Another outstanding Zoom meeting that provided a wide range of Forces Postal History material in 6 displays delivered by society members. Our April 2022 Zoom meeting had an attendance of 19 members from the UK, Europe, America and Canada.
Wiltshire Regiment: A display from Richard Flemming, during which he initially gave the history of the Wiltshire Regiment, from the volunteer infantry and cavalry units in the 1800’s and its North and South Divisions, through to the regiments detachments and deployments including Ireland and the Channel Islands, its camps, campaigns in India and then involvement in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Richard went on to show a range of covers forming only part of his collection, including an 1808 wrapper from Lord Pembroke to a Captain with the Volunteer Infantry at Marlborough, an 1890 cover from the 62nd Wiltshire Regiment at Boyle in Ireland and an 1890 cover to the 2nd Battalion at Landsdowne Camp, Bath. Other items included an 1897 cover to Quartermaster Sergeant, later 2nd Lt Arthur (Spot) Taylor, with a supporting group photograph, a cover to the 2nd Battalion during the 2nd Boer War, an unable to trace and redirected cover from WW1, completing with POW food parcel reply cards from WW2.
A display from Richard Flemming showing covers from Wiltshire Regiment’s early volunteer units in the 1800’s, through to the regiments detachments and deployment including Ireland and the Channel Islands, camps, campaigns in India and some 1st and 2nd World War items.
French Connection - HMS Hermes and McFadyean: A brief display from Nick Colley explaining the background to naval hunting groups in 1939, searching for the Admiral Graf Spee and the Deutschland. He showed covers from Force ‘N’ consisting of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes initially serving with the French Battleship Strasbourg and then with the French Cruisers Dupleix and Foch out of Dakar. Unusually, this included Royal Navy covers dispatched with British stamps through French ships with French naval cancellations. Additionally, Nick treated us showing a scarce P.P. Postage Paid cover from Hermes in the Indian Ocean and a cover from Sir Andrew McFadyean (One of the four Allied Controllers supervising payments under the Dawes Plan which in 1924 successfully resolved the issue of World War I reparations that Germany had to pay).
A brief display from Nick Colley showing covers from HMS Hermes where deployed with the French Navy in 1939 forming a hunting group, searching for the Admiral Graf Spee and the Deutschland. Additionally, a P.P. Postage Paid cover and a cover from Sir Andrew McFadyean at Dakar.
Mike Street updated the meeting following a previous Zoom display, which set out ongoing research into the Canadian Naval DBN censor cachets used in WW2. On this occasion he showed a DBN 583 cachet recently acquired and provisionally allocated to the stone frigate/training establishment HMCS Somers isles in Bermuda.
Adriatic Mission: Martino Laurenzi explained his collecting interests in mail between Italy and the United Kingdom and requested members help with any material from the Napoleonic period. He then gave some background to the British Adriatic Mission and the postal arrangements during the period 1915-1916. Covers displayed included Field Post Office W.1 in 1915, an outstanding redirected cover to double Victoria Cross holder Major Arthur Martin Leake VC of the RAMC with the Adriatic Mission, Base Army Post Office W and a photographic card of troops with the Mission at Brindisi. Martino finished with some questions regarding other WW1 items in his collection.
Martino Laurenzi shows covers from the British Adriatic Mission 1915 – 1916 including Base APO W, FPO W1 at Brindisi, and a superb cover to double VC holder Major Arthur Martin Leake RAMC.
The Royal Navy in Australasia: The meeting was treated to an outstanding display of mainly early covers from the Royal Navy associated with Australia from 1853 including significant pre-stamp material with early adhesives including privilege and concession rates, presented by Colin Tabeart. Initially Colin displayed a cover from Rear Admiral John Pasco (Nelson’s Flag Lt at Trafalgar), to his soon to be famous son Crawford Atchinson Denman Pasco who had sailed with HMS Beagle to complete mapping off the Australian Coast. Colin explained Crawford Pasco’s career from joining the navy at age 12, through to later life and work with the Royal Geographic Society and the Antarctic Exploration Committee. We were then shown early covers including HMS Favourite, HMS Calliope, HMS Curacoa (after RN service in the Mairi Wars 1863-64), a cover from Devonport to HMS Basilisk via Brindisi (underpaid 9d rate, with charges). Colin then moved onto some more modern (post 1900) material including HMS Dart in Australia, a Ships Bag (penny postage) cover from HMS Royal Arthur and later covers including the Submarine HMS Telemachus at Cairns and the Naval PO Balmoral to HMS Hermes.
An outstanding display of mainly early covers from the Royal Navy associated with Australia from 1853, presented by Colin Tabeart. Includes significant pre-stamp material, early adhesives including privilege and concession rates.
Paiforce 1942-1946: Mick Carter gave an extensive display of covers from a recently acquired collecting interest the Persia and Iraq Force from 1942 through to 1946. He explained the history of the region prior to the formation of PAIFORCE and its strategic position allowing access to the oil fields of the Persian gulf. It was explained that the display was put together based of the jointly published FPHS-PHS publication “The Postal History of PAIFORCE” by David Trapnell. Covers shown included Indian army post offices, mail through British field post offices and a range of censor cachets, of particular interest was a cover to a Lieut Davies attached to Hodson’s Horse in 1942, when it formed part of the 31st Indian Armoured Brigade. Mick then went on to show a range of Air Letters, Airgraphs and Telegrams to and from PAIFORCE in the period.
Mick Carter shows covers from a recently acquired collecting interest the Persia and Iraq Force from 1942 through to 1946. He explains the history of Paiforce, illustrated with a range of covers, airgraphs, telegrams and air letters.
