8 April 2017

Notes of the 65th Annual General Meeting held at the Union Jack Club 

The AGM started with our President (Edmund Hall) welcoming those present to the meeting.  He then led a moments silence in the memory of members who had died during the year, in particular Bill Collingwood, Ray Downing, Edward (Ted) Proud, Myron Fox and Keith Robinson.  On a proposal by Alan Baker, seconded by Albert Coles and agreed by all those present, the Minutes of the 63rd meeting were approved with no matters arising.  Apologies were recorded in the attendance book.

In his opening address our President (Edmund Hall) said that as in his two previous reports he could only reiterate that of the philatelic societies he belonged to the FPHS was the most vibrant and active. Regular and varied meetings had been well attended and the excellent Journal well supported by our members. The War & Philately event organized by Peter High had become a fixture in our calendar but we should not take this for granted and any support we could give Peter would be much appreciated. Societies in general were concerned about their future and a great navel gazing exercise had taken place. Dubious as he was about such exercises and the results somewhat predictable it showed that the societies committee was not content to rest on its excellent laurels. At the end of the day the committee could only do so much and our future viability depended on that active element amongst our members.  One of our essential pillars was the Journal and he hoped that we would be able fill the post of editor when Colin Tabeart stood down this year, after eleven years of sterling work - and he expressed his thanks to Colin.  However he was confident the coming year would have the same vibrancy as the last.

Hon Secretary (Michael Dobbs) reported that he had prepared the usual four Newsletters that went out with our Journal - the number of pages and illustrations varied depending on what he was able to achieve - a minimum of 4 pages and the most last year was a bumper 12 page edition.  This involved writing up reports of our meetings which he knew some members found extremely useful.  He also sent out an email on at least a monthly basis as a reminder of our next meeting and forwarded relevant emails from other organisations such as ABPS, The Postal Museum, Stamp Active Network and occasionally for other philatelic organisations such as the Royal.  He liaised with our webmaster (Bob Bruce) to try and keep our website up-to-date - he supplied copies of meeting reports and sometimes additional photographs to accompany such reports.  He also maintained access to the Discussion Forum and frequently contributed to that Forum.  As always his grateful thanks went to Bob for maintaining our website and the work he has done and continues to do on our behalf.  In the last year we had introduced displays on our website for all (public and members) - some associated with meeting displays and others from members collections - and his thanks went to Nick Colley for taking the lead on this and for liaising with Bob Bruce our Webmaster.  If anyone had a display they would like to see on our website please have a word with Nick.

Our Secretary also liaised with the Union Jack Club over our monthly meetings, future meeting dates and changes to meeting rooms or dates as situations change.  Meeting rooms were booked on a daily basis (no half days bookings allowed) and he knew that there were moves afoot to introduced more all-day meetings, even if some were informal morning meetings - do look out for details.  In addition he also liaised with other officers on such matters as the compilation and production of the Programme Card, winners certificates and medal engravings - the latter two being down to him to organise, as well as membership changes and committee issues.  The Secretary was also the first port of call for enquiries to the Society - some via the website and others direct.  He tried to answer those he could, placed others on our Discussion Forum or passed to other members if he felt they could assist.  For 2016 he received around 35 enquiries via our website and a few others direct and so far this year he had received 9 enquiries.  Some for specific publications were passed directly to Peter High and they are not included in these figures.

Packet Secretary (Ian Muchall) reported that the year ended 31 January 2017 had been a better year and sales totalled £1,218.77 giving the Society commission of £128.88 from 11 packets.  Three packets were currently in circulation but Ian expressed the need for more material to circulate.  The current packets cost around £2.95 to send by second class postage.  He was prepared to soldier on, but after 23 years in the post he would be happy to fade into the background and let a younger member take over.

Librarian (Richard Berry) was not able to attend but submitted the following report: to prevent our Society's extensive library being scattered to the four winds it had now found a home in Sussex.  He had purchased at his own expense two large bookcases to house the books and magazines.  The Library went live in its new home in November and seven books had been lent to three individuals to date.  Going forward he reported:

·       There were gaps in the library that he intend to fill by asking members to donate volumes if they no longer need them before spending Society funds to acquire them elsewhere.  Also in due course he would ask for donations of books not on his "hit list".

