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Thursday 21 April 2022

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.


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