Gelvonai (also written Gelvonys) is a small town in Aukštaitija 25 km south of Ukmergė. In World War One, during the German encirclement of Vilnius (which fell on September 18, 1915), Gelvonai 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, Gelvonai was an object of conflicting territorial claims and occupations. When the German forces withdrew from Russia at the end of 1918, troops of the Red Army came to Gelvonai area in early January 1919 but were pushed out by Lithuanians in the first half of May 1919. During the period of Polish expansion, motivated by Marshall Pilsudski’s vision of confederation, Gelvonai was raided in June and July and occupied more permanently by Polish troops on September 19, 1919. During the Russo-Polish war, when military misfortunes in 1920 forced the Polish forces to retreat, Lithuanians took back some of the lost territory, including Vilnius, and Gelvonai was re-entered on about July 10, 1920. However, as a result of Polish military recovery, battles later flared up in the district until the cessation of Polish – Lithuanian hostilities on November 21, 1920.
In czarist times, a postal facility for Gelvonai (as Gelvany) was established in 1914. A Lithuanian post office at Gelvonai was opened some time in 1921, after the cessation of the hostilities. The name of its first postmaster is not known.
The earliest stamps available at Gelvonai were values of the Sėjėjas Issue. As Gelvonai had no regular postmarker to start with, cancelling was at first done by means of a one-liner cachet.
So far, no other provisional markings have been noted.
A regular calendar-type postmarker but with the place-name written as “GELVONYS” was supplied ca. mid-1922.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by means of a cachet:
… II.1922 cover to Ukmergė (prepaid at reduced rates for soldiers’ mail), Sėjėjas 20sk [colln. Lapas]
No date single, Sėjėjas 1a [colln. Doniela]