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Saturday 12 March 2022

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the ending of the Second World War

The subject of this meeting was originally planned for July 2020 but had to be postponed due to the covid pandemic and the cancellation of our UJC meetings. With ten members this was a slight increase from January, this being only our second UJC meeting this year. We hope attendance will improve, but are very aware that some members are still not keen on travelling on public transport, especially in London where it can get very crowded. We continue to hope that the situation improves with time and that eventually more of you will come to our London meetings.

Now down to the displays: Richard Berry showed four sheets as part of the correspondence in 1944/45 from a WREN officer who had been sent to Australia and from the contents was obviously enjoying the partying and celebrating down under!

Tony Stanford was next with Forces mail from Eritrea, at that time an Italian colony. He showed a map of the area and explained the British takeover of Eritrea and in doing so listed and showed the various British FPOs which operated there since 1941 and the use of British stamps overprinted MEF. The display also included Indian FPOs and POW mail. He also showed photographs of Eritrean railways and of Asmara.

Next up was Nick Colley with WW2 mail from exiled forces in occupied Europe, including various aspects of Royal Navy mail. This also included mail from HMS Hermes posted through French channels and mail from the French navy in Africa as well as Royal Navy mail from French colonies in Africa.

Then it was Peter High with his inevitable hospital ships! In this case a celebration of the role hospital ships of the Commonwealth made to the war effort, including material from Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, British and South African hospital ships. He also showed announcements related to the war - radio messages received by US hospital ships found in naval vessels subsequently sent for scrap.

Geoff Hanney was last but one to show, with WW2 Indian FPOs in Italy and Dutch East Indies and a few items from Indian FPOs after the war in 1946 - Malaya, Egypt and Dutch East Indies.

Finally it was Michael Dobbs who brought the displays back to the topic in hand - the end of WW2! His items included the Cross & Swords Victory edition issued on VE Day, Victory in Europe card from 2nd Tactical Air Force, Second Army Thanksgiving service booklet, Non-fraternisation letter from C-in-C 21 Army Group, a selection of Displaced Persons mail and finally some modern BFPS 1000 cancellations for 1995 UK Peace & Freedom stamps, 50th Anniversary VE and VJ days in 1995, 70th Anniversary in 2015 and 75th Anniversary in 2020; also the Forces Philatelic Bureau BFPO 707 FDC cancellation for a 1st class commemorative stamp issued on 8 May 2020 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Fig 1 - Second Tactical Air Force RAF Victory in Europe card issued for VE Day on 8th May 1945

Fig 2 – 1995 VE-VJ commemorative cover additionally used to celebrate the 75th Anniversary in 2020 with a £1.63 stamp featuring Allied POWs liberated in 1945 postmarked BFPS 1000 on 15 August 2020 to mark VJ Day.


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