In WWI, Virbalis (Verzhbolovo, Wirballen), being very close to the Rusian – German border, at the beginning of the hostilities immediately found itself in the middle of battles. At first, the German 8th Army was pushed back deep into East Prussia, but after two Russian military disasters, by February 1915 the Russians were totally evicted from German territory and, in turn, German forces were moving into the western part of Lithuania, the Suvalkija. Virbalis was taken after bitter and destructive house-by-house night fighting in the early hours of February 11, 1915 by troops of German 78. Reserve-Division.
As there was a post office on the German side of the border at nearby Eydtkuhnen, no post office was set up at Virbalis or its twin township, Kybartai (Kibarty) during German occupation. But the Virbalis – Kybartai area was serviced by a stationary facility Deutsche Feldpost 70 between February and November 1918.
According to Puida, a Lithuanian post office in Virbalis was opened in March 1919. This claim is supported by surviving mail. But, formally, the first Lithuanian postmaster, Edvardas Lesevičius, was appointed by Pašto Valdyba only as from June 1, 1919. It is possible that for some time a postal facility had been operating under the auspices of local self-government. This supposition seems to be supported by the fact that an early makeshift canceller had in fact been a local government seal with a line erased that may have signified something like “Komitetas” or “Valdyba”. Hopefully, an answer might be found in extant archives.
Another appointed valdininkas was Antanas Radzevičius. In August 1919 Edvardas Lesevičius was transferred to open a post office at Šančiai, a suburb of Kaunas, and was replaced by Juozas Sodaitis. In turn, Juozas Sodaitis by his own request on March 16, 1920 was transferred to Šakiai as valdininkas and was replaced by Jurgelevičius.
The earliest Lithuanian stamps noted from Virbalis are from Third Kaunas Issue, then followed by Fourth Berlin Issue etc. At the beginning, cancelling was done by handwriting, indicating place and date.
By late April 1919, Virbalis made use of a circular seal-like cachet mentioned above.
A standard circular calendar-type postmarker was supplied in 1920.
Known provisional cancellations:
Manuscript place and date:
28 / III / 19 single, Kaunas III 20 [colln. Doniela]
27 / IV/ 19 letter to Kaunas, Berlin IV 30 [Norton ?]
Circular cachet “Virbalio miesto”:
15 – 4 – 19 letter, Kaunas III 10, 20 [colln. Bubnys]
25 – 4 – 19 letter to Kaunas Berlin IV 30, [colln. ?]
26 – 4 – 19 letter to Kaunas, Berlin IV 10, 20 [colln. ?]
No date, letter to Kaunas, Berlin IV 10, 20 [colln. Bubnys]
No date, letter to Kaunas, Berlin IV 30 [colln. Brazdeikis]