8 February 2020

Members’ Displays - John Haynes plate 15-Page Competition

This year we had six entries - one down on last year - but you wouldn’t really know that unless you read my meeting report on our website as I’ve just realised that for some reason I had not included the report in any of last years Newsletters!  My apologies to last years winner Eddie Weeks, with his entry on the “Zeppelin Mail of World War I”, and to the other entrants for this omission.  As usual at the end of the competition members who entered gave a short talk on their respective entries.  In addition we had a showing of some material by Peter Burrows, who did not enter the competition but who always acts as our “returning officer” and counts up the voting slips.

Turning to our competition voting, as usual, was by the members present at the meeting and the winner of the 2020 John Daynes’ Plate was relative newcomer to our meetings Julian Bagwell with his “British Levant in WW1”.   This comprised 15 sheets of war related material starting with the 1912/13 war between Greece and its allies against the Ottoman Empire.  Then the two major campaigns in the Levant, Gallipoli and Salonika, finishing with the evacuation from Constantinople in 1923.

Second was Nick Coley with his entry “Registered Royal Naval Mail WW2”.  This included examples of Royal Navy registered mail from the UK, Gibraltar, Egypt, Aden and East Africa - including an envelope addressed to Lt John Goldup sent from Greenland - he being the author of “Naval Mails 1939-45” published in 1950.

Third was our Programme Organiser and War & Philately Organiser, Peter High with his entry on “Shipwrecked Three Times”.  Such was the life of a merchant seaman during World War II - snatched moments on leave with a loved one.  Here were 15 sheets of correspondence between a First Officer on a Hospital Ship and his girlfriend / fiancé / wife.  But this officer was serving on three ships which were sunk, including the Hospital Ship Newfoundland.  Fortunately he survived the three sinking’s!

The remaining three entries (in alphabetical order) were from:

Richard Berry FRPSL with his entry on “Mail for the Boys - Operation Green Label”: this was about the introduction of Military Post Office (MPO) labels in Rhodesia in 1974 which showed the various labels used from the different MPOs, including the range of colours used.  The examples were from the Richard Barnett collection and had not been altered and showed a different approach to handling the same type of material.

Michael Dobbs with his entry on “British FPO Datestamps used by the Canadian Forces in WW II”: on the day Germany invaded Poland (1 September 1939) the Canadian Government authorised the formation of the Canadian Active Service Force for service overseas.  On 28 September 1939 the Canadians announced the intention of sending 1st Canadian Division to the UK and in late 1939 the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) was formed in London.  Whilst the Canadians had their own postal organisation it was in March 1940 that arrangements were agreed whereby Canadian postal units would draw stores and equipment, including FPO datestamps from the Home Depot, Royal Engineers.  This exhibit describes the Canadian postal structures in the UK with datestamp allocations and illustrates covers postmarked using British FPO datestamps.

Lorraine Maguire with her entry on “Convalescence of WW I New Zealand Soldiers in London”:  In 1916 Grey Towers in Hornchurch was taken over by the N.Z. Military as a Convalescent Hospital with 1500 beds. Soldiers were moved there from N.Z. hospitals at Brockenhurst and Walton-on-Thames. Lorraine showed postcards of the hospital and its amenities, wards, recreation etc. Also shown were places in London for outings such as the N.Z. Soldiers Club in Russell Square and the Shakespeare Hut in Bloomsbury.  A photo of Lorraine’s father at Hornchurch and travel vouchers he used when travelling were also included.  Finally, unfit to return to the Front, he returned to N.Z. on "HMNZHS Marama", where we saw his embarkation card with his bed number on it.  Finally back in N.Z. he was sent to St. Mary’s Hospital in Hamner Springs for further recuperation.  New Zealand looked after their soldiers very well during their periods of recuperation etc.

2020 Feb 8 Richard and Julian

Our President Richard Berry FRPSL (left) presenting Julian Bagwell (right) with the John Daynes’ plate

© Forces Postal History Society 2020