14 September 2013

Joint meeting with the Postal History Society


We had a wonderfully successful joint meeting with the Postal History Society, so much so that we have organised another one for 15th November 2014.  This time we will be in the more spacious Gascoigne Room, more fitting for the large numbers expected from both societies.  I must apologise for my tardiness in writing up this report, but the sheer number and variety of material display has made for a difficult task and I kept putting it off - which only makes matters worse as the memory of the event fades !  The start was delayed as we were waiting for our President to arrive who had been delayed by unusually heavy traffic.  He was also bringing back more display boards that had been refurbished by Nick Colley and his wife (our grateful thanks to both for the work undertaken - it is good to have a fresh feel to our boards with no missing runners or borders).  Because of the number and variety of material displayed the descriptions will be necessarily brief (and my apologies if I miss something or someone !).  From looking at those who displayed it is interesting to note the number who were members of both societies - and no doubt others were in the audience as well.

Hugh Feldman, FRPSL - President of the Postal History Society - opened proceedings and welcomed all to the joint meeting.  He said that he collects postal history of the USA and showed material from postal contracts by railroads in the US from 1832 onwards; covers showing usage in the Confederate States; an adversity cover made out of wallpaper; patriotic covers and mail from various steamboats.

Tony Stanford, FRPSL showed an 1849 diplomatic letter from British Levant; British FPO 949 from Kobe, Japan during the Korean War and two items to Casablanca “By Favour of the Bag” in 1944.

Graham Mark (FPHS/PHS joint member) explained that during WW1 civil censorship was directed from London and that London sent out people to help / assist in the colonies.  He showed a number of items connected with Egypt - a team went out in 1917 to assist in the organisation of censorship in Egypt.  As regards the initials EPC these stood for Eastern Postal Censorship, initially it was thought to be Egypt.  London censors brought their own material with them and so London style censor labels were used in Egypt.

Peter O’Keeffe showed WW1 material.  Forces had to pay postage until the end of August 1914 - 1d GB or 10c French stamps and also a mixed franking; miscellaneous postal stationery including some unusual Field Service postcards including an admission to hospital card from APO S11 signed by a nurse as the soldier was suffering from shell shock; an early postcard of a bedroom in the Union Jack Club and a tiny postcard from a soldier in Italy writing home August 1918; an item from a Portuguese soldier Apr 1917 and a registered letter enclosing a postal order from an FPO - quite unusual.

Ben Palmer (PHS) showed an item from 1795 with 1d rate; an item from Sydney, NSW with a 1d stamp not cancelled or with a back stamp, but it got to London where it received an FB (Foreign Branch) cancel but the military concession was disallowed!

Keith Tranmer showed a selection of Austrian material from 1744 to 1915, including the War of Austrian Succession in the Netherlands with an AA (Army Austria) marking of 1744; an item from 1805 during the Napoleonic occupation collecting donations for the Grande Armee; two entires from the army in France 1814-15; a naval cover from the Austrian battleship Kaiser at Cuxhaven during the 1864 war with Denmark; a registered letter to Austria from the Austrian Marine PO in Peking in 1912 and a 1915 picture postcard with cachet of Unterseeboot 5 sent by Captain Ritter von Trapp to his wife (Keith made the comment that he did not marry Julie Andrews !).

Steve Ellis (FPHS/PHS joint member) showed mail from German POWs and internees in Hong Kong in WW1, some with Provost Marshal cachets.  He also showed WW2 during the Japanese occupation showing mail from POWs and mail to civilian internees.

Martin Lynes (FPHS/PHS joint member now, sadly, no longer with us) showed WW2 German internee and POW mail in Canada; some internees were reclassified as refugees which meant they lost free postage.  In 1943 Canada introduced special datestamps with numbers in.  Martin was interested in the biographical details of some of those interned or POWs.

Claire Scott, FRPSL (PHS) displayed a selection of correspondence from William Greenall Coe (born 7/12/1890) who began naval training on 3 May 1912 and qualified as an engine room Artificer; he was not an officer and he wrote home every week.  In 1915 he started training as a submariner and joined the submarine E1, part of the British Submarine Flotilla in the Baltic which operated behind enemy lines.  He died of TB in March 1917 (but it was stated to be flu).

David Milsted, FRPSL who fascinated us with the tale of two lion cubs presented to the Tower of London !  Lord Cornwallis was Governor of the tower, but he was in Ireland at the time.  He showed correspondence relating to the presentation of the two cubs by the Governor of Bombay in March 1800.  They arrived by an East Indiaman but no-one was prepared to disembark them into a menagerie and so they were kept onboard ship until it was resolved !  He also showed a cover from a native in Udjidji posted on 2 May 1915 to an Arab Askari in 6th Field Company.

Michael Farrant, FRPSL (PHS) put up a selection of military and naval postal history from German East Africa.  The German navy was off the coast of East Africa and initially there was no postal system.  He showed an example of mail from Mozambique in 1894.  Then the Schifpost was introduced and each vessel was allocated a number.  He also showed German mail from East Africa during WW1 including a Taveta Deutsch Feldpost used from 1 October 1914 and a cover written by an Arab - there were some Arabs in the Askari; there was also a special rate for the Army sending parcels in the colony and he had an example of such a parcel card.