·       He needed to consider how items received electronically would be handled.

·       He intended to have a library corner at each Society meeting where newly received magazines/books could be perused and/or borrowed.

·       He would work with Michael Dobbs to publicise the Library in our Newsletter.

·       He would gradually refresh the library listing on the Society's website.

His aim was to encourage members to borrow the books to make the library meaningful going forward.


London Meeting Organiser (Peter High) reported that the past 12 months had seen a wide variety of subjects displayed by members.  2016 saw two afternoon displays by solo members and one guest display.  He added that we must be doing something right by the fact that the membership attendance at the London meetings had been steady.  Having said that, the Committee was not complacent and was looking to widen the appeal of meetings by increasing the number of all day gatherings and more meetings outside of London.  Only time would tell if these initiatives were successful.  He expressed his thanks to all those who had put forward suggestions for new subjects and events.  War & Philately continued to be an event to look forward to.  We were now in our 6th year - and he was amazed how time flew !  And the Society makes a small profit from the fair too!  For this coming season he reported that we would be appearing at Midpex - a table - and at York for a weekend away. He also said that next year we would be having a meeting at Wopex.

Journal Editor (Colin Tabeart) sent his apologies as he was displaying to the British Society for Australian Philately at Ringwood in Hampshire.  In his report he stated that the Questionnaire sent to members with the February package, and on our website, had received 50 responses, being about 20% of the membership. He understood this was quite good for such enterprises. The replies had been co-ordinated and a report forwarded to the main Committee with recommendations, based on members’ comments.  As the exercise had now been completed please do not send him any more responses. Comments on the Journal were generally complimentary with four requests for full colour the main area of interest.  It remained to be seen if the budget could support full colour at present subscription levels if the Journal was to continue to be produced.

He stated that he had enjoyed being our Editor for the last 11 years, with the close co-operation and support of a very fine Committee.  Accepting that the membership was generally biased towards more mature years there were nevertheless a significant number of members under 66 years of age, which was his age when he took on the role of Editor for a trial period of one year. It was therefore extremely disappointing that none of you were prepared to give of some of your time to pay something back into this wonderful hobby.

Membership Secretary (Martin Hopkinson) was sorry he could not be with us again this year, but reported there had been 11 new members in the year since his report to last year’s AGM, and as in recent years the predominant pattern of new memberships was that they started with, or came in via, the website, and with payment made by PayPal (7 of the 11) underlining again how important was the website to our Society.  The other important routes to membership were introductions through our own existing members, and magazine articles which mentioned the Society.  The option of a ‘paperless’ membership with the Journal only accessible on the website continued to attract a number of new members (4 of the 11), and also had a growing popularity with existing members when they came to renew their subscription. Current worldwide membership stood at 253.  He added that he would be happy to continue as Membership Secretary if the AGM approved.

Postal Auction Manager (Geoff Hanney) report that there was not a lot to say on the auctions this year other than David Pearce (‘Live’ Auction Manager) and he had taken it in turns to run auctions with each of the four Journals over the past year.  He added that as always both were always looking for more material from the members for future auctions and could do with more members bidding on items in the auctions. 

(Residual) Journal Despatch (Alistair Kennedy) said that the paper journal was now posted to members by the printer and reduced rate electronic subscribers access the Journal etc on line.  His residual duties were to distribute paper copies to statutory, complimentary and exchange recipients.  He also stated that he held a stock to permit despatch to new members and on a rare occasion to replace a faulty copy.  He apologised for the delay in sending out the complimentary and exchange issues but he did say he was now in his eighties.  Plans are afoot to reduce his residual workload even further by sending out such issues electronically in future.

Treasurer’s Report and Acceptance of the financial statements: The Hon Treasurer (Alan Baker) presented his report and the accounts for the year 2016/17.  Income was lower than in 2016, predominantly because of reduced number of subscriptions received. Once again, we benefited from donations from the sale of Jim Hamlin’s material and we have also started charging other societies for the use of our display boards at UJC.  Printing costs were up largely because we were using more colour.  Net sales through the auctions and packet continued to make a significant contribution and thanks should be recorded to Geoff, David and Ian for continuing to run these important functions.  Overall the outturn for the year was a surplus but at a lower figure than last year.  At the present time we had 18 outstanding subscriptions.  On a proposal by Albert Coles, seconded by Derek Ransom and unanimously agreed, the accounts were accepted.

