News Archive: 2015

10th November 2015 - Interesting Stamps, Covers or Cards

In a very varied evening, there were fourteen displays from members.

Patrick Reid began with a frame of Australian material that had been taxed for reasons other than underpayment, such as 'Debit Docket Issued', 'Posted out of Course', 'Supposed to Contain Coin' or 'Incorrect Use of Imprint'.

David Gerken treated us to a photograph of himself doing guard duty while on National Service in Gibraltar, followed by stamps for the German Third Reich Reconstruction Fund; a 'Scipio' crash cover with a postcard of the flying boat, a GWR Airmail cover, and the Croatian Independence Overprint. This was followed by a cover for the Tyne Bridge Opening, an APEX Exhibition cover and labels, a hand-painted cover and cards showing the 'Bridge that never was' from Spain to Morocco.

Marianne Murray showed us the 1962 stamps issued by the right wing organisation The People's League for the Defence of Freedom, followed by Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Air Ferry stamps.

Portsmouth, Southsea & Isle of Wight Aviation Ltd. stamps.

Dennis Proctor showed an assembly of se-tenant and tête-bêche stamps from German Booklets and coils. He included some combinations taken from sheets that do not occur in booklets.

Ron Stone showed stamps from the US Presidents' series, followed by a plea for help in identifying some watermarks.

Michael Curling showed a wide range of mostly 19th Century (fairly) local Postal History. He began with a letter from Abingdon to Windsor, followed by a letter from Bracknell to Glasgow and letters from Bracknell to Windsor and vice versa. Next came letters from Reading to Bristol and Calcutta; a Penny Black on cover from Reading to Bristol and a Mulready envelope from Reading to Oxford; a newspaper wrapper cancelled in Reading; and a postcard bearing the 'Wellington College Station' postmark. These were followed by a 1789 cover from Wantage to Northampton; a Penny Black cover from Windsor to London; a 1790 entire from Windsor to High Wykham redirected to Hounslow Barracks; a cover from Newbury to Windsor Castle and finally a Temperance cover.

Trevor Cornford continued the local theme with 1970s and 1980s covers addressed to a TV Repair shop that used to be at the end of his road. He included pre-printed envelopes (with impressed stamps) that had been uprated. Next came some compensation forms from 1977 that had been cancelled at the (now closed) Barkham Road Post Office. There were other interesting items from the same correspondence including a 1d Certificate of Posting.

Reg Browning showed the first King George VI Aden set (no King's head) and the 1929 King George V Malta set.

The 8 Annas and 1 Rupee values from the first King George VI Aden set.

After the break, Ivan Dickason showed some more of his ½d collection: Kathiri State of Seiyun (actually ½ anna), King George V 1922 Ascension overprint on ½d St. Helena; a block of Bahamas 1965 International Co-operation Year issue; a Gibraltar coil join; Jamaica 1938/51 (various colours/printings); New Zealand Health triangulars in sheet; New Zealand Peace issue; Norfolk Island Ball Bay on white paper and finally Transvaal.

The ½ Anna Kathiri State of Seiyun stamp and King George V 1922 Ascension overprint on ½d St. Helena.

Derek Steele showed pilot-signed covers from Canada, collected for the pilots, rather than the flights. He noted that the high standard of training of these pilots resulted in very few being lost on War Service.

Eric Holmes explained that he had decided not to show his albino overprints. Instead he treated us to the Natal Appendix sheets from the De La Rue archives for the Postal Cards, Letter Cards and Wrappers. These were followed by a Bill of Lading from Gibraltar to Madeira concerning a cargo of Spanish Pesetas.

Brian Pugsley showed what he called the 'boring' issues of the Gambia that he had omitted from his Chairman's display in January. He included proofs of the 'new' King George V head on designs that were used on the QEII issue. He added a block of Southern Rhodesia ½d stamps and blocks of the Bermuda 12/6 King George VI Keyplate.

Mark Bailey showed a Danish stamp and 10 Øre Cinderellas featuring the first Dane to win a Nobel Prize, Niels Ryberg Finsen, and Belgian Fiscal Tax Stamps.

Niels Ryberg Finsen Centenary Danish stamp, issued on 1 August 1960 and 10 Øre Cinderella.

Having started, Patrick Reid also finished, showing a nine sheet display on Australian Rule 10, which governs the use of window envelopes. It featured a range of handstamps for contravention of the rule.

27th October 2015 - The Number 3

There were a number of inventive interpretations of the topic for the meeting, "The Number Three".

First up was David Gerken, who showed three stamps with different Kings, three "poached egg" training stamps, the GB 1946 Victory and 1948 Olympics 3d values, the 1960 Tercentenary of the Establishment of the General Letter Office issue 3d and 1/3d, all values of the International Geophysical Year issue, a 3d stamp on an Auckland Harbour Bridge cover, a 3c US/Canada friendship stamp, and a 3c Mackinac Bridge stamp.

A selection of stamps relating to the number 3.

Michael Curling showed a 1908 3d wrapper, a Queen Victoria 3d Parcel label, 3 x ½d on a cover to Malta, a receipt for telephone service with 3 x 3d on, a 1911 Registered letter, an Airmail cover bearing 5 x 3d stamps, a Registered cover bearing 3 x 1½d stamps, an advice of delivery with a 3d stamp on the receipt, and 3 x Indian stamps on a Coronation Durbar cover.

Alan Kane displayed a 1835 Northern Ireland cover at 3d rate, a 1948 Olympics 3d stamp, a 1958 Northern Ireland Regional 3d with other Regional 3d stamps, combination frankings making 3d with slogan cancels, further 3d stamps on covers including a Craigavad Festival cover, 1971 Ulster Paintings 3p stamp on FDC, a cover with 3 x embossed ½d, a 1974 Northern Ireland cover and finally a range of postmarks with 3 in the cancel.

1958 Northern Ireland Regional 3d and 1971 3p Ulster Paintings stamps on covers.

Chris Wootton brought along three sheets of Australian higher values.

Patrick Reid showed a range of the 3d sepia Tasmania Pictorial showing the Spring River at Port Davey, including Essays, Proof and Specimen and two underpaid covers taxed at 25 Centimes (which is 3 x 8⅓).

3d Tasmania Pictorial proof and specimen.

Roger Sammons displayed the UN Human Rights stamps in sets of three for New York (in English), Geneva (in French), and Vienna (in German), issued in sheetlets of 12.

United Nations Human Rights stamps.

Ivan Dickason began with a range of commonwealth 3d stamps in blocks (or 3 x ½d stamps) from Australia, the Bahamas, Basutoland, Fiji, Malta, Cayman Islands (a block of four 1½d and sheetlets of three), St Vincent 1½d and 2d, a pair of the South Africa Voortrekker 1½d and the miniature 1½d goldmine stamp in a unit of four. These were followed by Virgin Islands 3d, 1935 Silver Jubilee 1½d, the 1940 Centenary 1½d overprinted "Tangier" and a similar overprint on the 1946 Victory 3d value.

Tangier overprints on the 1940 Centenary 1½d and 1946 Victory 3d stamps.

Trevor Cornford brought the first half to a close, showing a letter from Wellington (at the Savoy Hotel in Egypt), St Vincent Soufriere Relief $2+$1 on cover, a 1923 postcard from Victoria Falls, a 1930 letter from Bulawayo, an 1893 order for material, a South Georgia 1970 3d rate cover and a South Georgia 1993 whaling cover, Christmas Island covers used in March, a British Antarctic Territory cover with a 3 in the datestamp and a 1906 Ridgways Tea blotter.

First Day Cover of the St Vincent Soufriere Relief Fund surcharged stamps.

Dennis Proctor opened the second half with German 1933 Third Reich issues, followed by stamps from the occupied Western zone (3 divisions) and the Eastern (Russian) zone, Berlin issues, Federal Republic and DDR issues and finally the Reunification issue.

Derek Steele showed an 1860 cover with 6d stamp and endorsed 3d in red, a Stamp World London 90 miniature sheet, a 1965 Gibbons Centenary cover with 3d stamp, a Queen Victoria 3d stationery envelope, 3 Canadian 1933 pilot signed covers, and a cover signed by the Superintendent of the Police Service.

Eric Holmes concentrated on the numeral 3. He showed GB 1880 3d-on-3d Surcharge used in Gibraltar, and a George V issue with 3 (rather than three) pence. Eric also displayed the Universal Essay Key Plate with GB inscription of 3d, which, although not used for Gibraltar, was used by 3 other countries.

Mark Bailey showed three years of Singapore issues on First Day Covers from 1972 to 1975.

Three Singapore First Day Covers, from 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Finally, Trevor Cornford showed a one-frame Open Exhibit on the 1903 Shackleton expedition.

13th October 2015 - Sir Winston Churchill's Life & Legacy - Simon Moorcroft

Simon Moorcroft is a member of the Royal Philatelic Society London, and has served as the Chairman and Publicity Officer of the British Thematic Association. Simon began collecting in 2002, and tried to collect the theme of Famous People on stamps, but soon decided he could not collect them all, and concentrated on Winston Churchill. In the space of just 7 years, Simon built up an excellent collection which he has been able to display and exhibit. Indeed, his Churchill displays were the subject of an article in the British Philatelic Bulletin in 2009.

The first part of the display concerned the years from Winston Churchill's birth, through his education, military exploits and the first part of his long political career.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace in 1874. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, who became Chancellor in 1896. He resigned in 1897, expecting to be asked back, but he never was and this broke him. This phase of Winston's life was illustrated by a range of correspondence and ephemera from Blenheim Palace.

Winston Churchill in 1881 (left) and in 1895 (right).

Winston Churchill was sent as a boarder to St George's School in Ascot, where he became a troublesome rebel, and he was subsequently moved to a school in Brighton. In 1888 he went to Harrow, where he did not distinguish himself academically, and still showed the rashness that he had inherited from his father. In 1892 he moved on to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which he enjoyed, eventually passing out eighth out of 150.

Churchill joined the 4th Hussars and in 1896 he was posted to India and fought on the North West Frontier. In search of adventure, he managed to get seconded to the 21st Lancers and joined Kitchener in time for the Sudan Campaign and the Battle of Omdurman.

After leaving the Army, when the Second Boer War broke out in 1899, Churchill went to South Africa as a war correspondent for the Morning Post, a daily newspaper that was later to merge with the Telegraph. He was captured by the Boers, when they attacked a train, and he put up a fight. After being captured and sent to a prison camp in Pretoria he waited for his chance to escape. In a vicar's hat, he scrambled over a 10ft fence and walked into town heading along the train line. He jumped onto a goods train and hid under some coal sacks, eventually making it to a mining village. Desperate with thirst and hunger, Churchill knocked on a door and, with good fortune, was pulled inside by the only Englishman for miles around. A bounty of £25 dead or alive was on his head so they hid Churchill in an unused mine. He was eventually packed in a train among bales of wool. He arrived looking dishevelled at the British consulate on the coast. Press accounts of his adventures on the train and his prison break had turned him into a hero in Britain. Churchill was among the first into Ladysmith. Once back in Pretoria he went straight to the prison camp and waved his hat, at which the prisoners, recognising his red hair, immediately overcame their guards and streamed out to greet him. Items in this section of the display included newspaper cuttings and some prisoner of war mail, though none addressed to Churchill.

