15th June 2021 - Zoom meeting - Open meeting
Zoom for June was an open meeting - anything from your collection, once again hosted by Nick Colley. We had a wide range of displays but unfortunately not so many attendees - I noted 18 maximum. Perhaps this was due to it being a midweek meeting, held on a Tuesday afternoon.
Our first display was from Martino Laurenzi from the USA under the title “Communications between Italy and Great Britain during the Second World War” - Italy declared war on France and Britain on 10 June 1940. The display featured a number of topics including various censorship labels (PC labels); a selection of mail from the UK to Italy; mail sent between the two countries using the Thomas Cook PO Box 506 facility in Lisbon, Portugal; various leaflets showing the involvement of the Red Cross in communications with POWs held in Italy; mail from Italian civilians held in internment camps in the Isle of Man and mail to civilians held in an internment camp at Campagna, near Salerno in Italy as well as some philatelically contrived mail from British forces and a number of illustrated airgraphs again from British forces.
Our Editor Chris Grimshaw was next with a display of material connected with “The Serbian Relief Fund” during WW1. The display was a selection of postcards and covers connected to the Fund which had been set up just prior to the outbreak of war. There was a cover from Lady Pagets Hospital at Nish and postcards and covers from the 2nd British Farmers Hospital and also from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals - there were three in Serbia and a number of Americans served in these hospitals and he showed a cover back to the USA; also shown was a leaflet on The Serbian Relief Fund thought to have been produced 1917/18 period. Mail was both incoming and outgoing, not all of it passing through APOs/FPOs.
He was followed by Richard Flemming on the “Channel Islands Feldpost System 1940-1945: Alderney”. There was a short introductory statement which stated that Alderney was occupied on 2 July 1940, initially by 216 Infantry Division and then by 319 Infantry Division on 13 April 1941 until the Germany surrender on 9 May 1945. Mail shown was from various units stationed on the island, identified by their Feldpost number including Luftwaffe flak batteries, identified with the prefix letter L as part of the Feldpost number. There was also an example of Army Form W3000 - a prisoner of war identity form. All the items were well written up detailing the postal markings and a brief note on the history of the unit on the island.
Then it was the turn of Michael Dobbs who showed on behalf of Cyprus member Yiannis Pipis a display on the “Mail Services of UNFICYP” - the United Nations Force in Cyprus which came into being in 1964. The display started with an introductory sheet and a map of Cyprus showing the dividing line between the Greek and Turkish communities and the disposition between the various UN contingents. Shown were a variety of items from the Swedish, British, Canadian (5001), Finnish Austrian (1501) and Danish Field Post Offices which covered the period 1964 to 2005.
Jim Mackay was next who provided a display on “RAF Trans-Atlantic Goodwill Flights 1946-49” commencing with Operation Goodwill which took place during July-August 1946 when some 16 Lancaster aircraft of No 35 Squadron RAF flew from RAF Graveley to the United States on a goodwill mission at the invitation of the USAAF to take part in Air Force Day. The following year, on 22 July 1947 16 Avro Lincolns of No 617 Squadron RAF left RAF Binbrook for a non-stop crossing of the Atlantic to Newfoundland, and then on to Washington, arriving there on 28 July. There followed a tour of the USA, including a mass flypast with the USAAF over New York on Air Force Day, 1st August. In July 1948 the first crossing of the Atlantic by jet aircraft took place between 1 and 19 July when six Gloster Meteor fighters from No 54 Squadron RAF left RAF Odiham for the USA via Stornoway, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador and Montreal - he also showed a 1973 25th anniversary commemorative cover (BFPS 1402). Lastly a cover from July 1949 when five Avro Lancasters of No 120 Squadron RAF made a goodwill and training flight from RAF Leuchars to Canada. The covers shown all had civil postmarks but they had either cachets, labels or an inscription explaining the event and were signed by a pilot - most unusual items which I had not seen before.
Last to show was Nick Colley who had a display on naval POWs or internees from “more out of the way” places! First were a series of covers from a naval Lieutenant back home to his parents - he was held in Aumale, a small town 60 miles inland from Algiers. The ‘camp’ was in fact the top story of a lunatic asylum for Arab females - around 60 persons were held here while their ‘proper’ camp was constructed at Laghouat which opened in November 1941 and closed a year later. The a 1943 postcard to an able seaman held at Kawasaki Camp in Japan whose ship had been sunk by the German raider Thor on 1 April 1942 and an envelope from him to his parents containing a two-page letter dated 3.9.43 also displayed. There were also covers addressed to naval personnel aboard HMS Exeter - one returned as it could not be delivered as the ship had been sunk on 1 March 1942 and the other addressed to the second-in-command as a POW. There were also four covers from a naval Lieutenant who was the Fleet Air Arm officer onboard the same vesselwhen he was a POW held at Zentsuzi POW camp, including one which had not be forwarded by the Japanese but which had a cachet RETURNED IN UNDELIVERED MAILS FROM JAPAN.
You can view the material displayed on our website by opening the following links:
CHANNEL ISLANDS FELDPOST SYSTEM 1940-1945 Alderney.
June 2021 member prtesentations