berlin IV 40 x3 [colln. Brazdeikis]