Pretoria had been the crowning glory of Churchill's adventures. He headed home as a celebrity. The publicity surrounding his escape helped him launch his political career and in 1900 he was elected Conservative MP for Oldham. In 1904 he moved to the Liberals, and was elected as the MP for Manchester NW in the Liberals landslide victory in 1906. Churchill was promoted to Junior Minister at the Colonial Office.

Winston Churchill married Clementine Hozier in 1908, and the display included a letter from her.

Winston Churchill in 1904 and with Clementine Hozier in 1908.

Churchill's rapid advancement continued when he became President of the Board of Trade on 1908, where he implemented a number of radical reforms, including the introduction of Labour Exchanges. In 1910 Churchill became Home Secretary, and was instrumental in using troops to break strikes. He was critised for sending troops to a miners' strike in Tonypandy in 1910. This earned him years of hostility from the Labour movement. Another sign of his daring was his part in the siege of Sidney Street in 1911.

He moved on yet again in 1911 to be First Lord of the Admiralty, where he established the Royal Naval Air Squadron (the forerunner of the Fleet Air Arm). However, he was the main proponent of the disastrous Dardanelles Campaign, for which he was made scapegoat, and he resigned in 1915, going on to fight in the trenches. Churchill served as a major with the Grenadiers and later commanded the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Churchill's absence was short-lived, as he was recalled in 1916 as Minister of Munitions - Simon showed special handstamps from the archive - and Churchill went on to become Secretary of State for War until 1920, when he became Colonial Secretary. Here he sorted out the problems around Irish Independence, dealt with the territories that had been German Colonies such as South West Africa, and was instrumental in reaching agreement on the borders of Iraq and Jordan.

Simon showed more than twenty full-page Punch cartoons illustrating Churchill's political career up to the 1930s. A highly unpolitically correct cartoon "The Winston Walk in Central Africa" showed what was supposed to be the "Winston effect on the natives."

In the 1922 election Winston lost his seat, reviewed his position and decided to rejoin the Tories. In 1924 he was elected as Member for Epping and became Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, in 1929 the Tories were defeated in the General Election, and Winston began his ‘wilderness years’ out of office until 1935, during which he engaged with vigour in profuse private activity but maintained an independent and mainly unpopular interest in politics. His intense activities included writing, painting, brickwork, farming, home making (rebuilding Chartwell) and aviation. However, in 1932/3 he gave early warning of the dangers of Adolf Hitler. Simon ascribes Churchill's political unpopularity at the time to:

  • his reluctance to accept eventual Indian self-government
  • his quiet support for King Edward VIII
  • his concern about the rise of Hitler and German aggression, which people did not wish to hear about because of the dreadful war only recently ended.

When the Tories returned to power in 1935, Churchill was kept from office by Chamberlain, whose policy of appeasement he deplored. However, with the outbreak of war, he became First Lord of the Admiralty (again).

Simon illustrated all these episodes with appropriate material. To close the first half, we were shown a section on Chartwell, Churchill's house in Kent. Although his wife hated the house, much was done to extend and improve it. The property is now run by the National Trust.

Chartwell, Kent.

Opening the second half, Simon noted that he had an extensive collection of Churchill books.

Winston Churchill had returned to the Admiralty on the first day of World War II and, when Western Europe was invaded on 9th May 1940, he became Prime Minister. His assumption of the premiership brought him the leadership which he had always believed was his destiny, and he referred to it as his "Date with Destiny". He helped the public view the evacuation at Dunkirk as a success, followed later in the year by Britain's victory in the Battle of Britain which prevented invasion.

Churchill's speeches galvanised the spirit of the nation. In the conduct of the war he had complete control of strategy. He was instrumental in agreeing with the Unites States that the recapture of Europe came first. He also negotiated the crucial ‘Lend-lease’ agreement for armaments. However, when the United States entered the war, Churchill was irritated by their major influence.

Churchill was keen on new technology, and was instrumental in approving the ‘bouncing bombs’ of Barnes Wallis and the development of the Mulberry Harbour for the D-Day landings. The appointment of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander took away some of his power.

Simon's display continued with World War II material including German propaganda cards, and a miniature sheet that showed a famous quote which suggested that Churchill believed Britain would suffer a great crisis and only he could handle the situation. There were also US patriotic covers and other material related to the Dunkirk evacuation, D-Day and Victory.

Examples of German propaganda cards, with a 'worthless stamp' depicting Winston Churchill.

At the end of the war Churchill lost the 1945 Election, but in 1946 he made his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech warning of the spread of communism. He also became concerned about the damage that could be caused if an H-Bomb was ever used.

Election poster.

Between 1951 and 1955 Churchill served again as Prime Minister, during a period in which Britain's influence in the world began to decline.

Simon's whole display was plentifully illustrated by covers, letters, photographs, telegrams, a family tree, and pictorial stamps showing events of Churchill's life and lifetime and a variety of people, places and activities relevant to the story.

The 1965 GB Winston Churchill commemorative issue was issued soon after his death. In Simon's opinion, this fine issue marked the beginning of a welcome liberalization of British stamp issuing policy initiated when Anthony Wedgwood Benn became Postmaster General. Benn was very radical, and fought tenaciously to remove the Queen's head from GB stamps. Benn commissioned essays of the 1965 Churchill stamps with no Queen's Head, and tried hard to get them approved. The stamps issued on 8th July 1965 incorporated a vertical white line separating the Queen's head from the rest of the stamp.

Essay for the 1/3 Churchill commemorative stamp, without the Queen's head and with Great Britain, with the issued stamps designed by David Gentleman.

Winston Churchill had been made an honourary citizen of the U.S. when John Kennedy signed a special Congressional bill. On 13th May 1965, the USA issued a 5¢ stamp honouring Churchill. The stamp features the "Angry Lion" photograph taken in 1941 by Yousuf Karsh of Ottawa, and it was first issued in Fulton, Missouri. This was because it was at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, on 5th March 1946 that Churchill delivered a speech, titled "Sinews of Peace," which contained the famous line, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent...."

US First Day Cover of the 5¢ Churchill Memorial stamp.

In 1965, New Zealand readily agreed to the suggestion of the Australian Post Office that Churchill commemorative stamps with a common design be prepared for issue on Commonwealth Day, 24th May 1965. The design was also based on the photographic study of Churchill in 1941 by Yousuf Karsh of Ottawa, and this has also featured on stamps showing Churchill issued as recently as 2014.

Australia and New Zealand Churchill stamps from 1965, and 2014 Churchill stamps from Montserrat and Great Britain.

An omnibus issue of Commonwealth commemoratives followed in 1966, almost all showing a striking view of St Paul's Cathedral during the London Blitz designed by Jennifer Toombs.

According to Jennifer Toombs "The design of the stamps was intended to be a positive way I could show my appreciation and gratitude for all that Churchill stood for." The Crown Agents' Stamp Bureau's notes state that "The design shows St. Paul's Cathedral standing amid the smoke and fire of the Blitz on London. It symbolizes Sir Winston's indomitable courage and own Christian faith in the face of adversity, both in the war and in peace, and the assurance and hope he has given to the nation time and again. Furthermore, his death fell near to the feast of St. Paul and it was in this Cathedral that his own last service was held."

First Day Cover of the St. Lucia Churchill commemorative stamps.

Simon's closing frames included copies of the essays produced for the omnibus issue. There were a few different designs and British Guiana was allowed to substitute its own cathedral in the picture.

Churchill stamps from The Gambia, Rhodesia and Jamaica.

British Guiana Churchill stamps.

On the centenary of Churchill's birth in 1974 four GB stamps showing periods of his life were issued on 9th October 1974 (and different designs in a few Commonwealth countries). The GB stamps, designed by Collis Clements and Edward Hughes, show Churchill in the uniform of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1942 (4½p) and in a photograph taken shortly after Dunkirk in 1940 (5½p), Secretary for War and Air in 1919 (8p) and in the uniform of the South African Light Horse in 1899 (10p). Churchill became the first non-Royal person to be celebrated twice on separate British stamp issues. Churchill is still viewed as an immense figure, and in 2003 he was voted the "Greatest Briton Ever".

GB Churchill Centenary stamps issued 9th October 1974.

Antigua and British Antarctic Territories Churchill Centenary stamps.

Grenada stamps and souvenir sheet for the 1974 Churchill Centenary.

Deputy Chairman Mark Bailey, in his Vote of Thanks, complimented Simon on his presentation, thoroughness and quality of material.

8th September 2015 - Union of South Africa - Christopher Oliver FRPSL

Chris Oliver's collecting interests started at the age of 7, and 9 years later he decided to specialise in South Africa.

The philately of South Africa reflects a complex history, and Chris Oliver set out the history of South Africa as a prelude to his display on the Union of South Africa.

The Union of South Africa was the predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31st May 1910 with the unification of four previously separate British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal Colony, Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony. Following World War I, the Union of South Africa was granted the administration of the German South-West Africa colony as a League of Nations mandate and it became treated in most respects as if it were another province of the Union.

The Union of South Africa was founded as a dominion of the British Empire. It was governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with the British monarch represented by a governor-general. The Union came to an end when the 1961 constitution was enacted. On 31st May 1961 the country became a sovereign republic, under the new name Republic of South Africa.

Initally the Union of South Africa used the postage stamps of the four previously separate colonies, and Chris displayed examples of these used on cover. These were followed by the 2½d stamp issued on Friday 4th November 1910 commemorating the formation of the Union of South Africa and the opening of the Union Parliament.

The 2½d stamp issued on 4th November 1910.

Between 1913 and 1924, a series of definitive stamps were in use, featuring the head of King George V.

The 1913-1924 definitives, including some colour varieties.

During 1925, a set of 4 airmail stamps were issued, and Chris showed some examples used on items of airmail.

The set of 4 airmail stamps issued in 1925.

Similar to the Cape of Good Hope triangular stamps from 1853-1864, featuring the figure of Hope sitting on an anchor, in 1926 South Africa issued 4d triangular stamps, two designs, one in English and one in Afrikaans, and of these, perforated and imperforate versions exist.

4d triangular stamps issued in 1926.