Tony Eastgate, FRPSL (FPHS/PHS joint member) displayed material from Jewish immigration camps in Cyprus 1947/48 from three main camps Karados Camp (60 & 62), Xylotymbou and Dhekelia (69 & 70); some camps were numbered and numbers known from the main one are indicated; also shown were courier mails with Cyprus stamps and also with Jewish stamps applied, including an item addressed to Chile as well as mail from the American Jewish Distribution Committee (AJDC) with various AJDC markings.

David Stotter, FRPSL (PHS) displayed German POWs held in Morocco during WW1.  The display was in two parts, the first of picture postcards showing German POWs being made ready prior to going to Morocco, whilst the second part covered mail and postcards from German POWs showing various censor markings.  The camps closed in 1916 following German representations on Germans being held overseas.

Peter High (President FPHS) showed a potpourri of items which he hoped would be of interest to those present; he started with an item of May 1918 from the hospital ship China from a fleet surgeon referring to the flu - took in 100 cases and they were still coming in; not kept in for more than three days.  He showed items from the Anglo-Boer War including from someone in Manchester Port invalid ship; a letter from Lady Randolph Churchill; letter headed notepaper from HS Main; an item from the HS France and items from an Ambulance Barge in France, sponsored and paid for by Denmark with picture postcards showing the interior and exterior of the barge; one card was sent from one of four nurses provided by Denmark.  He also showed covers from both British and French ambulance barges; lastly, various items from the Russo-Japanese War, including a Japanese hospital ship.

Patrick Frost (FPHS/PHS joint member) displayed postmarks used in Great Britain on Army Manoeuvres prior to WW2.  He started with items from 1873 from Cannock Chase and Dartmoor as well as other items from Aldershot and Salisbury.  The Army held manoeuvres every year from 1903 to 1913, mainly in the Aldershot area with most using single ring Army Post Office datestamps; 1925 manoeuvres used double ring datestamps whilst those of 1933-37 established some 10/11 FPOs along with a Base APO - double ring FPO datestamps were used; he showed examples from all these eras.  He also showed a large skeleton datestamp from Bustard Field PO (1903-04), Field PO Bordon, Hants (1914) and an Army Post Office skeleton used at Bourley (1912).

Jeremy Martin, FRPSL (FPHS/PHS joint member) showed items connected with Warley Camp up to 1900, including an entire dated 1783; Napoleonic war items including an items from the Light Cavalry camp in the Crimean War 1855; British intervention in Russia at the end of WW1 with postcards postmarked PB66 and D27; Estonia and a cover from the Dongola campaign in the Sudan 1896.

Maurice Porter (PHS) displayed items from the Boer War connected with the railways; he mentioned that the railways were all single track railways and showed a number of philatelic items as well as APO Eastern TPO, Western TPO and TPO East No 1 postal markings; many covers had their original letters inside; he also showed an interesting cover from FPO 17 (Johannesburg) dated 12 JU 00 with the cachet “Recovered From Mail Looted by the Enemy”.

John Scott, FRPSL (FPHS/PHS joint member) put up a selection of material relating to postal stationery (writing paper and envelopes) from the 1790’s in France; writing paper from the British Legion (La Legión Británica) in 1837, a British military force of nearly 10,000 men sent to Spain to support the Liberals and Queen Isabella II of Spain against the Carlists in the First Carlist War; a letter from HMS Rodney 1853; stationery used in the Crimean War And Indian mutiny; red envelopes used in WW1 (to be used for urgent personal matters) and went up to 1945 with a US illustrated air mail letter sheet.  This was a most fascinating display of illustrated stationery.

Robin Pizer (PHS) regaled us with military mail from the Allied Forces which occupied the Rhineland 1918-25, this included British FPOs, aerial post (London-Cologne); Belgian mail with military postmarks and unit markings; US mail from Koblenz and Trier and a couple of items from US Forces in Luxembourg; French military postmarks, almost certainly used from German occupied territory - Robin was actually looking for more information on French military postmarks in WW1.

Richard Fleming (PHS) told the story of his father-in-law Edward (Jack) Main in what was titled “One Man’s War” and illustrated it with correspondence he sent home.  Jack was called up was sent into the Royal Signals; he went to Singapore and sent a letter back from Cape Town on 18 Apr 1941, he arrived in Singapore on 20 May 1941 - where he sent a telegram home to his wife and wrote home the next day via the horseshoe route.  Mail was sent home from Malaya via the Clipper route.  With the fall of Singapore he became a prisoner of the Japanese and eventually sent to work on the infamous Burma Railway.  When his wife (Vera) sent him a letter on 13 Jul 1942 it took some 15 months for him to receive it.  On 6 Sep 1945 hostilities had ceased and he spent a few weeks at Rangoon on rest and recuperation before being sent home.

Alistair Kennedy, FRPSL (FPHS/PHS joint member) displayed a fascinating collection of British mail from the period 1792 to 1815.  This included an from the British campaign in the Low Countries 1794; a 1795 letter to an officer in the UK redirected a few tie which saw the cost build up, which was eventually cancelled by the Post Office; the 1d concession rate was introduced to soldier/sailors in 1795 and he displayed a cover from 1805 showing the 1d rate; 1808 letter to a soldier in Woolwich but the sender did not pay postage so the soldier had to pay 11d instead of 1d ! Lastly a cover from May 1815 from a soldier in the cavalry; soldiers letters were signed by the CO and both the soldier and the CO lost their lives at Waterloo.

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