May 2004

Report of the meetings of May 21-23, 2004


The Society held its second extremely successful weekend away this time to Leeds which combined a visit to the Royal Armouries Museum. The formula of informal displays during the whole weekend, coupled with a military-related attraction to visit, the President's Cup Competition and private dining facilities on the Saturday evening, all conducted in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, were the mainstay of its success. Without a doubt thanks go to Peter High who almost single handed organised the whole weekend. Also to be thanked is our Postal Auctioneer, Stephen Dunderdale, who as current President of the Yorkshire Federation welcomed the Society to Yorkshire. He provided is own personal display frames as well as borrowing some from the Scarborough Philatelic Society for which we are extremely grateful. In addition to the informal displays, Peter High brought with him a selection of books for sale.

In attendance were Derek Brook (who travelled by train from Weston-Super-Mare); Andy Brooks; John Daynes; Frank Dickens & Mrs Dickens; Michael Dobbs & Mrs Dobbs; Peter High; Peter Jenkinson; Alistair Kennedy; Nigel Lutwyche (who had driven down from Aberdeen); Nick Martin; Tony Walker; Peter Burrows & his father Charles; Peter O'Keeffe & Mrs O'Keeffe.

The visit to the Royal Armouries Museum was one of the highlights of the weekend. It is a most impressive building with equally impressive displays inside. The Museum houses the arms and armour formerly held at The Tower of London and indeed the Royal Armouries had occupied buildings within the Tower for the making and storage of arms, armour and military equipment for as long as the Tower itself has been in existence. The Museum depicts arms, armour and warfare and sets them in context without glorifying war or the horrors of war - the subject matter being a major part of human history. A visit to the Museum is well recommended. For more information about the Royal Armouries visit their website at Following which, upon return to our Hotel, was held The President's Cup Competition which attracted 10 displays as follows:

Derek Brook - "POW Ships at Portsmouth 1914-15" - Three ships at Portsmouth housed POWs because there were no land camps for prisoners of war in August 1914. They stayed in these until February 1915.

Andy Brooks - "WW1 Austro-Hungarian Field Hospitals & Red Cross Hospital in Eastern Europe and Italian Fronts".

Peter Burrows - "Naval Censor Labels - Liverpool" - Resealing labels used by the Flag Officer and Naval Censors in Liverpool.

John Daynes - "Battle of the River Plate" - cover which illustrate the ships that took part in the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939.

John Daynes - "The Queen's Coronation" - covers illustrating the postal aspects of the Queen's Armed Forces at the time of the Coronation in June 1953.

Michael Dobbs - "Royal Brunei Malay Regiment" - The entry describes the history of the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment (RBMR), including its aviation and maritime components. All the covers are posted through the British Forces Post Office in Brunei and show the various postal markings in use (including the two different FIELD POST OFFICE 51 datestamps) and cachets of the various elements of the RBMR.

Peter High - "Anglo-Boer War: The Hospital Ships" - 9 sheets depicting mail addressed to or sent from some of the British hospital ships employed during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.

Alistair Kennedy - "British Peacekeeping and Plebiscites in Germany 1920-21" - The German Peace Treaty provided for the creation of Danzig as a Free City and for Plebiscites to be held in various border areas to determine whether those areas should remain part of Germany or be transferred to a neighbouring country. As one of the occupying powers Britain was called upon to provide troops to maintain law and order during the plebiscite and transition periods. In many cases British Field Post Offices were established, but in other cases mail was sent direct to London or via the British Courier Office in Berlin.

Tony Walker - "George V was a Navy Man" - Naval material, from, to and associated with His Majesty King George V.

FPHS President, Michael Dobbs (left) presenting Tony Walker (right) 
with the President's Cup during the Leeds Weekend Away

Its not possible to provide a complete breakdown of all the displays and who showed them, suffice to say that all members who attended displayed more than once over the weekend - subjects covered included the following: Belgian material with a military link up to 1815 - the earliest being part of the Corsini correspondence of 1585; ephemera from various volunteer regiments prior to WW1; US Navy visits to Gibraltar 1924-38; British Forces Egypt 1932-37 (postal seals and labels); the story of WW1 picture postcards featuring "tommies" or sailors writing home and other cards that featured "writing" as the topic; WW1 French picture postcards of the "flags" series; Scapa Flow (photos, postcards, Naval mail, etc); Hospital ships (including Sino-Japanese War 1937,German WW1/2 and Danish ship "Jutlandia" during the Korean conflict); WW2 Sierra Leone censors, Gold Coast forces air letters; Trans-Pacific Clipper mail and other aspects of the Far East including Commonwealth Occupation Force of Japan; WW2 Indian Base Post Office 9 in Ceylon; Ceylon - WW2; miscellaneous WW2 censor labels; Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) "By Bag" cachets on British stamps; WW2 Czech and Polish military markings on British stamps; correspondence of an RAF corporal captured in Crete; Christmas Island - nuclear tests 1956/57; modern British Forces self-inking datestamps and meter franking machines; Berlin Airlift commemorative covers and British Forces Postal Service 1000 special datestamps; Forces mail connected with Hertfordshire (including 1908 Territorial Army (TA) camp and 1912 manoeuvres; WW1/2 FPOs located in the County, the County yeomanry regiment and post-war material from Herts based TA units).

Peter Burrows gave a display of Boer War Opened under Martial Law labels as part of his President's Cup Competition entry.

Stephen Dunderdale showed items from Ceylon, including these labels or "stamps" sold in aid of The Disabled Ceylon Men's Fund.

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