In WWI, Utena (Uciany, Uzjany) was taken on September 11, 1915 by units of Kavallerie-Korps Garnier and Division Beckmann during the German flanking advance on Vilnius. As the front line against the Russian fortress of Daugavpils (Dünaburg, Dvinsk) hardened, to Utena came the HQs of Armeeabteilung von Scholtz, renamed in January 1917 Armeeabteilung D. There was also a sizeable military air base there. Because of its significance Utena received a stationary Feldpoststation 222, operative from November 1915 untill November 1918. At a very late stage Utena as Uzjany came to be included in the civilian Postgebiet Ob.-Ost structure. It was opened on November 11, 1918 and closed on December 17, 1918. Due to its unusually brief activity mail from Uzjany is very rare.
During the German army’s retreat from Russia Utena was entered by units of 1st brigade of the Pskov Division of the Red Amy on December 23, 1918. According to Soviet documentation dated February 15, 1919, a Bolshevik post office was in existence there with Mikhail Davydov in charge and two employees. However, its operations have not survived in any tangible form as mail or similar evidence.
A three-pronged attack to evict Bolshevik forces out of Utena was mounted jointly by the First Lithuanian Regiment and the volunteer 18th Saxonian Regiment of the Grenzschutz. First into Utena were Lithuanian troops led by officer Kazys Ladiga, entering at 8 – 9 a.m. on June 2, 1919.
The first postmaster (įgaliotinis) for Utena, appointed by Pašto Valdyba well in advance on December 19, 1918, had been Pranas Sruoga, but he never took up his duties because of Bolshevik presence. After Lithuanian victory, a mandate [to continue ?] as įgaliotinis was given to previous official Mykolas Davidovas, as from June 15, 1919. Other employees [some also continuing ?] were Mykolas Lavrinovičius, Trofimas Staševskis, Povilas Kolosauskas, Juljonas Kiauko (all from June 15). In October 1919 came Eleonora Vaškelytė (resigned August 1, 1920) and Genrichas Daugelaviėius. On June 1, 1920 postmaster Mykolas Davidovas was replaced by Jonas Vidutis, till then postmaster of Pandėlys, at a salary of 800 auksinai.
Early stamps available at Utena were values from Fourth Berlin Issue, followed by the Sėjėjas Issue etc. The only cover from the early period known so far with stamps cancelled by handwriting, 3 VII 19, is held by Raimundas Lapas, shown below. This cover, addressed to Finland, was forwarded via Panevėžys, 6 VII 19.
A standard circular calendar-type postmarker was supplied in late 1919 or early 1920.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling in manuscript:
3 / VII 1919 letter to Finland, Finnish censor, Berlin IV x2 15, 20 [colln. Lapas]