Royal Mail have announced the issue of another 'Flags' Smilers Sheet following the 'Rule Britannia' sheet issued last year.
The flag stamp was first issued as part of a miniature sheet in October 2001, the original can be seen here.
The White Ensign is the flag of the Royal Navy, and is worn by all HM Ships in commission and by shore establishments. Some Civilian authorities with Naval connections have been granted permission to use it in special circumstances. Before 1864 the Fleet comprised 3 Squadrons using the Red, White and Blue Ensigns respectively. The present design dates from 1801.
The isssue of this sheet appears to be totally unconnected with either the Bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar or the Anniversary of the end of World War 2, which is an opportunity missed, I think.
Sailors will recognise the flags on the labels as:
|K - I wish to communicate with you||Z - I require a tug||J - I am on fire||M - I am stopped|
|V - I require assistance||C - Yes, affirmative||B - dangerous goods||Y - I am dragging my anchor*|
|N - No, negative||P - The Blue Peter - about to leave||X - Stop your intentions||S - My engines are going astern|
|E - I am altering my course to starboard||O - Man overboard||H - I have a pilot on board||A - I have a diver below|
|I - I am altering my course to port||D - Keep clear||G - I require a pilot||L - You should stop immediately|
* Note: the Y flag is shown on the sheet as "I am dragging my anchor". For some reason it is also used to signal "I am carrying mails". Thus the banner at the top of the page reads: N O R V I C - we are carrying mails" !
Designed by Webb and Webb, the sheet is printed in litho by Walsall Security Print so this produces a new stamp as the original stamps were printed by Questa in gravure.
Stamp and postmark images are taken from Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin and Postmark Bulletin, and are Copyright 2005 by Royal Mail.
Postmarks for use on the day of issue:
| Ref M9614
Horatio Nelson, Burnham Thorpe, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
| Ref N9616
The White Ensign, Flagg, Buxton
| Ref L4674
Royal Mail Portmsouth - The Mary Rose
| Ref W4673
Royal Mail Plymouth - Smeaton's Tower
We have produced an exclusive cover for this issue showing HMS Victory in Portsmouth Harbour, and the Stature of Lord Nelson outside Norwich Cathedral. This cover will be used with postmark M9614, as shown. Covers with single stamps will have the stamp at top right.
This alternative cover depicting the White Ensign and piece of public sculpture will be used with other postmarks:
Prices (for either cover):
Cover with a single stamp and label - price £3.50 each
Cover with a split strip of 5 stamps and labels - price £5.50 each
Set of 4 covers with 4 split strips of 5 stamps & labels - price £17.50
There will be no Royal Mail FDCs for these stamps.
Mint sheet - £7.85     Any single stamp £0.55
All prices exclude postage & packing, For prices in foreign currencies - please email us.
This page updated 12 June 2005
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