Zoom meeting

Our first meeting of the New Year and we had up to 25 members and guests present - well done and thank you to you all, especially those who put on displays.  This was another showing of whatever members wanted although we appear to have a predominance of RAF material!

Alan Baker started the show by reminiscing about reading a book on the Battle of Jutland and then became fascinated about it.  His display comprised a selection of cards and covers from some of the smaller vessels involved in the Jutland battle - there were in total around 140 such vessels from both sides.  He started off with a picture postcard of HMS Christopher, a cover from HMS Garland and a postcard from HMS Ophelia (an M Class destroyer).  These types of vessels each had a complement of around 70 personnel.  Further covers were from HMS Termagant, HMS Michael (a vessel named after my own heart!), HMS Maenad and HMS Marksman, all with their own individual censor cachets.  Then it was on to the German vessels with a postcard from the 14th Torpedoboot Half Flotilla and the Torpedoboot V45

Second to show and the first of the RAF showings was Tommy Samuelsson with a selection of Type R1 censors including some numbers not previously recorded.  His first was R1/110 on a cover from France postmarked ABINGDON 8 SEP 1939 which was three days earlier than the previous earliest R1 recording.  Then we had two covers from Aden with R1/75 and R1/64 (previously unrecorded) followed by Kenya (R1/25) and Rhodesia (R1/23 - showing it to have been used first in Rhodesia before moving on to Kenya); two covers from Ceylon (R1/83 and R1/88, the latter with a later usage date) and lastly two covers from Singapore (R1/79 and R1/94).

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Our third showing was by Wayne Schnarr which was a one-sheet query concerning censor marks used by RN vessels on the Northern Patrol during WW1.  He showed two items with identical censor marks – both double ring, text in ring CENSORED / NORTHERN PATROL separated by ornaments, blank centre, but the earlier one was 24mm diameter (postmarked LONDON DEC 9 1915) and the later one 32mm diameter (postmarked F.P.O. a MAY 25 1917).  The question being were these one in the same censor marks, only the latter more worn or were there two separate sizes of the same mark?  This has been placed on our Discussion Forum - we require details of any such censor marks in your collection to try and answer this!

Fourth on the list was our Zoom Host Nick Colley with our second RAF showing, a selection of mails from some not so common areas in the Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia).  Starting with Greece Nick stated that there were four FPOs (192-195) with 195 not recorded as seen by Proud, so he showed us one dated 8 MR 41 with censor R9/127; once the Germans withdrew from Greece in September 1944 Britain returned and he showed an Air Mail Lettercard FPO139 on 30 OC 44 with R15/359; however relations between the Allied forces and some Greek partisans deteriorated rapidly and there was conflict in the country.  He showed a number of covers and an airgraph between October 1944 and July 1945, including a triple RAF censored item to Egypt postmarked FPO 783 on 16 MR 45 with R15/108 & 208 and R12/20.  On to Turkey and he showed a cover addressed to an RAF officer there in 1941 and another from FPO 714 which opened there in August 1944.  He had one cover from the RAF in Yugoslavia - on the island of Vis, FPO 793 in January 1945 with RAF censor R15/161 from No 6005 AMES.

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Then it was the turn of our Packet Secretary, Ian Muchall, with yet another RAF display!  This concerned the RAF Atlantic ferrying and transport routes, principally from RAF Gander in Newfoundland to Prestwick in Scotland.  A well as a map he showed a cover postmarked GANDER MR 1 43 with the RAF FC Newfoundland censor (Type R56).  He also showed other covers from RAF Gander postmarked through Canadian civil post offices with various censor markings - only three types are known (R30, R55 & R56) of which there are few examples; despite the RAF being there since July 1941, no RAF censor has been recorded before June 1943.  There were various changes in designation from RAF Ferry Command to RAF Transport Command to No 45 (Transport) Group and eventually as No 45 Wing of RAF Coastal Command.

Harry Krische was next to show with the intriguing title “Plagiarism, Forgery and some conscience”.  This was a small display of four cards which originated with a 1917 Christmas postcard from Knockaloe Internment Camp on the Isle of Man.  The card was designed by F. Nettel which was clearly stated on the front and he also showed the reverse postmarked in December 1917.  However, he then went on to show an almost identical card used at Bando in Japan with the inscription Weihnacht 1918 - clearly a copycat version.  He also showed another variant printed in violet used on 19 December 1918 also from Bando but with the name difficult to make out and a further copy in black with Bando erased more effectively this time - had someone tried to erase it from the printing block?  He is also intrigued to know how a Christmas card designed and printed in Knockaloe in 1917 came to Japan the following year and, with a few variations, was almost identical in design.

Then it was over to Karl Winkelmann with his display of WW2 material connected to Northern Ireland - RAF, Royal Navy and US Army.  He started with a well travelled cover from 1678 Conversion Unit RAF which bore a redirection label (RAF Form 1674) from Sligo dated 13 NOV 43 a much redirected cover; then a cover posted from Freemount, Co Cork to the US Army in Northern Ireland also redirected several times.  He then showed a cover from the US in 1942 addressed to HMS Ferret which was a Stone Frigate at Londonderry (i.e. shore base).  At that time some 400 American technicians were transferred to HMS Ferret and arrived on 3 June 1941, but they worked as civilians because the US were not at that stage at war.  He also showed a telegram from April 1944 addressed to a member of the WRNS at Bangor and a couple of covers from the military in Northern Ireland and also a blue RAF privilege envelope from a member of the WRAF at RAF Ballyhalbert, Co Down and addressed to US APO 562; a couple of covers with RAF Base Censor No 1 cachets and a Red Cross cover to Belfast from US APO 413 at Warrenpoint.

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The penultimate display was given by our Editor, Chris Grimshaw, who showed POW mail - Allied (British and Indian) prisoners held by the Turks in WW1.  The POWs were mainly from the battle at Kut Al Amara.  The POWs were held at camps in Turkey which were not in a very good condition, with high death rates.  One such was Kedos Camp and Chris showed a copy of a record form from the camp; there was also a cover from a senior officer held at Yozgad Camp and also a Turkish postal stationery card from the same camp as well as material from other camps.  In presenting his display he had tried to pick out the more interesting covers and postcards.

Last to show was Richard Farman whose display related to Staffordshire - firstly a photo of Lilly Thomas surrounded by returned POWs from Burton on Trent; she was responsible for sending some 5,000 independently and some 20,750 parcels under the Red Cross scheme to POWs during WW1; there were two picture postcards showing Staffordshire Yeomanry loading their horses onto GNR cattle wagons; three newspaper wrappers the “Staffordshire Knott” from India and addressed to the CO of the South Staffordshire Regiment; the “China Dragon” from India (the newspaper of 2nd Battalion, the Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regiment and the “Sherwood Foresters Gazette” from the printers office in Bakewell in 1872.  There was also a couple of Sherwood Foresters POW parcel acknowledgement cards sent back to the Regimental Care Committee in 1918 and two postcards associated with the Boer War, one of which depicted a Cpl Taylor, a mining engineer from Chesterfield.  Lastly he showed a “photographs with care” label sent to Kasr-el-Nil Barracks at Cairo, Egypt by book-post from Folkestone in 1896.

You can view the material displayed on our website by opening the following link: 


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