Also beginning in 1926 and running through until 1945, South Africa issued a set of pictorial definitives. These had text in English and in Afrikaans on alternate stamps in the sheet, and the name SuidAfrika was printed as all one word, without a hyphen, as it had been on the airmail and triangular stamps. The 3d value, originally printed in black and red, was re-issued in blue.

Pictorial definitive stamps, without a hyphen in SuidAfrika.

A set of 2 airmail stamps was issued in 1928, featuring an aircraft.

1928 Airmail stamps.

In 1933 a Central Committee was formed in Pretoria with the object of inaugurating a fund for the election of an appropriate national Voortrekker Monument, which, it was hoped, would be unveiled on 16th December 1938, on the centenary of the Battle of Blood River. Erection of the monument began on a chosen site overlooking Pretoria. For propaganda purposes and in order to assist the fund, the Government and the Postal Department were approached at the time with the object of seeking their cooperation. The result was that the issue of special Voortrekker stamps was sanctioned and on 1st May 1933, three stamps, 1d+½d, 2d+1d and 3d+1½d, were placed on sale in all post offices. Two-thirds of the value of the stamps represents postage and a third was allocated to the fund. The Afrikaans design had the name Suid-Afrika, that is with a hyphen, and the pictorial definitive series was also re-issued in 1933 with a hyphen in the name. On 15th January 1936 an additional value ½d+½d was added to the Voortrekker Monument stamps issued in May 1933.

Voortrekker Monument stamps.

Pictorial definitive stamps, with a hyphen in Suid-Afrika.

A set of 4 stamps was issued on the occasion of King George V's Silver Jubilee in 1935, and in 1936 a pair of souvenir miniature sheets were produced for the Johannesburg International Philatelic Exhibition (JIPEX 1936).

Set of 4 stamps commemorating King George V's Silver Jubilee 1910-1935.

Souvenir miniature sheets for JIPEX 1936.

To mark the coronation of King George VI on 12th May 1937, a set of 5 stamps was issued, denominated ½d, 1d, 1½d, 3d and 1/-.

King George VI's Coronation.

During 1938, South Africa issued 2 sets of stamps relating to the Voortrekkers. In August 1938 it was announced that on 15th December 1938 a special centenary set would be issued. The values were ½d+½d, 1d+1d, 1½d+1½d, and 3d+3d alternately in English and Afrikaans on the sheets, surcharged to raise funds. Then in September 1938 the issue of a further set of Voortrekker Commemoration stamps was announced. Chris displayed these along with a number of illustrated covers from when the trek was re-enacted.

The two sets of Voortrekkers' stamps issued in 1938.

1939 saw the issue of a set of 3 stamps commemorating the large scale emigration of Huguenots from France to the Cape of Good Hope, which took place during 1688 and 1689.

Stamps commemorating arrival of Huguenots.

South Africa issued a set of stamps for the War Effort in 1941, and then in 1942, produced a set of 8 bantam versions of the stamps, in an effort to save paper. These were perforated and then rouletted between the small stamps.

The 1941 South Africa War Effort stamps.

The 1942 South Africa War Effort bantam stamps.

Chris' display then moved onto the period at the end of World War 2, when a set of Victory stamps was issued.

The South Africa Victory issue.

King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the two Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, made a Royal Tour of the Union of South Africa during February-April 1947, and a set of three stamps was issued to mark the occasion.

The Royal Tour issue.

Although the war was over, in 1948 South Africa issued a bantam version of the 1½d stamp featuring mining. 1948 was also when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth celebrated their Silver Wedding, and a stamp was issued to commemorate the occasion.

The 1½d bantam stamps.

The South Africa Royal Silver Wedding stamps.

Chris then showed the 3 stamp issues from 1949, relating to the centenary of the arrival of settlers in Natal, the 75th Anniversary of the UPU and Voortrekker Inauguration.

The 1949 stamp issues of South Africa.

On 24th December 1651, accompanied by his wife and son, Jan van Riebeeck set off from Texel in The Netherlands for the Cape of Good Hope. Van Riebeeck had signed a contract with the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to oversee the setting up of a refreshment station to supply Dutch ships on their way to the East. Three ships carried Van Riebeeck accompanied by 82 men and 8 women, land was sighted on 5th April 1652 and the ships docked the next day. Within a week of the arrival of the three ships, work had begun on the Fort of Good Hope. The arrival of Van Riebeeck marked the beginning of permanent European settlement in the region. A set of stamps was issued in 1952 to mark the 300th anniversary of Van Riebeeck's landing, and two of the stamps were overprinted for the 1952 South African Tercentenary International Stamp Exhibition (SATISE) held in Cape Town.

The 1952 stamp issues of South Africa.

1953 saw three stamp issues from the Union of South Africa, the first to mark the Queen's Coronation, the second for the centenary of the issue of the Cape of Good Hope triangular stamps, and the third being a set of 3 definitives.

The 1953 stamp issues of South Africa.

In 1854 British Under-Secretary of State, Sir George Clerk, entered into negotiations with the Voortrekker leaders and Whites loyal to the British Crown in the region. The agreement reached led to the establishment of the Boer republic of the Orange Free State. The centenary of the establishment of the Orange Free State was marked by the issue of a set of 2 stamps. Also in 1954, a new long series of definitive stamps was issued featuring wildlife.

The 1954 stamps marking the centenary of the establishment of the Orange Free State.

The definitive stamps introduced in 1954.

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (1819-1901) founded the city of Pretoria in 1855. He named the city in honour of his father, the renowned Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius. The centenary of the establishment of Pretoria was commemorated by a stamp issue in 1955, and a philatelic exhibition was held in Pretoria. 1955 also saw the issue of a bilingual pair of stamps for the reaffirmation of the Voortrekker Covenant. In 1958 the centenary of the arrival of German settlers was marked by the issue of a stamp. During 1959, the 50th anniversary of the South African Academy for Science and Art was commemorated, and a stamp was also issued for the SANAE, the South African National Antarctic Expedition, that first overwintered at Norway Station, taken over by South Africa from Norway after the end of the International Geophysical Year.

The commemorative stamps issued in 1955, 1958 and 1959, with a souvenir of the philatelic exhibition Teppex 1955.

The Union of South Africa celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1960, and this was marked by the issue of a set of 4 stamps and also a single 3d stamp issued to mark Union Day that showed all the South African Prime Ministers. A stamp was issued to commemorate the centenary of the railway in South Africa in 1960, also.

The commemorative stamps issued in 1960.

The Union of South Africa introduced decimal currency in 1961, and Chris completed his display with the new series of definitives that was issued.

The decimal currency definitive stamps issued in 1961.

Brian Pugsley thanked Chris for such an interesting and comprehensive display of material.

25th August 2015 - Jamaica - Steve Jarvis FRPSL

Steve Jarvis brought us a splendid selection of material from his collection. His collecting interest is almost exclusively Jamaica, in which he has specialized since the mid 1970s, collecting to a greater or lesser extent all aspects from 1765 to 2000.

He is co-author (with the late Derek Sutcliffe) of the Encyclopaedia of Jamaica Philately, and three volumes have been published so far with more in the pipe-line. Steve is Editor of the Royal Philatelic Society London's journal, The London Philatelist, and a significant contributor to the development of their web site and online catalogue facility.

Steve brought an outstanding display of the stamps and postal history of Jamaica, with material showing various aspects of Jamaica philately beginning with the British stamps first issued in Jamaica on 8th May 1858.

The only British stamps officially issued for use in Jamaica were:

1d Red (stars in upper corners) Watermark Large Crown Perf. 14.
4d Rose-Carmine or Rose. (No letters in corners) Watermark Large Garter, Perf. 14.
6d Lilac, or Pale Lilac. (No letters in corners) Watermark Emblems, Perf. 14.
1s. Green. (No letters in corners) Watermark Emblems, Perf. 14.

In 1860 Jamaica took control of its own Post Office from the Imperial Post Office. For the previous two years, the stamps of Great Britain had been used on the island but after the decision, which was mandated by Great Britain, to transfer control was taken, no further supplies of GB adhesives were despatched. Jamaica commissioned De La Rue to design and print their stamps. The Queen’s head was based on that used by GB but with a laurel leaf around her head. The frame designs were developed for Jamaica.

The initial denominations were 1d, 2d, 4d, 6d and 1s. The 3d value was added in 1863 (for the ship letter rate).

Blocks of Jamaica's 2d, 3d and 4d stamps.

A ½d claret arrived on 29th October 1872 (previously the 1d had been authorized to be bisected) and 2s and 5s values added in 1875. Some of the designs continued to be printed for 60 years and the paper utilised went through four versions of watermark: 1860s Pineapple, 1870s Crown CC, 1880s Crown CA, and 1900s Multiple Crown CA.

Jamaica's 1 shilling stamp.

The colour of the ink and paper used varied according to the evolution of the UPU colour scheme and security printing techniques, for instance in February 1885, a new ½d green stamp was issued in the same design showing a Laureated Head of Queen Victoria.

½d claret and ½d green stamps.

Steve's display of Jamaican Mail 1858-1860 covered both internal and incoming mail. He showed many examples of usage of the Post Town Obliterators of Jamaica, also a range of Railway Station Postmarks and Travelling Post Office Markings. Steve also showed a selection of items that had been received at the Post Office, advertised as being available for collection so that the addressee could come and collect them, and then returned to sender as they were unclaimed.

Jamaica 1910 3d Pale purple on yellow.

The material from the 20th century included new colours for Queen Victoria's stamps, as well as stamps from the reigns of Kings Edward VII, George V, and George VI.

A selection of Jamaican stamps.

Steve also showed an example of the 1920 1s stamp with Frame Inverted error.

The 1 shilling inverted frame error.

Steve's display ended with a selection of airmail covers and a collection of items of mail sent from Jamaica to the United States of America, including covers flown on the first flight of the Hindenburg from Lakehurst to Frankfurt on 12th-14th May 1936.

Covers posted from Jamaica to be carried on the first flight of the Hindenburg from North America to Europe.

21st August 2015 - Website Update

During part of August, people trying to use this website were unable to do so, with access to the website resulting in the display of an error message Service Temporarily Unavailable. To prevent this unscheduled outage from continuing, the website has been moved to another host.

The Webmaster, Mark Bailey, would like to apologise for the period of unavailability of the website, and hopes that this move will ensure that a more reliable service will be maintained.

11th August 2015

Instead of meeting in our regular meeting room, because of works being undertaken to the floor, we gathered in the church, although because of holidays there were less members present than usual.

The subject for the evening was "Three Sheets to Tell a Story" or "Three of my Favourite Things", and while most presenters followed the rules, some stretched them.

David Gerken showed Sydney Harbour Bridge from its opening in 1932 to the 75th Anniversary. He included a fold out letterette style postcard with photographs of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Souvenir Telegram and the 75th Anniversary Issue.

Souvenir Telegram marking the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and information on the back of the letterette.

