On Her Majesty's Service (O.H.M.S.)
On Her Majesty's Service  
Scan of a letter 'On Her Majesty's Service' 
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These pages are an educational historical review of government related services, provided at various times under the auspices of Her Majesty. Government departments re-organise every few years, so for up to date details, please use a search engine.

Today, a majority of service industries are operated by the private sector, either as 'Executive Agencies' or as a form of 'PPP- Public Private Partnerships'. Not so very long ago, these activities would have been carried out by government departments, in the public service. The following are some of the more widely known services and we look briefly at the evolving names and organisations.


At one time, letters which carried the acronym O.H.M.S. were deemed 'Official Paid' and did not need to have any other postage affixed. This was probably a misnomer as postage is always due, and example envelopes confirm this to be correct. So you will (usually) find O.H.M.S. envelopes either endorsed 'Official Paid' or with postage stamps affixed.

More generally, O.H.M.S. is any official body performing a task 'On Her Majesty's Service', on behalf of the Queen (or King).


Is regulated by the Government.

LSD was the abbreviation for £:s:d, pounds, shillings and pence; otherwise known as 'old money': the pre-decimal coinage of the UK until 1971.

Click on photo for more Banking history.

Photo: Guide Dogs outside a branch of Lloyds Bank © LSA Nov 2014.
The British Monarchy
The British Monarchy
The year 2012 marked the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's Accession to the Throne.
DHSS - Department for Health & Social Security
DSS - Department of Social Security

Later the Health Authorities were re-organised, eventually becoming PCTs (Primary Care Trusts), so the DHSS became simply the DSS Department of Social Security.

The latest name more accurately reflects the work...

DWP - Department for Work and Pensions

See the site at www.dwp.gov.uk/

DH - Department of Health

See the site at www.dh.gov.uk/


From about 2014, the majority of Government information services have been moving to a single site GOV UK.

The GPO - General Post Office
The G.P.O.
The General Post Office, or simply the GPO as it was more affectionately known, was once responsible for running both the Postal and Telephone Services of the UK. Here we look mainly at the postal side of the business.
HMCE - Her Majesty's Customs & Excise
HMRC - Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was formed on the 18 April 2005, following the merger of Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise Departments.
HMCS - Her Majesty's Court Services

Her Majesty's Courts Service's purpose is to deliver justice efficiently and effectively. They administer the civil, family and criminal courts in England and Wales, which cover Crown, county and magistrates' courts.

Her Majesty's Prison Service serves the public by keeping in custody those committed by the courts. Their duty is to look after them with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.
HMRC and HMP have been superseded by Justice...

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service was created on 1 April 2011. It brought together Her Majesty's Courts Service and the Tribunals Service into one integrated agency providing support for the administration of justice in courts and tribunals. From 2014 onwards, information is moving to GOV.UK
ONS - Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority.
MOD - Ministry of Defence
From about 1971, the modern MOD was formed by the unification of:- the Admiralty, the War Office, the Air Ministry, the Ministry of Aviation and the Ministry of Defence.
NATS - National Air Traffic Services

Visit the National Air Traffic Services

"National Air Traffic Services (NATS) provides air traffic control services to aircraft flying in UK airspace, and over the eastern part of the North Atlantic. NATS is a public private partnership between the Airline Group, a consortium of seven UK airlines, which holds 42%, NATS staff who hold 5%, UK airport operator BAA plc, with 4%, and the government which holds 49% and a golden share. The Airline Group is a consortium of seven UK airlines: British Airways, bmi British Midland, Virgin Atlantic, Britannia, Monarch, easyJet and Airtours."

RAF - Royal Air Force

Visit the RAF at www.raf.mod.uk/ and the Red Arrows.
Royal Mint

On 1 April 1975 the Royal Mint was established as a Government Trading Fund, operationally very similar to a government-owned company. It has been recognised with the Queen's Award for Export Achievement on four occasions.

On the 1st of April 1990 the Royal Mint became an Executive Agency providing it with greater management freedom to develop its business further. The British Royal Mint is the world's leading exporting Mint.

Royal Mint
Visit the Royal Mint at www.royalmint.com
LSD was the abbreviation for £:s:d, pounds, shillings and pence; otherwise known as 'old money': the pre-decimal coinage of the UK until 1971.
OHMSS - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
The 1969 James Bond film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' was just one in a series of genre about spies and espionage, portraying the glamorous and exciting side of the intelligence services.
The SIS - Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) for real.

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated May 2021.

All logos and trade marks are the property of their respective owners and are used on the Light Straw site(s) for review only. Students and researchers are recommended to make their own independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information contained therein.