The President (Edmund Hall) announced that once again he had the impossible task choosing the winner of the Alan Brown trophy made so by the many excellent articles in the Journal during 2016, all worthy of the trophy.  Of note had to be the continuing series Australian Expeditionary Force by Gary Diffen and David Trapnell’s WW2 Italian POW Camps in the UK.  As before by an irrational and tempered by personal prejudice his choice was: Canadian “It is regretted” labels: by Nick Colley which appeared in the Summer 2016 Journal (Issue 308).

With his three year term of office coming to an end at this meeting Edmund Hall handed over to Richard Berry, as one of our Vice Presidents, who became President for the next three years.  Unfortunately Richard could not be there to take the Chair as he was at a long booked international philatelic summit in Sweden.  He had written to explain that the theme of the summit was to discuss philatelic importance and he was sure many of our members (including those in the room) knew full well the importance of the military material we viewed in the frames at our Society. He also wrote that it was with great honour that he became President of this long established Society with its dedicated Committee and members learned in military postal history. He was looking forward to working with you all over the next three years following the sterling work undertaken by his predecessor as President, Ed Hall.  He was looking forward to a successful three years.

With the appointment of Richard Berry as President we had a Vice President vacancy.  As a result Ed Hall proposed and Peter High seconded that Mike Grimwade be our new “third” Vice-President and this was unanimously agreed by those present. 

All officers resigned at the AGM and were eligible for re-election and all current post holders (with the exception of the Librarian) were willing to stand again.  Derek Ransom proposed and Albert Coles seconded that they all be re-elected en-bloc - all agreed:

Hon SecretaryMichael Dobbs

Journal Editorvacant

Hon TreasurerAlan Baker

Membership Secretary Martin Hopkinson

Packet SecretaryIan Muchall

Auction ManagerGeoff Hanney

Programme Secretary Peter High

Publicity SecretaryPeter Harvey

LibrarianRichard Berry

 The three existing Committee members (Nick Colley, Alistair Kennedy and Peter O’Keeffe) had also agreed to stand again - they were proposed by Mike Grimwade and seconded by Alan Baker - all agreed.

Peter High proposed and Nick Colley seconded that Ian Muchall be elected as Hon Independent Examiner - all agreed.  

Peter High reminded all of the War & Philately stamp and postal history fair is to be held at the Banstead Community Hall, Park Road, Banstead, Surrey SM7 2AJ on Saturday 12 August 2017 from 10am to 4pm.  He expected some 20 dealers in stamps, postal history, postcards and ephemera as well as local philatelic societies' displays to be present.  This was a general stamp and postal history fair with refreshments available and plenty of free parking spaces.  Once again he requested help in setting the Hall up on the Friday afternoon. 

Nick Colley wished to record the Society’s thanks to Peter’s wife and daughter (Dee and ??) for all their help at the War & Philately event, especially with regards to serving refreshments.  This was supported by all those present.

Mike Grimwade offered his thanks to all officers and committee for their hard work in running the Society and again this was echoed by all those present.

Michael Dobbs gave an update on the York weekend (21-23 July 2017): to date there was 26 people attending the dinner on the Saturday evening and 16 rooms booked.  There are still a few more available but these would be released back for general sale on 8 June, so this was the latest date that Ian Muchall could guarantee a room.  He was still in the process of sorting out a menu for our Anniversary dinner – there would be a choice from two for each course with a vegetarian option as a third choice.  He is due to arrange a meeting at York with the catering manager to discuss the meal but the time would probably be 6.30 for 7pm.  He was hoping to finalise an itinerary but intended to allow all Saturday for members to attend the Fair, with displays subject to supply on Friday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. However this would depend on demand.  He was still to source some display stands, so would appreciate offers in this area.

Finally, the President (Ed Hall) presented Chris Stephany-Weddell with his winner’s certificate for the “John Daynes Plate 15-sheet competition” held at our March meeting.

There was no further business and with that the President brought the meeting to a close.

Michael Dobbs

Hon. Sec F.P.H.S.

© Forces Postal History Society 2017