Michael Curling educated us about the introduction of Ferns in the Victorian era. He included a range of Picture Postcards and a sale catalogue from the fern nursery of William and John Birkenhead of Sale, near Manchester, which at the end of the 19th century was the biggest and best known in the world.

Catalogue of Ferns cultivated by W. & J. Birkenhead.

Mark Bailey first showed a document with Insurance Stamps relating to a case of used clothes that was sent by barge from Amsterdam to the Hague during the German Occupation of the Netherlands in November 1944, during the "hunger winter". His second showing told the story of the Swedish naval vessel the "Vasa" (or "Wasa") which sank on its maiden voyage in Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961. It is the only preserved 17th century ship in the world and has its own Museum.

Stamps relating to the Vasa and the opening of the Vasa Museum.

Alan Kane (using four sheets!) showed a Mobile Post Office cancel from Coleraine (Northern Ireland), a First Day Cover of the set of Buses stamps issued by the UK on 15th May 2001 that includes a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX-33 bus on route 59 to Balmoral, and material relating to the first Postbus in Northern Ireland, including an advertising handbill and timetable.

Detail showing 2 of the buses stamps, with the Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX-33 bus on route 59 to Balmoral.

Trevor Cornford showed an eBay page advertising for sale a sled from the 1901 Scott Expedition, a framed set of four Wrench Postcards used from the Scott Expedition and an envelope, letter and photograph from Lieutenant Henry Robertson (Birdie) Bowers on the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition (1910-1913).

Eric Holmes told the story of the 1918 War Tax labels of Gibraltar. In 1918, the colonial government of Gibraltar levied a war tax on letter mail, in order to collect money to defray the costs of World War I. For this purpose, ½d definitive Gibraltar stamps were overprinted WAR TAX. They were only required to be used on mail to Commonwealth countries, not foreign countries. The notice announcing them omitted to say that they were labels, not stamps, and so a further notice of clarification was required. They were printed locally and a number of interesting varieties occur. The labels were withdrawn in December 1918, and many mint ones were remaindered. They were sent to the UPU as "stamps", but not overprinted Specimen.

Gibraltar War Tax labels.

Cover bearing ½d Green with War Tax Overprint issue of 1918 addressed to Southampton, England; date stamp 16 May 1918.

Alwyn Lowe's display told the story of the romance between Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly, including the Wedding Stamps, issues celebrating the birth of their children and 25th Wedding Anniversary stamps. He concluded with issues commemorating her life after she suffered a stroke while driving and subsequently died in hospital in September 1982.

Stamps showing Princess Grace of Monaco.

In the second part of the meeting, Patrick Reid showed Tasmania essays illustrating the development of the Pictorial issue of 1899. The Pictorial Stamps were a promotional initiative of the government to raise awareness around the world of Tasmania's scenic views. Inspired by pictorial issues in the USA (1893 and 1898), North Borneo (1894) and British Guiana and New Zealand (1898), they were produced from 1899 until 1912. Initially known as the 'Scenery Stamps', they became more widely known as the 'Tasmanian Pictorial Stamps'. Patrick's display included a rejected design for the 2½d, the accepted design for the 1d and the sad results of someone's attempt to clean one of the three essays for the 3d. Patrick explained that he had wanted to bring a Colonial proof of the local printing of the 6d, illustrating the transfer of production from De La Rue to the Government Printer in Melbourne, but he had been unable to find it.

Tasmanian Pictorial Stamps.

Finally, Trevor Cornford showed further material relating to Polar Exploration. This included a letter from the Scott Expedition relief ship Morning and an original print of it as well as a letter from Shackleton to the wife of a friend and its cover. From the Royal Geographic Society came a notice of a public reception by Robert Falcon Scott and the men of the Discovery for the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904), on 7 November 1904 at the Royal Albert Hall, London, a notice for an evening meeting in 1903 and a handbill for a London Lecture by Scott.


Brian Pugsley thanked all who had brought along material.

28th July 2015 - Annual General Meeting

At the Annual General Meeting, the Society's Officers presented their annual reports. This was followed by the election of the Officers and Committee for the 2015-2016 period. Julian Burgess had stood down from the Committee during the year, and Phil Gribble was elected to replace Julian on the Committee. All the other Committee members and Officers were re-elected to serve for another year. The membership subscription rates were discussed, and there is no increase to the membership subscriptions. The Society rules were amended to add a rule concerning the recently introduced Vendor Membership.

14th July 2015 - German East Africa 1914-1917 - Michael Farrant Hon FRPSL

In introducing our guest speaker, Michael Farrant, Brian Pugsley commented on how impressive his philatelic CV was, and Michael's display lived up to the billing.

Michael explained that his display covered the First World War in Africa from a German point of view. Germany lost six Pacific colonies by the end of 1914, and then Kiautschou, South West Africa, Togo and Cameroon by the end of 1915. The display concerned German East Africa, which covered modern Tanzania and what was Ruanda-Urundi. It had been a German colony for 25 years and was well settled, but it was surrounded by British colonies and the Belgian Congo, so the only outlet to the sea was via Mozambique.

Michael began the display with a Registered postcard that went on the last pre-war steamer and arrived in Germany on 11th August 1914. This was followed by a Registered letter to London that was censored and arrived in September. After the war began, there was no shipping to German East Africa, so there are plenty of "Return to Sender" covers.

The Germans were pro-active and made a minor invasion of Kenya, capturing Taveta, and a special cancel was produced. Under a gentlemen's agreement, for a period of about four weeks beginning in mid-August 1914, a small quantity of mail was taken out of the German colony by the light cruiser HMS Pegasus, one of the ships of the British squadron blockading the coast. This mail was carried to Zanzibar and eventually delivered in Germany and other European destinations in late September 1914. It was limited to "open mail" (postcards, printed matter, unsealed letters) written in clear unencrypted German to facilitate censorship. HMS Pegasus was sunk in Zanzibar harbor by the "Konigsberg" the following month.

Next came some scarce items of Internment mail. There were camps at Kiboriamiand (short-term) and at Bugiri. As the situation settled down, mails were collected monthly and sent to Mozambique, via Lisbon to Holland and then Germany. Much use was made of postcards. Mails addressed to German East Africa were stored in Zanzibar (for around 50 years!)

From 1915 most places used home-made date plugs for the year. Germany posts operated a system of Parcel Cards and we saw some examples from GEA, followed by a Registered letter to Dar Es Salaam.

Within GEA, a subscription service provided snippets of war news daily via postcards, of which we saw examples.

A war news card.

Attempts were still made to get mail through by indirect means. We were shown examples sent via Italy (unsuccessful) and Mozambique (successful).

Registered envelope from Aruscha, German East Africa to Stockholm via Lisbon.

In May 1915 stamp supplies ran low, and cash franking was allowed for Printed Matter, Wrappers and Parcel Cards. Later in 1915 local stamps were produced at the local Mission. Values of 2½, 7½ and 1 Rupee were issued. There were plenty of varieties resulting from the use of different typefaces because of a shortage of print.

The first half of the evening closed with three postcards with a special cancel from the SMS Konigsberg that was on station at Dar Es Salaam at the beginning of the war.

A map of German East Africa.

The second part of the display continued the story of the Konigsberg. The British Admiralty was concerned about the Konigsberg and launched a campaign to destroy her. She worked as a commerce raider, but became increasingly desperate for supplies of coal. Despite being hidden under jungle cover, she was eventually found and sunk. However, the Germans stripped all the guns from the ship and removed the stamps that she was carrying and distributed them to 10 post offices in GEA. We were shown examples of these used, including the (very difficult) 1 Mark. The crew were deployed on land and used the guns as artillery.

3 examples of Konigsberg blockade mail and (lower left) a card carried aboard HMS Pegasus.

Supplies had dwindled further by 1916 and emergency Parcel Cards were issued. Home-made date plugs were once again deployed. Attempts to send mail to India were Returned to Sender. However telegrams got through and we were shown examples as well as an underpaid cover (taxed in blue crayon) and an unusual special rate Parcel Card.

Later in 1916, Cash franking was extended to all classes of mail. Wilhelmstal was an area of large farms and plantations and the district was valued for its pleasant mountain climate. Between 1893 and 1911 the German Ostafrikanische Eisenbahngesellschaft (East African Railway Cooperation) constructed an important railway line starting at Tanga on the coast and passing along the Usambara Mountains with a station established at Mombo, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Wilhelmstal, to "New" Moshi at Kilimanjaro. The initial plan of the Usambarabahn was to connect the port of Tanga with Lake Victoria by passing south of the Usambara Mountains. This was in direct competition with parallel British efforts in colonial Kenya. A remarkable item shown was the unique Wilhelmstal Parcel Card.

Prepaid envelopes for local use were franked in groups of ten. We saw usage and uprated examples. Special Printed to Private Order envelopes were printed in red for Dr Ludwig Deppe, who campaigned with Count von Lettow-Vorbeck and who had formerly headed the hospital at Tanga. Only 10 were produced and we saw a rare survivor.

In May 1916, the second successful blockade runner brought a supply of date plugs. These were distributed and used, but many were short lived.

Next came one of only two recorded covers from Urundi and examples of Feldpost Offices 1, 2 and 3. An unusual item was possibly the only Money Order issued via an FPO.

Examples of the 3 Feldpost postmarks on pieces.

The last Post Office to close was Makenga in June 1917. Throughout the war the GEA troops (and later sailors) were led by Count von Lettow-Vorbeck, who never surrendered. Hostilities ceased on 14th November 1918.

Brian Pugsley thanked Michael for giving us a fascinating history lesson on a forgotten part of the First World War, illustrated with a superb range of material from Michael's collection that is likely to be better than any held in Germany.

23rd June 2015 - The New Zealand Definitive Story - Brian Stonestreet FRPSL

The Society was pleased to welcome Brian Stonestreet and his wife to our meeting.

Brian began his talk by telling us the display covered the issues of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. When he first began collecting the stamps of New Zealand and acquired several items, he saw the Campbell Patterson catalogue and realised there was still more to collect.

The display started with the ½d green, 1d red and 1½d chocolate values issued on 1st March 1938. Brian explained how the shades can be difficult and that the stamps come in vertical and horizontal mesh. The 1941 ½d chestnut issue was next. The first issues had the plate number in the right hand selvedge of the sheet, then it moved to the bottom, and both were shown as well as imprint blocks, and the stamps are issued on fine and coarse paper.

A selection of the low value New Zealand King George VI definitive stamps.

The 1½d chocolate issue was for the airmail service and a commercial FDC from New Zealand to Birmingham was shown. The 1944 1d red issued in wartime is interesting because there were problems with the ink and so more shades were generated.

Coil stamps were next and these were issued to the busy post office clerks as 6 rolls of 480 stamps. Identifying numbers on these, counting down the stamps in the rolls, were initially made with a rubber stamp but later machine printing was used.

