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Saturday 11 Feb 2023

11th February 2023 – John Daynes’ Plate 15-page Competition and Members’ Displays

The competition took place in the afternoon in the Burns Room of the Union Jack Club. Sadly we only had four entries this year, but they were all excellent material and included one entry sent in by a member as he lived too far away to travel down to join us just for an afternoon meeting but had posted in extremely high quality coloured images of their entry. Voting was by the members present at the meeting. After the presentation three of the four entrants gave a short talk on their entries.

I’m pleased to announce that Andrew Brooks was the clear winner with his entry of “Austro-Hungarian Medical Units in WW1”, beating the second place winner by a massive 29 points. In describing his entry Andrew stated that Austro-Hungary identified its military medical mail with distinctive cachets and some postmarks, both near the front, in base areas and in all parts of the Monarchy. Other participating countries in WW1, with the exception of France, did not go to such lengths. The Eastern Front was more mobile between 1914-1917 compared with the Western Front and also had to deal with more infectious diseases (cholera, typhus, etc).

Figs 1 to 3 are three sheets from Andrew Brooks’ winning entry of “Austro-Hungarian Medical Units in WW1”

Second was Tony Stanford with his entry on “The Netley Hospital”. Tony stated that this Open Class exhibit featured the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley which was built at the behest of Queen Victoria as she was so disturbed by the poor conditions under which the sick and wounded returning from the Crimean War were being treated. Netley, overlooking Southampton Water and close to Portsmouth, was selected as the ideal site and on 19th May 1856 the foundation stone was laid with a casket beneath containing the first Victoria Cross and a Crimean Medal. The magnificent hospital, a quarter of a mile long, was completed in 1863 and the first patients admitted in March of that year. The hospital was fully utilised caring for injured during the Anglo­Boer War when the ARMY OFFICIAL stamps were provided for correspondence and again during the First World War when a branch of the Railway was constructed between Netley Station and the rear of the hospital to admit the wounded from the ambulance trains. The exhibit included correspondence from the nearby Netley Abbey Post Office which was used by patients and staff.

The other two entrants were: Lorraine Maguire with “Every Cover and Letter Tells a Story” which showed the mail that travelled between New Zealand and WW2 soldiers in North Africa and Europe and back. Many covers remain but over 60 years letters do not appear too often. Stories of the soldiers as well as the mail give a background into the lives of these young men. This is a tiny section of a much larger talk and display that Lorraine has prepared. Then there was Simon McArthur with “Occupied Netherlands in WWII”. This display showed examples of mail to and from the occupied Netherlands together with examples of the Deutsche Dienstpost Niederlande system set up as the German Official Postal Service in that country. The display began with postcards sent to Germany and Belgium which were unable to be delivered as a result of the German invasion in 1940.

After the competition we had time for members’ displays. First to show was Michael Dobbs with various recently mounted up material - the first section was a selection of sepia photographs of the Forces Postal Service from around the late 1950s to mid-1960s showing postal workers at work or photos of FPO buildings from Hong Kong, RAF Eastleigh, Malta, Gibraltar, Aden and RAF Salalah; he also showed PL89 series GPO leaflets on Postal rates and PG219 GPO leaflets on Forces telegraph services along with a selection Air Mail Delivery Bills (OE2/AV7 forms) from various locations in 1965. Lastly he showed two recently purchased items from BFPO 599, the UK Support Unit at the NATO location in Izmir, Turkey from around 2002.

Fig 4 is a photo showing RE postal workers in Hong Kong (BFPO 1) loading bags onto an RASC Water Transport mechanised landing craft, which later carried them to the P&O Liner Chusan, bound for the UK; taken December 1957

Figs 5 & 6 are of the Forces Post Office at RAF Eastleigh, Kenya (BFPO 10); taken March 1965

Tony Stanford then showed a few items including illustrated notepaper from the Netley Hospital and Netley Abbey. He also showed a few cover of British FPOs in Morocco and a copy of an article the late Alistair Kennedy on the subject in the GB Overprint Society magazine “The Overprinter” Christmas Edition (4/2004) which was identical to an article which appeared in our Newsletter 262 (Winter 2004).

Our third and final display was by Nick Colley on German Forces in Norway during WW2. This was a small display but included Luftwaffe covers from various locations; Kriegsmarine in Trondheim and other locations, including couple of covers from the Tirpitz.


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