RAF Postagram’s: A short display from Jim MacKay of RAF Postagram items starting with details of the service set out in a 1937 Air Ministry Order. He then presented a number of RAF Form 1925A. Postagram covers including an item from RAF Heywood to Prison Commissioners in Oxford, one to RAF Heywood and a Postagram cover from York to the Catholic Truth Society. The display completed with a number of varieties of the envelopes used by the Postagram service.
A short display from Jim MacKay of RAF Postagram items starting with details of the service from 1937 then through WW2. Shows various covers and formats used by the service which was unique to the Royal Air Force.
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AGM and John Daynes’ Plate Competition
The competition took place in the afternoon, following the AGM (see elsewhere for the AGM report). We had six entries (one down on the last time it was held in 2019 as we were not able to hold it in 2020 & 2021) including two from members overseas which we welcomed. Voting was, as usual, by the members present at the meeting and the clear winner of the 2022 John Daynes’ Plate was our President, Robin Davis FRPSL with his entry on the “RAF Desert Airmail Service 1921 to 1926 Baghdad to Cairo”. From 1921 until the end of 1926 the RAF operated the transporting of civil airmails between Baghdad and Cairo. From 1 January 1927 onwards the service was operated by Imperial Airways. The display covered airmails sent to RAF personnel stationed in Iraq 1921-26 and in many cases were those involved in the transporting of the airmails.
Second was Lindsay Chitty from New Zealand with his entry on “New Zealand Prisoner of War Aerogrammes and Postcards 1941-45”. POW Letters Cards first became available on 17 November 1941 with the 18d stamp value. These cards made it easier for people to communicate with POWs and also reduced censorship and air carriage problems. The display explained and illustrated the use and design of these lettercards which had three sections folded in two places with a flap which fitted into a slit on the back of the lettercard. As from 24 April 1943 the postage (and thus cost of the lettercard) was reduced to 1/- with a further reduction as from 24 August 1944 to 6d with all the stock of 1/- cards recalled and overprinted with SIXPENCE. In third place was Peter High with his display of “Shipwrecked Three Times by Enemy Action”. This was part of a correspondence from a merchant seaman caught up in the Second World War. David Baines Freeman, born 1918, began his career at sea as a lieutenant, having graduated from the London, Midland & Scottish School of Transport in December 1939. He joined Furness Withy & Co, Ltd and sailed on several of the line's vessels. April 1941 saw his ship ss Nerissa sunk by a U-boat. He survived. In July 1942, as 2nd Officer, he was on ms Pacific Pioneer when she was torpedoed by a U-boat off Nova Scotia, Canada. All on board were saved. In February 1943 2nd Officer Freeman was transferred to HMHS Newfoundland, a hospital ship. Later that year, in May, he was promoted to Chief Officer of Newfoundland. A series of air letter cards and airgraphs set out David's thoughts. Airgraphs from hospital ships are rarely seen. The hospital ship was sent to the Salerno beaches in September 1943 to assist allied troops in the landings of Sicily. On the night of 13th September Newfoundland was hit by a missile launched from a German aircraft 40 miles off Salerno. Six British nurses and all medical staff perished, the hospital ship burned out of control and was scuttled. Chief Officer Freeman was one of the survivors, but suffered injuries. He eventually returned to England in January 1944.
The remaining three entries (in alphabetical order) were: Omar Elkarti with his entry entitled “The War Report”. This was a collection of material about the Guards in and around central London as well as other regiments. The entry consisted of postcards and stamps from different Commonwealth countries which featured various Guards regiments as well as giving a brief outline of the history of the Grenadier Guards from their formation until the end of WW2. Lorraine Maguire with her entry “New Zealand WW2 Patriotic Covers”. These illustrated covers had their origins in the patriotic covers used in New Zealand during WW2. In America patriotic covers for WW2 were published before they entered the war. During WW2 there were restrictions on the mailing of stamps from NZ to other countries but no restrictions on the exchange of covers. With the ceasing of hostilities this came to an end. There were no officially issued covers, rather they were created by dealers and collectors to exchange with other like minded collectors. The Garrick family of Christchurch conducted extensive exchange of covers particularly with American collectors. Yiannis Pipis, from Cyprus, with his entry on the “Mail Services of UNFICYP”. This included an introductory sheet explaining the formation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the display itself looked at the various contingents that operated their own military post offices, showing the cancellations and cachets as well as postal stationary used in the different locations on the island where UNFICYP troops were based. This included mail from Austrian, British, Canadian, Danish, Finnish and Swedish contingents.
There was still some time following the competition to allow for other displays and so Richard Berry FRPSL showed a selection of material (ephemera) from the Rhodesian Security Forces: propaganda leaflets with strong imagery handed out by the Ministry of Information to local villagers. It probably dates from the late 1970s and it is anti ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) and its military wing ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) (considered to be marxist/socialist organisations) propaganda against communist fighters. Then Peter High showed two entires posted in Portsmouth in 1797 and 1798 with some interesting contents. They were posted by an individual who was previously on a hospital ship. He was involved in a vessel that sank off the coast of Florida; rescued and taken ashore, where he was later pressed-ganged onto a Royal Navy vessel going back to England. Geoff Hanney FRPSL showed a few recently purchased covers of FPOs used on manoeuvres in the UK during August 1907. He also showed a postcard of an Army Service Corps tented camp in Grove Park, Lewisham, South East London as that was near to where our Hon Secretary lived and indeed where Geoff lived when he was a young lad!
Our President, Robin Davis (left), receiving the John Daynes’ Plate from our Immediate Past President, Richard Berry (right)
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