During the Second World War the Admiralty formed a Fleet Mail Organisation from among Post Office employees who volunteered for service in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The initial intake comprised of 80 officers and 130 ratings. Post Office facilities were then used to train a further 120 officers and 1700 ratings from the Womens Royal Naval Service. At its peak period the organisation consisted of over 2000 personnel serving in Fleet Mail Offices worldwide.
At the end of the war it was originally intended to retain a small regular Postal Branch in the Royal Navy but the Admiralty eventually decided to transfer peacetime mail duties to the Regulating Branch and form a Postal Branch of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. This Branch to comprise of Post Office employed personnel who would form the professional expertise on
which a larger organisation could be built should the need ever arise.
Thus the Royal Naval Volunteer (Postal) Reserve Branch was formed in 1961 and subsequently transferred to the Special Branch of the Royal Naval Reserve in 1959 and became a Branch of the Royal Naval Reserve in its own right from 1st June 1976.
In 1976 there were 45 officers and 425 ratings enrolled from Post Office employed volunteers who undertook to perform a minimum of 28 days training every three years. The Branch was headed by a Director of Naval Postal Services (Designate) a post which was held by Captain R 0 Bonnett VRD RNR. In the event of war, or emergency, they would form part of the joint services Postal and Courier Communications organisation, relieve the Regulating Branch of the mail duties it performed and provided such other postal and courier facilities as Ministry of Defence (Navy) required.
Officers and ratings undertook both joint service training with the Royal Engineers Postal and Courier Communications Service and trained in naval establishments. They provided Fleet Mail Office facilities at the Coronation Fleet Review 1953, the NATO Fleet Review 1969, the Western Fleet Review 1969 andthe Coronation Jubilee Review in 1977 and on several more minor occasions.