14 September 2019

9-Sheet Pesidents Cup Competition 

Although we clashed with Autumn Stampex (due to an unfortunate mix-up when arranging the 2019 programme) we had 15 members present at one time or another during the afternoon.  Our President and one of our Vice-President’s had to leave early as they were involved in the Stampex exhibition dismounting process and we had two late attendees as they were at other specialist society meetings at Stampex!  There were three apologies for various reasons.  Regretfully we also had a small number of entries for the President’s Cup Competition - only three but they proved to be both varied and interesting.

2019 Sep 14 Lorraine

Triumphantly holding the Cup, the winner of the 2019 President’s Cup competition Lorraine Maguire alongside Vice-President Robin Davis who presented it to her in the absence of our President

The winner of the President’s Cup Competition for 2019 was Lorraine Maguire with her entry on “Kiwi’s in Captivity”.  The entry told the story and showed WW2 POW mail sent by New Zealand servicemen from POW camps in Italy and Germany.  It gave a brief resume of their capture in the Greece and North African campaigns.  Details were given of each prisoner’s history in New Zealand and in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Division.  This was deemed to be a taster for her main display to be given to the Society on 13 June next year under the same title.  This is also an achievement as it is the first time the Cup has been won by one of our few female members - congratulations to Lorraine, a regular at our London meetings.

The other two entrants were Richard Berry FRPSL (our President) with an entry “Royal Air Force, Seletar, Singapore 1 January 1970” which told the story of the commemorative cover and cachet produced by the Seletar Stamp Club to commemorate RAF Seletar as the oldest RAF station in the Far East.  The entry consisted of proofs and colour trials of the cover and cachet and you will recall that this was told and illustrated in our Spring 2019 Journal (Issue No 319). The other entrant being Peter High with “A Selection of Italian Hospital Ships” which consisted of nine sheets depicting covers and other medical items connected to Italian hospital ships straight from his collection.

We did have time for a couple of displays - the first being from our regular vote counter for this event Peter Burrows who showed a selection of latest acquisitions which he termed “odds and sods”!  They included two different WW1 cards from the Irish Women’s Association, a card from a POW acknowledging receipt of food parcels, an American propaganda leaflet (in German) dropped over German lines by balloon, an American leaflet relating to the sending of parcels overseas to US troops, a cover to Bristol from Gaza with a censor slip attached to it, various cards produced by the Germans for the use of POWs held by the Germans.  He also showed a YMCA card produced for British troops interned in Holland and two POW letter sheets which he picked up at Autumn Stampex sent from Dülmen POW camp 1915/16.  On to WW2 and we had an RAF censored cover with a locally produced manuscript “opened by censor” label, various other covers with “opened by censor” labels including an unlisted label.  An honour envelope from 1940 with Middle East censor marks in a strange orange colour; 1943/44 parcel acknowledgement cards from Australian Red Cross Society; also blue headed letter sheets in a dual language (French & German) produced by the Germans for POWs to ask for food amongst many other items.

Nick Colley was our other member to display with a showing of the RAF in Iraq during WW2 - in 1930, Britain and Iraq signed an Anglo-Iraq Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Support which, amongst other things, allowed Britain to establish two RAF bases in Shaibah and at Habbaniya.  The latter was home to No.4 Flying Training School (FTS).  However, following the death of King Ghazi in a motor accident in 1939 at the age of 28 he was succeeded by his infant son, Faisal II.  Whilst the Royal family were pro-British the Prime Minister was anti-British.  Matters came to a head in April 1941 when the Regent (an uncle) fled Iraq and Iraqi troops were despatched to surround Habbaniya where they occupied a 200 feet plateau.  Conflict ensued and the RAF wrought terrible damage on the Iraqi military.  Air attacks on military targets in Baghdad persuaded the Iraqis to request a truce at the end of May.  The display included a selection of RAF mail showing different RAF censor cachets and postal markings, including FPO 171 (Habbaniya), Indian FPOs as well as civilian postmarks from the period 1941-45.  It included mail both to and from Iraq, Honour envelope and an airgraph from the Sisters’ Mess at RAF Habbaniya.

© Forces Postal History Society 2020