11 March 2017

All-Day Meeting to include our 15-sheet competition for the “John Daynes Plate”

This was an All-day meeting to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Society and included a Memorial Display from the collection of our late member Bill Collingwood as well as the John Daynes’ Plate 15-sheet competition, plus an opportunity for a small number of members’ displays.

Ed Hall, our President, welcomed Bill’s widow Muriel Collingwood and his son John Collingwood to the Society.  In introducing then to the meeting I recalled that I had known Bill since I started to attend Society meetings at Caxton Hall after I had left the Army and moved to London way back in September 1975.  Bill attended meetings along with his friend the late Richard Bojakowski, who Muriel also remembered very well.  Soon after (within a year) Bill Garrard had persuaded me to take over from him as Secretary and so my first stint in that role lasted from 1976 to 1985.  Bill’s collecting interest was in US Forces used abroad from 1890 onwards and as well as being a member of the FPHS he was also a member of the Military Postal History Society (MPHS) (formerly the War Cover Club) in the USA.  From time to time we saw glimpses of Bill’s collection at our London meetings and I know his family are proud of his collection.


Peter High presenting Muriel Collingwood with a bouquet of flowers

His family, having no knowledge of the subject, could not decide which of his many volumes to bring - so they brought along about four volumes and left it to me to choose which items to show - so any complaints about the material shown are, therefore, down to me !  I knew that members would be interested in US APOs in the UK and I particularly liked the British style US FORCES registration labels.  I had known they existed but had never seen so many before.  Peter High collects hospital ships material and so liked the US hospital ships shown and I’m sure other items claimed members interest – especially the USAPOs in Mexico with the current situation viz a vie Trump and his proposed Mexican wall !  As well as the covers and their writing up, there was a large amount of background accompanying notes which showed the extent to which Bill went to in his researches into the use of APOs, censor stamps or postal stationery in particular theatres of war or countries.  John and Muriel accepted our invitation to join us for lunch and stayed for the afternoon’s displays - at the end of the afternoon Peter High presented Muriel with a bouquet of flowers.  John also recorded in our attendance book “Thank you all for remembering Bill in this friendly and convivial manner.  He would have loved it !”.

For the “John Daynes Plate 15-sheet competition” we had seven entries this year, the same as last year, but nevertheless they represented a wide variety of subjects showing the wide breadth of interest by our members in our hobby - World War I, World War II and post-war.  The winner was Chris Stephany-Weddell who took part in the competition for the first time with an entry entitled “Australian Field Post Offices in South Vietnam and the units which used them”.  There were four Australian field post offices set up in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  The entry showed some of the postal cancellations used by the four AFPOs and some of the units which used these Field Post Offices.


Our President, Ed Hall, (right) presenting the “John Daynes Plate” to the winner Chris Stephany-Weddell (left)

Runner-up was Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins with his entry on “The Serbian Army in Exile 1915-18”.  This comprised a selection of mail from Serbian forces and the military schools set up in and around the Mediterranean following the great retreat of winter 1915-16 and the evacuation of 317,000 Serbs from Albania.

A big welcome back to someone we hadn’t seen at our meetings for some time, largely due to recovery from illness, was Frank Schofield who came Third with his entry on “British Army Casualties in Italy in WWI”.  This included a selection of covers and postcards from Officers and Other Ranks (including censoring officers) who lost their lives in Italy during the Firtst World War.

Other entrants were as follows (in alphabetical order):

Michael Dobbs with his entry on “Bundeswehr Meter Marks” which comprised a selection of Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces) meter marks used in the period 1974 to 1985.  The pages informed you of the unit at the particular location (with its name both in German and English) and provided a bit of historical background on the unit concerned.  Many of the meter marks have a straight forward “Bundeswehr” slogan but others showed the actual unit or carried the unit badge.  All were struck in red ink and followed the same basic design

Edmund Hall with his entry Freiwillige - Volunteer”: during WWII, nearly 2,000,000 foreigners served within the German fighting forces, many as willing volunteers, others through varying degrees of conscription. Many foreign volunteers and conscripts were anonymously integrated into all areas of the military, while a great number of others formed district units consisting either partly or entirely of volunteers of specific ethnic, cultural or political backgrounds. The reasons are varied some were German speakers, Volksdeutsche, others with Nazi sympathies. Later after the attack on Soviet Russia recruitment was based on the "European Crusade against Asiatic Bolshevism". Many joined from previously occupied Russian territories for their hatred of the Soviets. Some were recruited from POWs, this being particularly so for 60,000 Russians.  Many served in the Waffen-SS as Freiwillige (volunteers) - it had originally been made up of four divisions of ethnic Germans.  However, it grew into a mass unit of 900,000 men who fought in 41 divisions and in time over one-third of its force was made up of foreign volunteers.  Shown were covers of Volunteers from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, France, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Croatia and Italy.

Peter High with his entry “Italian Hospital Ships in World War One”: Italy fought alongside the Allies during the First World War and a number of their vessels were chartered by the British as hospital ships.  The entry showed a variety of material from such vessels, including covers, cards and other ephemera with many covers having interesting and colourful cachets applied.  Some of the vessels featured included the Cordova, Flora, Italia, Konig Albert and Santa Lucia

John Leathes with his entry “U-Boat Labels of the First World War” - there was no doubt that Germany in the First World War produced the best range of propaganda labels.  The entry covered the range of material issued both privately and officially to publicise and praise the U-Boat actions.  


Members listening attentively as one of the competition entrants talks through their display

© Forces Postal History Society 2017