New Zealand 4d coil stamps showing the identifying numbers.

The 4d value also generated a lot of shades. Makeup rates were issued in fine and coarse paper and a few plates. The 8d and 9d values were shown next and then the 1s to 3s values. The shilling value comes in Die I and Die II and the difference is in the background shading, which is darker on Die II. This issue also has the variety of the broken E. There were printing issues with the ink binding to the plate and Brian explained that the sideways watermark version is more common.

The high value New Zealand King George VI definitive stamps.

Mail was transported in bags and a label with the whole eyelet was shown and the stamp, an unusual item as normally the labels were torn off the mailbags and damaged. The next variety between the dies for the 1/3 value concerns an extra line in the scroll ornament caused by damage to the roller.

Details of the differences in the scroll ornament.

The end of this issue yields upright watermarks. The 1/3 value was used for items weighing between 3 and 7 pounds. The 2s issue for parcels was shown with plate blocks and flaws, some of which are very small.

Booklet panes followed with upright and inverted watermarks. By 1952 the printing problems had been resolved. Price increases resulted in overprints but some of these do not cover the old value properly or the overprints have shifted. Brian mentioned that these can be obtained at a reasonable price.

The 1½d Arms overprint was shown with a black line in the margin to prevent fraud. The official overprints including the 1s and 2s values were next with the flaw.

New Zealand King George VI surcharged definitives and Official overprint.

Brian moved on to the issues from 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II. The first issue was generally on coarse paper and the display included booklet panes and shades of the 1½d value. The Arms overprint appeared again for the 1½d value to cover the demand during the Christmas period. The 2d value suffers from the plate cracking and the selvedge is affected. The 3d value was next including a booklet.

Coils also featured with different numbering, some upside down and so on. The 4d, 6d and 8d values included some value blocks. If a half sheet was issued the total value in the margin was amended.

New Zealand 1953 8d red definitive.

The 9d to 1/9 high values were next with the two tone printing. Again the value was shown in the sheet margin and there are subtle shading varieties on the Queen. Thick white paper issues and proofs were displayed including the 10s registered parcel rate of 1957.

In 1956 there was a design change as the 5d value was hard to see. The QEII issues no longer have the wording postage and revenue and again there is coarse and thick white paper to collect.

Coils and plate blocks were featured and some of these have a dot after certain numbers up to 8d. The high value issues were as before. The 8d red issue was changed to brown to make it easier to distinguish. The old sheets should have gone back to be overprinted but some older ones were left at the post offices. We were told there are a lot of forgeries.

The 2½d value has a 5.5 mm gap between the ½ and the d, but some are just 5mm and some touch. There can be combinations if the slug was changed on part of the sheet.

By 1964 the airmail rate was 7d and there was no value available, so the Arms were overprinted again and a block was shown. Officials ended in 1963. Again coarse and white paper is found and some blocks were shown.

There were some proofs on card which had been signed off in 1959 and examples of inverted watermarks. There was a 4d stamp printed on the gummed side with a reversed and inverted watermark. There was only one sheet of 240 of these, the error coming to light when the postal clerk reported that the stamps would not stick and the remainder were recalled.

Finally there were the 9d and 1s values, the 6d overprint on the 1½d which paid the foreign printer matter rate which had increased, and the 2½d on the 2d.

In the second half, Brian showed a comprehensive display of the pictorial definitives, including those featuring New Zealand's industries, aspects of Maori culture, flowers, birds, moths, roses, kiwis, etc.

A selection of New Zealand's colourful definitive issues.

Some of New Zealand's high value definitive stamps.

Chairman Brian Pugsley thanked Brian Stonestreet for such a comprehensive and well-presented display of New Zealand's numerous definitive issues.

9th June 2015 - Competitions

For the Society's Annual Competition evening, entries were received for four classes, but only one class had more than a single entry. The results were as follows:

The Advanced Class had three entries, all considered by the judges to be of a high standard.
Winner Eric Holmes - Gibraltar King Edward VII Essays and Die Proofs
2nd place Derek Steele - Canadian Airmails and Pilots
3rd place Trevor Cornford - The International Geophysical Year 1957-1958


Awarded to Ron Stone - American Presidents who were Masons.


Awarded to Derek Steele - Newfoundland Pioneer Flights.

There was a single entry in the Open Competition.
This was an exhibit by David Walker on the subject of Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Tony Stanford and Anthony Simmonds from Maidenhead were the judges, and they provided constructive comments on all the entries. Chairman Brian Pugsley thanked them for judging the entries and for their comments on the entries that, he hoped, would provide useful feedback to the competitors.

The Club Competition had two entries:
1st place Derek Steele - Wokingham Post Marks
2nd place Ron Stone - The United States of America.

12th May 2015 - Faster Than A Bullet - The Concorde Story - Brian Asquith

Brian Asquith, Chairman of The Concorde Study Group, treated us to a nationally renowned in-depth display of Concorde, which included much unique material.

Beginning with the Agreement regarding the Development and Production of a Civil Supersonic Transport Aircraft signed on 29th November 1962, Brian showed material through to the crash in Paris on 25th July 2000.

Reflecting the treaty between the British and French governments which led to Concorde's construction, the name Concorde is from the French word concorde, which has an English equivalent, concord. Both words mean agreement, harmony or union. The name was officially changed to Concord by Harold Macmillan in response to a perceived slight by Charles de Gaulle. In 1967, at the French roll-out in Toulouse the British Government Minister for Technology, Tony Benn, announced that he would change the spelling back to Concorde. This created a nationalist uproar that died down when Benn stated that the suffixed 'e' represented "Excellence, England, Europe and Entente (Cordiale)." In his memoirs, he explained that he received a letter from an irate Scotsman claiming: "You talk about 'E' for England, but part of it is made in Scotland". Given Scotland's contribution of providing the nose cone for the aircraft, Benn replied "It was also 'E' for 'Écosse' (the French name for Scotland) and I might have added 'e' for extravagance and 'e' for escalation as well!"

Concorde also acquired an unusual nomenclature for an aircraft. In common usage in the United Kingdom, the type is known as Concorde without an article, rather than the Concorde or a Concorde.

A stamp to mark the Anglo-French Concorde project was felt right by the Post Office, to emphasise the British involvement. Both the British and French Post Offices decided it best to celebrate the first flight, with each designing its own stamps.

There would be three British stamps, 4d, 9d and 1s 6d, showing Concorde and symbolising the co-operation of the two nations. Designs were commissioned, and two unsolicited designs were received, all examined for accuracy by the Ministry of Technology. The favoured designs came from David Gentleman, Michael Goaman, and an unsolicited design from a Mr Doubtfire.

However, all the while there was caution, over fears that either government might pull out of the project. Eventually, the three required designs were selected: 4d Concorde in flight by Michael and Sylvia Goaman; 9d Plan and elevation views by David Gentleman; 1s 6d Concorde's nose and tail by David Gentleman.

The first flight was expected on 28th February 1968, and the stamps were ready to meet that date. A delay of nearly a year occurred, by which time the basic postage rate had risen to 5d. It was decided to continue with the 4d value, which, having been printed with two phosphor bands, would be treated by the automatic letter facing machinery as 'first class'.

The first flight of Concorde took place in France on Sunday 2nd March 1969 and the British stamps were issued on Monday 3rd March. Brian's stamp material included original artwork created by David Gentleman for the stamp issue and a selection of varieties, colour shifts and flaws on the issued stamps.

The British 4d value showing Concorde in flight over Europe, designed by Michael and Sylvia Goaman, issued on 3rd March 1969.

Design no.6 submitted on 9th October 1967 by David Gentleman on behalf of Harrison & Sons Ltd. It features repeated silhouettes of Concorde in five different shades of blue, overlaid on each other, together with the flags of France and Great Britain side by side. It was seen by the Postmaster General on 13th November 1967 and short-listed for essaying, but was subsequently rejected.  This artwork is in the British Postal Museum & Archive.

The 9d value from the 1969 British Concorde stamp issue, designed by David Gentleman.

1969 British Concorde 1s 6d imperforate plate proof right margin singles of the silver-grey (Queen's head only) cylinder, and the deep blue cylinder, on gummed unwatermarked paper, together with variety silver-grey omitted, and the normal issued stamp.

The range of material was extensive, including presentation packs in English and German, meter marks, cards, car stickers, aerogrammes and a variety of covers, many of them signed by the aircrew who flew the aircraft.

Cover with appropriate Bristol meter mark, commemorating the maiden flight of Concorde 4 from Filton to Fairford in 1975.

Brian, who was the author of the Concorde Collectors Handbook, which he published in March 1981, also showed stamps from various countries featuring the aircraft, and he explained that his interest brought him into contact with many people associated with Concorde, including the senior French pilot Edouard Chemel, who invited Brian to become his "flight engineer" in order to be present on the 20th anniversary flight of Concorde from London to Toulouse in 1989.

Signed cover marking the flight of the first UK-built Concorde from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9th April 1969, piloted by Brian Trubshaw.

Cover commemorating the 30th anniversary of Concorde's first flight, signed by André Turcat and Brian Trubshaw.

Brian has amassed an amazing collection of letters, stamps and ephemera connected with Concorde, and his comprehensive display included many stamps featuring the aircraft from numerous countries. A collection of Cinderellas from the Anti-Concorde Project is particularly intriguing. This Project was founded by a retired schoolteacher, Richard John Wiggs (1929-2001) of Letchworth, Hertfordshire, who was also involved in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and was the founder of the Anti-Nuclear Weapons Freeze Advertising Campaign. In 1971 he published his book The Case Against Supersonic Transport.

Stamps showing Concorde from Brazil, Kampuchea, the Republic of Chad, Hungary, Nauru, New Hebrides Condominium, and Wallis and Futuna.

The stamp artwork, essays, and covers flown on board the famous aircraft, and the inclusion of non-philatelic material all brought the subject to life. Brian showed us menus from special flights, magazine and newspaper clippings, official flight programmes, and photographs of members of the Concorde crew, many of whom Brian has befriended over his years of collecting.

French Concorde stamps from 1969 and 1976, a 23rd March 2002 first day cover, signed by André Turcat and bearing a French 0.46 Euro Concorde stamp from the 'Transport in the 20th Century' set depicting F-BTSC, the aircraft that crashed in Paris, together with Concorde stamps from Niger and the French Territory of Afars and Issas (present-day Djibouti).

There were some very special items, including a French commemorative first flight cover from 2nd March 1969, signed by French Test Pilot André Turcat, British Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw and others, and a British First Flight cover dated 9th April 1969, signed by Brian Trubshaw and others. There was one of 4 African Total Solar Eclipse cards, certified flown by British scientist John E. Beckman and Pilot André Turcat, a cover carried during the first visit of Concorde to the USA (18th to 20th September 1973) signed by the Pilot Jean Franchi, and a selection of flown cards and a cover relating to the Middle and Far East Development Flight Tour between 6th August and 13th September 1974.

