19 September 2020 - Zoom Meeting

Following on from our initial successful zoom meeting on 8th August, we held our next zoom meeting on Saturday 19th September.  We had 19 members, mainly from the UK but with some from the USA and Europe joining us as well.  This is a wonderful opportunity for all our members world-wide to display or just to view the varied selection of material that is shown.  We don’t lay down a subject theme or a minimum number of items to show - you could have just one item to show, something you are particularly pleased with or even something with a query you would like to ask.

As usual there was a mixture of displays and we started off with Julian Bagwell as we didn’t have sufficient time to view his display at our first zoom meeting.  He showed us variety of mail connected with Guernsey - some early postmarks on military mail from Guernsey and also inward military mail to Guernsey in 1847, 1882 and 1932 (from Egypt) and 1940 as well as Guernsey mail under German occupation, including use of bisect stamps.  He also showed a few items from the Crimean War and the use of the OXO obliterator.  Next we had Peter Harvey showing WW1 Redford & Co, Clerkenwell, tobacco and cigarette manufacturer, material including illustrated acknowledgement postcards only seen in 1915, covers and letters to the firm as well as printed parcel labels used by the firm to send out their products but sent back by the troops to acknowledge receipt of their parcels - most unusual.  Also shown were acknowledgement cards sent back from POWs.  Then it was the turn of Michael Dobbs with a small selection of covers showing the first datestamps used by the French Post Office at SHAPE after it was formed in the Paris suburb of Rocquencourt on 2 April 1951.  It included a cover with a rare SHAPE PARIS registration label 1953, SHAPE headed notepaper used by an American soldier in 1955 and machine postmark used in 1959 & 1960.  Karl Winkelmann had a single item to show, but with a very interesting story - a cover from Kadett Rudi Schlicht who was one of 168 German sailors rescued by the Irish registered MV Kerlogue after the Battle of the Bay of Biscay.  Schlicht was hospitalized in Cork before being transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp. The cover has a Military Internee certifying handstamp which was applied at the Curragh so we know his letter, dated 7 January 1943, was forwarded there from the military hospital in Cork before it was posted.

Ingo Egerlandt showed a couple of items connected with the British Expeditionary Force in France during 1940 - one was a returned postal packet label  and the other a registered envelope used from FPO 20 on 18 DE 30 with embossed 4½d stamp instead of the more usual registration only 3d embossed stamp.  Nick Colley, our ‘host’ for the meeting, then showed us a selection of WW2 Royal Navy and RAF mail, including a cover from Naval Party 1013 in Corsica April 1944; a photo with a previously unrecorded naval photograph censor mark; a registered cover with RAF censor R15/287 postmarked FPO 776 in Greece in February 1945; an RAF item from Egypt addressed to “Million Dollar Hwy” in the USA; an RAAF 4105 postmark on cover on the last day of use on 30 November 1945.  Howard Weinert collects Russian material, particularly those with an American connection and showed three items: a arctic convoy cover from a naval armed guard in April 1943 from the “forgotten convoy” which had to stay in Russia for some eight months until it could be escorted back to the USA; a postcard sent from an American sailor through the Russian postal system at Murmansk from the Liberty Ship “Benjamin Hill” in January 1945 and a cover from the Naval Attaché at the US Embassy in Kuibyshev, USSR (it having moved there in 1941 from Moscow due to German advances).  We then had an excellent display of material from a member concerning a German sailor, a survivor of the Bismark sunk on 27 May 1941 by the combined effects of shellfire, torpedo hits and deliberate scuttling.  One of only 111 survivors and taken prisoner the display told his story of being held in a British POW Camp, then a POW hospital, then transferred to Canada in March 1942 and held in various POW camps before finally being transferred back to the UK in 1946.  It was described as “An Unexpected Journey 1941-1946” and comprised various covers, postcards and POW stationery sent home to family showing a variety of censor and postal markings and stationery from the many camps he was held in during this period.  Our final display (unfortunately not illustrated on our website) came from our president, Richard Berry.  It concerned a small administrative unit in Rhodesia called HQ Midlands District based at Gwelo.  He showed various unit datestamps used by the HQ, a brief history compiled by a Colonel Castle and a host of ephemera and covers in 1981 & 1982 during the Zimbabwe period.  This showed what can be collected to enhance a display of military mail.

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

Members Displays

Americans in Russia WW2

Bismark POW Display

© Forces Postal History Society 2020