A souvenir cover for the Middle and Far East Development Flight, postmarked at Hounslow on 7th August 1974.

A miniature sheet of stamps from the Maldives and two stamps from Singapore featuring Concorde.

Although a success, Concorde's maiden flight never actually reached above 300 mph, thus failing to achieve its potential supersonic status. Concorde's first supersonic flight came on 1st October 1969 where it achieved closer to the 1,354 mph cruising speed it was capable of. Concorde's first commercial flights took place on 21st January 1976; Air France flew from Paris to Rio de Janeiro and British Airways flew from London Heathrow to Bahrain.

Cover commemorating the inaugural flight of a British Airways' Concorde from Bahrain to London on 22nd January 1976.

Front and back of an aerogramme carried aboard the inaugural flight of a British Airways' Concorde from Bahrain to London on 22nd January 1976.

On Friday 24th October 2003 the last fight of Concorde by British Airways as a fare paying passenger aircraft took place. Concorde's final flight was on 26th November 2003, following the tragic aftermath of Concorde's only crash on 25th July 2000, and the global economic downturn of the subsequent years.

British 1st class stamp featuring Concorde from the Design Classics issue of 13th January 2009, Solomon Islands' 2013 $35 souvenir sheet 'Concorde Remembrance' showing Air France and British Airways' Concorde aircraft, British May 2002 1st Class stamp showing Concorde in 1976, and Liberia's 2007 $350 gold foil stamp featuring Concorde taking off from London Heathrow Airport, in celebration of aeronautic achievement.

Cover marking the final flight of a British Airways' Concorde from London to Filton on 24th November 2003.

A miniature sheet from the Republic of Guinea-Bissau marking the 10th anniversary of the tragic crash in Paris.

His vast array of interesting material enabled Brian to tell the story of one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century. Chairman Brian Pugsley thanked Brian Asquith for his display and talk, which was very well received, deservedly so, as we were all impressed by Brian's level of knowledge and obvious passion for the subject.

28th April 2015 - British Inland Posts Before 1660 and Early Maritime Letters - Malcolm Ray-Smith

With Chairman Brian Pugsley delayed in his journey to the meeting by a closure of part of the M4 motorway, Deputy Chairman Mark Bailey opened the meeting and welcomed Malcolm Ray-Smith.

Malcolm opened his display of British Inland Posts before 1660 with a letter written in 1513, during the reign of King Henry VIII, from Sir Francis Bryan to John Goury in Norfolk. He showed more than 90 letters spanning the period 1553 to 1659, including some from people in various towns in Britain to Philippo Corsini, a banker from Florence who was in London. The material included a short entire from the first public post in 1636, and was an astonishing selection of fine examples of such early postal items.

Items of mail from the correspondence to Philippo Corsini in London, dating from the 1570s and 1580s.

After the refreshment break, Malcolm turned his attention to early maritime letters, with material spanning the period 1423 to 1852, plus a picture postcard of HMS Argyleshire dating from 1911 bearing a strike of a ship letter marking for Portland Harbour S.O. This material began with merchant post from London to Venice in the 15th century. Malcolm explained that he is well on the way to having obtained examples of ship letters from each of the ports around the British Isles that had a ship letter office.

Ship letters.

Chairman Brian Pugsley, having arrived in time to see the majority of the presentation, thanked Malcolm for an outstanding display of postal history material, the likes of which, Brian was certain, very few, if any, of the members would have seen before.

14th April 2015 - Thematic Evening - Land, Sea & Air

The Society members provided their own entertainment with displays of up to 16 sheets on the theme of "Land, Sea and Air".

First to show was Mark Bailey, with material relating to the Velopost service that operates in Bath, Bristol and Edinburgh. This is a low cost, green and local alternative to Royal Mail, collecting and delivering letters by bicycle and an electric vehicle for businesses and organisations in those 3 cities. They have colourful self-adhesive "stamps" featuring bridges.

Velopost labels on pieces from items of mail delivered by the service in Bristol.

Tom Cope displayed 16 sheets featuring stamps showing the Douglas DC3, known as the Dakota, for many years the aviation workhorse.

Stamps featuring the Douglas DC3 Dakota aircraft.

Derek Steele showed a range of Canadian Airmail covers, including pilot-signed, from 1928 onwards. Many of the flights were involved in Arctic Exploration.

Eric Holmes covered the development of Gibraltar Air Letters, from a GB Air Letter with a Gibraltar stamp, through local ones, including varieties, and a 1969 Sabena First Flight Cover to Brussels, to ones overprinted for special events and newer ones with attractive designs on them. He ended with Ministry of Defence forms, that were only available from the British Forces Post Office (BFPO).

A selection of Gibraltar Air Letters.

Trevor Cornford gave us an eclectic mix; a stereo photograph of the bridge over Victoria Falls, photographs from the Glasgow Empire Exhibition and material related to the Rhodesian Air Training Group. On a maritime theme, Trevor showed material relating to Scott and Shackleton, and finally an Ode to the Great Barrier Reef.

Envelopes from members of the Rhodesian Air Training Group on Active Service in 1941.

Alwyn Lowe displayed a wide selection of material. For land, we saw items related to Overland Mail, the Pony Express (which became part of Wells Fargo), New Zealand Pony Express and examples of the Swedish Rural Delivery Service. This was followed by Railway Centenaries, Bavarian Coach Mail, and miniature sheets showing various ways of carrying the post. Next came steamship mails, Faeroe Islands posthouses, and mails delivered by Air and Foot. Exotic means of mail transport included Tin Can Mail, Pigeongrams and the Paris Pneumatic Post. Alwyn finished his display with the UK centenary of the first Airmail Stamps, a selection from San Marino and Helicopter mail.

New Zealand centennial covers for the Pony Express from 1963, a block of the 4c stamp issued by the United States in 1960 to mark the centenary of their Pony Express, and a 1968 French stamp celebrating the Centenary of the Paris Pneumatic Post.

Patrick Reid showed a selection of New South Wales Postage Due mail, all of which travelled by land and had also travelled by either ship or aeroplane.

New South Wales mail with Postage Due markings, sent to England, Malta and British Columbia.

1909 Postmark for Wellington College Station S.O.

Alan Kane concentrated on a maritime theme, with Paquebot covers, mails carried by various shipping companies, and material related to the Harland and Wolff shipyard. He followed with inshore patrol craft and weather ships. Continuing the Ulster connection, he showed Londonderry Harbour, and HMS Belfast. Alan finished with material related to Trinity House (lighthouses), H.M. Coastguard and canals.

Michael Curling presented postcards relating to Crowthorne Station as it is now and the time when it was Wellington College Station, as the station opened in 1859 to serve Wellington College. It remained as Wellington College for Crowthorne until 17th June 1928, when it was renamed Crowthorne.

David Gerken illustrated the four basic types of bridge, being beam, cantilever, arch and suspension, with suitable material showing the development of bridges from the primitive, through Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Newcastle swing bridge, to the modern Munster bridge.

Postcards showing Wellington College Station in about 1918.

Mark Bailey concluded proceedings with covers commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the first aircraft landing on a ship under way (when a Sopwith Pup landed on HMS Furious on 2nd August 1917), with examples of ship to shore airmail stamps and a range of Aircraft Carrier cachets.

Postcards showing a Sopwith Pup landing on HMS Furious on 2nd August 1917, posted aboard HMS Albion and HMS Eagle on 2nd August 1967.

24th March 2015 - Informal Competition - Postcards & Cinderella Material

In this year's informal competition, there were 2 entries in each of the classes. These were judged by the members at the meeting, with the following results:


1st Trevor Cornford - Victoria Falls

2nd Michael Curling - Wokingham at War


1st David Gerken - Air Material

2nd Trevor Cornford - Tea from Ceylon

Congratulations to Trevor and David. David's exhibit included cinderella material from the APEX International Air Post Exhibition held in London 7th-12th May 1934.

Postcards of the Victoria Falls.

Souvenir labels for the 1934 International Air Post Exhibition.

10th March 2015 - New Places - Graham Keates & Derek Steele

The entertainment for the evening was provided first by Graham Keates, showing New South Wales, and then by Derek Steele showing Newfoundland.

Graham explained that he had been persuaded into stamp collecting by his father, but had not taken up the hobby seriously until 1970. He chose New South Wales as there is a wide range of material, but there were no new stamps being issued, thus it was a manageable subject to collect.

In 1770, Australia was claimed as a colony of Great Britain by Captain Cook. It is relevant to what was shown to note that originally, New South Wales comprised most of Australia, and New Zealand and Norfolk Island. Over time, New Zealand, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia became colonies in their own right.

When the United States of America proclaimed independence in 1776, it gave the British government a problem, as they could no longer transport convicts there. By 1788 a decision had been made to establish a penal colony in Australia. The First Fleet brought the first convicts and established a settlement under Governor Arthur Philip, who laid out the principles for the Colony. It would be governed by British Law, and there would be no slavery. He aimed to build a successful local economy based around timber and sheep.

New South Wales was thus the first part of Australia to be settled by Europeans, and as the colony grew, a local mail service was established. The postal service in 1803 was carrying letters between Sydney and Parramatta for a 2d charge. In 1809 a collecting office in Sydney was established to receive mail from passing ships, and in 1825 the postal service was expanded. A mail coach service began in 1830, a 2d local post was established in Sydney in 1831 with collections at 1 o'clock and 5 o'clock, and in 1835 a new Postage Act superseded the 1825 statute and set rates based on weight and distance travelled. Communication with Britain was an essential part of survival.

Graham showed examples of both local and international mail, each with appropriate markings. As technology developed (with newer, faster ships, steamships, train services, and canals to shorten journeys), so the transit times of mail reduced, and Graham had noted transit times on the display sheets. He also showed transcripts of the contents of some letters that gave an insight into contemporary social history.

The New South Wales postmaster James Raymond was in communication with Rowland Hill in England and worked to encourage the prepayment of letters in the colony. On 1 November 1838, James Raymond, with the approval of the Governor, issued pre-paid envelopes, priced 1/3 per dozen and valid for use within the Sydney area. They were envelopes embossed with the official seal of the G.P.O. and although they were not adhesive postage stamps, they were pioneers of pre-paid postage for local mail at 1¼d each instead of the 2d charged for letters paid for in cash. However, the envelopes were not popular, and in 1841 Raymond was unable to develop official interest in postage stamps for the colony. However, an act of 1848 reformed the postal system and authorized the use of stamps.

Seal used on the New South Wales embossed envelopes.

This led Graham into his collection of stamps. He commented that he has an almost complete basic collection, but there is much variety that could also be collected. The basic types of stamps are the Sydney Views, printed locally from plates prepared by Perkins Bacon, the Laureates and the Diadems.

The first stamps appeared on 1 January 1850. They were locally produced, and depicted a scene of Sydney and its harbour, thus becoming known as the "Sydney Views". The Sydney Views were the first colonial stamp authorised that did not bear the Queen's head. Around the image was the text "Sigillum Nov. Camb. Aust." ("Seal of New South Wales") with the motto "Six fortis Etruria crevit" ("Thus mighty Etruria grew") underneath. The impressions for the 1d, 2d, and 3d stamps were individually engraved on copper, in sheets 5x5. The printing plates had a short life as copper is relatively soft, thus the stamps were re-engraved and retouched over the next year, yielding dozens of varieties. Plenty of forgers had been transported from the UK, so there was no shortage of skilled engravers available in the colony. The first setting is usually referred to as 'no clouds' and was printed in a 5x5 format. The second setting, 'with clouds', was printed in a 6x4 format.

Sydney Views stamps.

In 1851 the colony switched to a more conventional design, a profile of Queen Victoria wearing a laurel wreath, produced locally first in a somewhat crude rendition, then a better one in 1853. For these Laureates, the colony also took the unusual step of using paper watermarked with the denomination as double-lined numerals, a practice that resulted in a number of mismatches between watermark and printed denomination that are rare and highly prized today.

New South Wales Laureate stamps.

In 1854 the colony issued 6d and 1/- stamps printed locally, from plates engraved by Perkins Bacon in England. These were large square stamps with the standard profile of Victoria wearing a diadem, framed with a hexagon and octagon respectively. The designs were reused for 5d and 8d in 1855. The 'Diadems' from 1856 used the Queen Victoria Wyon head in the frames of the Perkins Bacon stamps for the lower values as well. The inking of all these was highly variable, and there are dozens of distinct colour varieties.

New South Wales Diadem stamps.

The use of perforation began in 1860; unfortunately for collectors, the stamps were very closely spaced, the perforating process not well controlled, and it is unusual to find stamps from before 1899 where the perforation does not touch or cut into the design on one or more sides. There are thus many variations of perforation, paper etc. The 5/- value was engraved by Corbould of Penny Black fame.

New South Wales 5 shilling stamp.

Later issues included recess-printed re-issues of older values, with many varieties of perforation, paper and watermark. Overprinting was used to provide 'special' values. The 1897 Charity Stamps, although denominated 1d and 2½d, were sold for 1/- and 2/6.

New South Wales Charity stamps.

Official stamps were overprinted OS. New South Wales introduced the first Postage Due stamps in Australia. They later became the basis of the first Australian Postage Dues, used in all states.

New South Wales Official Service (OS) stamps.

New South Wales Postage Due stamps.

Graham finished his display with examples of New South Wales UPU sheets, with stamps overprinted 'SPECIMEN' and some examples of Postal Stationery.

After the refreshments, Derek Steele concentrated on aspects of Newfoundland airmails. Newfoundland was the first independent colony in the British Empire.

There were multiple trans-Atlantic flight attempts in April 1919, with all of them being unsuccessful. These efforts were partially spurred on by the offer of a very large cash reward. In 1913 the Daily Mail newspaper offered a prize of £10,000 to the first aviator that completed a trans-Atlantic flight in under 72 continuous hours. Ten groups attempted to win.

Newfoundland 3 Cent Trail of the Caribou stamp overprinted FIRST TRANS-ATLANTIC AIR POST April 1919.

The first trans-Atlantic flight attempt from Newfoundland by Lt. Harry George Hawker (pilot) and Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth McKenzie Grieve (navigator) is the most noteworthy. The 3 Cent denomination Trail of the Caribou Series stamp shown above was overprinted and issued on 12 April 1919. The overprint reads "FIRST / TRANS- / ATLANTIC / AIR POST / April, 1919".

Hawker and Grieve flew a single-engine Sopwith biplane, based on the design of the Sopwith B-1, a bomber used during World War I. The main section of this modified Sopwith plane was designed to be used as a boat, just in case they ran into trouble over water. Hawker and Grieve took off from a field in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland on 18 May 1919. About 14 hours into the flight, the engine overheated, and they had to make a forced landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The two men were rescued by a Danish merchant ship. They were then transferred to H.M.S. Woolston and then H.M.S. Revenge for the remainder of their trip to England. Several weeks later, the body of the aircraft and its mailbag were recovered from the ocean. The mail from the flight was processed, once it arrived in England. On 28 May 1919, Hawker and Grieve were received by King George V at Buckingham Palace, where they were both awarded the Air Force Cross. The Daily Mail also awarded them a £5,000 consolation prize for their valiant attempt.

Special stamps were prepared for other flights also, normally by overprinting existing stamps. Shortly after the Hawker - Grieve flight left Newfoundland, another flight was attempted. Frederick Raynham and C.F.W. Morgan also attempted a trans-Atlantic flight on 18 May 1919. Newfoundland stamps were prepared for this flight in April 1919. W. C. Campbell, the secretary of the Postal Department, hand-overprinted 182 Trail of the Caribou Newfoundland stamps with "Aerial Atlantic Mail" in script. J. A. Robertson, the Postmaster, added his initials underneath.

The Raynham - Morgan flight took off from Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland, traveled a few hundred yards, and then crashed into the ocean. Another attempt was made in July, with the same results. The mail from these flights was recovered and transported to England by ship. Letters with these manuscript overprints arrived safely in England, but the contents of the mail bags had been damaged by water. As a result, many of the Newfoundland stamps had floated off the envelopes.

An airmail stamp was issued for mail carried on the 14 June 1919 trans-Atlantic flight attempt by John Alcock and Arthur Brown. The 15 Cent denomination pictorial definitive stamp of 1897 was overprinted, revalued, and issued as an airmail stamp on 9 June 1919. The overprint reads "Trans-Atlantic / AIR POST, / 1919. / ONE DOLLAR." There are several varieties of these stamps, having to do with the alignment of the overprint and the punctuation marks. These Newfoundland stamps were also used for airmail carried on other flights as well.

Early in the afternoon of 14 June 1919, Alcock and Brown took off in a modified Vickers Vimy aircraft from Lester's Field, St. John's, Newfoundland. About 16 hours later, early in the morning of 15 June 1919, the aircraft touched down in an Irish bog at Clifden, County Galway, Ireland, being the first non-stop flight to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Newfoundland Trans-Atlantic cover flown by Alcock and Brown in June 1919.

A few days later, Alcock and Brown were received at Buckingham Palace, where they were awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).

Newfoundland stamp overprinted Trans-Atlantic AIR POST 1919 ONE DOLLAR.

Many of the overprinted Newfoundland airmail stamps are scarce and forgeries exist. Derek showed a block of four of an airmail proof and a Roessler "Forgery" intended for use as a publicity label. In May 1919, the Imperial Aircraft Company of London was authorized by the Newfoundland government to develop a "mail and express service across the Island of Newfoundland, and to Montreal, on the mainland". In 1922, the firm of De La Rue was commissioned by Newfoundland to produce an engraved 15c airmail stamp featuring the Vickers Vimy biplane. Three separate essays were made: imperforated in red-brown with black centre, and perforated in sepia with black or blue centre. However, because of growing concerns about the reliability and safety of the aerial service due to Newfoundland's unpredictable weather, the contract with Imperial Aircraft was not pursued, and the stamp never produced. A. C. Roessler, a stamp dealer at 140 South Parkway, East Orange, New Jersey, with a particular interest in airmail flights and covers, produced an embossed lithographed forgery of the essay which he offered for sale starting in 1931. The stamp has a green border and red-brown centre in a design very similar to the genuine essays. It appears to be perforated, but is in fact die-cut to create the appearance of a perforated edge. As such there can be no multiples of the stamp.

1932 Newfoundland Roessler 15c green and red airmail forgery, based on the De La Rue essays (the first one dated 22 November 1922) depicting a Vickers Vimy at Quidi Vidi.

Mail from a private flight by Roessler from New York to Sydney, Nova Scotia and on to Newfoundland was impounded for 2½ years and then returned.

Derek then showed pioneer flights within Newfoundland. Major Sydney Cotton, an Australian, was a brilliant pilot who went to Newfoundland to work as a "seal spotter". He modified the engines of his aircraft to prevent them freezing in winter and began to carry mails.

Arthur Sullivan was another notable pilot and we saw a range of covers flown by him. On a flight from St John's to St Anthony his plane broke down. He had spares delivered by train and dog sled, and eventually completed his planned one day flight in three weeks. One day, though, he just disappeared and was never found.

Newfoundland airmail cover, with stamp tied on first flight cover by St. Johns machine cancel, cachet dated Aug 4 (intended date of flight), signed by pilot Arthur Sullivan.

A scarce item shown was a cover flown on the Dornier DOX from Newfoundland to London in 1932.

Newfoundland cover flown to London in the Dornier DOX in May 1932.

In 1939 transatlantic seaplane services began, and competition came from Pan Am. Derek showed an early First Flight cover. In 1945 American Airlines began a service from Europe to Newfoundland. There was one paying passenger (and a lot of invited dignitaries) on the First Flight. Imperial Airways had a number of experimental trans-Atlantic flights; Trans Canada Airways operated flights from 1939 and Pan Am from 1942. Derek concluded with a range of covers to and from Europe flown in 1946 on Lockheed Constellations. In 1953 Newfoundland joined the Dominion of Canada.

24th February 2015 - The Colour Purple

During the meeting, Rodney Smith reminded members about London 2015 (Europhilex) which is being held at the Business Design Centre, Islington from 13th to 16th May. Admission is £10 on the first day, but free thereafter. The event also celebrates 175 years of the Postage Stamp.

Nine members contributed displays for the evening, with the usual wide range of subjects.

First to display was Patrick Reid with a frame of the Tasmania 2d pictorial, variously described by Stanley Gibbons as being deep reddish violet, deep purple, reddish lilac, plum, bright reddish violet and bright violet. The material included perforation varieties, different watermarks, stamps produced using different printing methods and stamps overprinted 'ONE PENNY'.

Tasmania 2d pictorial in various shades, and one overprinted ONE PENNY.

Michael Curling showed Indian, Cape of Good Hope and Natal Revenues and a very late use of a King Edward VII 1½d on a 1928 Wokingham postcard.

Natal Revenue stamps.

Cape of Good Hope 1d, 10s and £10 Revenue stamps.

Dennis Proctor displayed Danzig Postage Dues from 1921-1923.

Danzig Postage Dues.

Trevor Cornford took rather more poetic licence. He began with British Antarctic Territory postcards, with a bit of purple in them. He followed these with some purple ship cachets and purple stamps, including Samoa forgeries. A pair of Scott covers from Plymouth were prepaid by purple Scottish Regionals. The 7½p stamp depicting Henry Hudson (likened to Father Christmas) in the GB Explorers set has a purple background, and he concluded with a white and purple Spink envelope.

Henry Hudson.

Ivan Dickason, equipped with a Stanley Gibbons stamp colour key to help identify the various shades of purple, violet, mauve, and lilac, showed some purple stamps in sets from the Cook Islands, Grenada, GB, New Zealand and Antigua. He followed these with a sheet of the South Africa 2d stamps, some 1937 Coronation covers and 1949 UPU stamps and a further selection from the Commonwealth.

1937 Coronation covers including purple stamps.

Alwyn Lowe closed the first half with a range of purple stamps from his collection including GB Europa, 1963 Paris Postal Conference Centenary, and a New Zealand block, along with covers with purple stamps from GB and France, followed by miniature sheets from Estonia and Grenada, and finally a selection of purple Monaco stamps of various types.

GB 6d Paris Postal Conference Centenary.

A selection of purple stamps from Monaco.

Eric Holmes opened the second half with a range of Gibraltar King Edward VII stamps in shades of purple on different coloured papers (red, white and blue) with a variety of watermarks. He followed these with some King George V stamps in lighter colours

Brian Pugsley showed us Singapore and BMA Malaya with a range of purple shades followed by plate blocks of the Singapore 10c Silver Wedding stamp.

Singapore 10c 1948 Silver Wedding stamp.

Mark Bailey concluded the formal proceedings with an eclectic mix including miniature sheets from The Vatican and Dominican Republic, each with a purple stamp, a general selection of purple stamps, and a write-up of the Western Australia Black Swan that was produced in error in purple.

He followed this with publicity for the Royal Philatelic Society London's Open Day on Thursday 14th May (during London 2015) at which there will be 50 displays by members who joined since London 2010, and Mark completed his display with George Campbell correspondence to and from Jersey in the 19th century.

Finally, filling the last board, Eric Holmes put up his Gold Medal one-frame entry from Spring Stampex, Gibraltar King Edward VII Essays and Die Proofs.

Brian thanked all who had brought such a splendid variety of material.

10th February 2015 - Quiz Night

Ray Hook presented a quiz for the entertainment of 3 competing teams, covering not only philatelic matters but also some popular culture, recent news, and history. By the half-way point, the team led by Alwyn had built up a sizeable lead, and despite valiant efforts during the second half by the other 2 teams, they were not overtaken, and thus Alwyn Lowe, Chris Rayner, Trevor Cornford, Dennis Proctor, Reg Browning and Alan Kane were the deserving winners. A good evening's entertainment was enjoyed by all, and Ray finished the quiz by announcing that after about 25 years of running the quizzes, this had been his last one for the Society. Deputy Chairman Mark Bailey gave a vote of thanks for all Ray's efforts and presented prizes to the winning team.

27th January 2015 - Material Acquired in 2014

Before the displays started, Brian Pugsley thanked Mark Bailey for his well-written report based on the responses to the questionnaire distributed to members with the subscription renewal forms. Five suggestions of workshops arose, all related to mounting/displaying/exhibiting/presenting a collection. There was a discussion on what sort of event could be held to provide guidance. The Programme Secretary in conjunction with the Committee will consider the responses and aim to provide something suitable.

Marianne Murray began the evening's displays. She collects Commonwealth material from countries that she has visited, and she showed a newly acquired stamp from Kenya.

Michael Curling showed some Turkish shipping company stamps for use on the Danube, with similar material from Romania. This was followed by an 1840 letter from Reading to Bristol carried on the Kennet & Avon Canal and Michael finished with GWR stamps, perfins and airmails.

Peter Alford displayed the 2014 Lundy issues, and special covers and ephemera related to Lance Corporal John Pennington Harman VC, born in 1914, who died fighting the Japanese in Burma in April 1944.

Lundy stamp designs from 2014.

Chris Wootton began with two unusual Austrian covers, one featuring an embroidered cloth stamp showing an Edelweiss and the other a porcelain stamp showing a Rose. These were followed by a pot-pourri of stamps including railways, dogs, bridges, a modern forgery (24p Machin), Israel, Germany, Australian Antarctic Territory, 1937 Coronation and GB stamps.

Austrian embroidered cloth stamp showing an Edelweiss, issued in 2005, and an Augarten Porcelain stamp issued on 20th March 2014 decorated with the 'Viennese Rose', an icon for the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory since 1740.

Chris Rayner showed the 2014 issues from the Isle of Man.

Three of the 2014 issues from the Isle of Man; World War 1 Life in the Trenches, Royal Air Force Red Arrows, and the history of Manx themed playing cards.

Patrick Reid displayed some additions to his New South Wales Postage Due covers collection not yet written up.

Alwyn Lowe brought along a Gandhi miniature sheet, some French épreuves de luxe and a Dakar die proof, all related to Centenaries, and two other proofs relating to the Centenary of Radio. He also had a correspondence with the Crown Agents and some unused artwork relating to a St Helena 60p stamp, all signed by the artist.

Graham Keates showed a cinderella from Australia and Victoria Stamp Duties overprinted 'Relief Tax'.

Trevor Cornford began the second part by showing material ex-Harry Evans concerning the Relief Expedition sent to rescue Scott. This included a photograph of Scott and his wife in South Africa, a card from Scott and his wife in New Zealand, and a cover and letter from a Norwegian who was with Scott. This was followed by a series of cards relating to tea and some social history postcards of 'working girls'.

Ivan Dickason showed various British Commonwealth stamps that had overprints for fractions of currency, including some from New Zealand, Nyasaland, Norfolk Island, Bahawalpur and GB.

Derek Steele displayed Canada O.H.M.S., GB KGVI watermark sideways, three GB blocks with varieties and a range of Wokingham postmarks.

A selection of Canadian stamps overprinted O.H.M.S.

Eric Holmes told us that his main purchases in 2014 had been at Stampex. These included Gibraltar colour trials for the KEVII issue, two blocks of 25 centimos, a ½d and 1½d inverted watermark used, GB used in Gibraltar 9d straw, a Die Proof of the undenominated KEVII together with proofs of the duty plates, a part collection of the 'Universal Colour Scheme', a part collection of Imperium Essays, and a Bermuda Die Proof as used overprinted for Gibraltar. In 1855 it became mandatory for mail to Spain to be prepaid. Eric showed us an 1857 cover with GB stamps for the packet and Spanish stamps for inland. Next he showed some overprinted Barbados stationery, followed by a cover to the US via GB, and several covers to Madeira via Lisbon. These had been collected by the agent's cutter, that was kept in Madeira harbour, to avoid landing fees. Finally Eric showed covers with the black and red arcs for the Gibraltar Packet Agent.

Richard Jenkins showed material relating to German Stamp Days, Stamp Shows and Exhibitions.

Mark Bailey displayed a postal stationery card sent from Avonmouth to Reading in 1914 by George William Wesley Kearvell of the Berkshire Yeomanry, who suffered severe gunshot wounds to his head and neck at Gallipoli and was evacuated to Egypt and then to London. This was followed by souvenir material from Mark's holiday in Bergen, poster stamps about Stamp Collecting, and tea dividend stamps and coupons printed in Reading.

Stamp Collecting promotional poster stamps, produced by New York stamp dealer, stamp show promoter and philatelic publisher A. August Tiger, 1947.

Brian Pugsley finished off the evening with large blocks of GVI Gambia, a stamp faded by light (with a normal for comparison), a Pitcairn stamp with an apparently missing centre and some GVI flaws from Montserrat. He thanked all who had brought material for contributing to an interesting and varied evening.

13th January 2015

Our Chairman, Brian Pugsley, took us on the next stage of a journey through the King George VI stamps of the British Empire.

The first section covered Falkland Islands and Fiji. Brian's display of the Falklands began with the long first set, including perforation varieties and notably the scarce 5/- with indigo centre. There were many printings and Brian showed a good selection of shades as well as a few flaws. The second set, also to £1, was followed by the Victory set including a flaw.

Falkland Islands' definitive stamps

Falkland Islands' stamps were overprinted for the Dependencies, not to meet a postal need, but for political reasons to show that these were British Territories.

The overprinted set was superseded by the 'Thick Map' issue for all the Dependencies. There is a large quantity of flaws, and some were shown, including positional blocks. The stamps were reprinted with a much thinner map, and there are far less flaws.

Falkland Islands Dependencies 'thick map' stamps

Moving on to Fiji, the first issue has many perforation varieties, colour shades and flaws, some of which are difficult to find. There are also notable errors, including the 1½d with empty canoe, and the 2d and 6d values with 180 degrees missing on the map.

Fiji 1½d with and without a person in the canoe

Fiji 6d map stamp Die 1 without 180° and Die 2 with 180°

When the rate changed, the 2d value was first overprinted 2½d on 10th February 1941, and then was reissued with the new denomination.

Fiji 2d map stamp Die 1 without 180°, Die 2 with 180°, and overprinted 2½d

A 2d value with a different design followed. The colour of the centre of the 5d stamp was changed from blue to green to make the sugar cane look more realistic.

Fiji 5d with sugar cane in blue, then in green

Brian began the second part with Gilbert & Ellice Islands. There were three printers used: De La Rue, Harrison and Waterlow. They are relatively easily distinguished by the differences in the King's head.

Gilbert & Ellice Islands' definitive stamps

Next came Gibraltar, and again Brian showed varieties of perforation and colour and numerous flaws. There are also watermark varieties, but Brian does not collect these. The 2d perforated 13x12¾ with sideways watermark is scarce. The perforation 13 and perforation 14 issues are even scarcer. It was noted that there was an insult in manuscript in Spanish in the margin of a block of the 2/- value, which features General Eliott's column.

The 1/-, 2/-, 5/- and 10/- values from the Gibraltar definitive issue

The 2d to 1/- were overprinted for the New Constitution in 1950. A range of varieties were shown including "Ape on Rock" and "Seagull on Eliott's Column". There was also a block of four 10/- trials and finally proofs of the 1952 Royal Visit overprints, which were never issued because of the death of the King.

Lastly, Brian displayed the stamps of Grenada, choosing not to show stamps from Gold Coast/Ghana as he considered them to be 'boring'!

Grenada stamps

There are many perforation varieties in the Grenada issue, with a 12½ line machine having been used originally. The 2½d perf 12½x13½ is extremely difficult to find, as only about 30 are known. The 10/- stamp is much studied, and there are three perforations and many colour varieties. Also, there were 'wet' and 'dry' printings, leading to paper shrinkage and 'wide' and 'narrow' stamps. Brian concluded the display with a range of varieties.

Deputy Chairman Mark Bailey gave the vote of thanks and complimented Brian on the level of detail that was included in his display.

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