Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

The Centenary of the Great War - 28 July 2014

This is the first set in a five part landmark series that commemorates ‘the War to end all Wars’. World War 1 - dubbed The Great War - was a defining point in world history and this series will explore stories from the individuals who served as well as key art and poetry from the years. Stamps will be issued every year until 2018 inclusive, building into a unique series that will provide an insight into the war and the contribution and sacrifice of millions

The Great War was an event without precedent in history and touched every household in Britain, either directly (with family members killed, injured or lost in action) or through the immense social changes it triggered. The centenary of this conflict is being marked by Royal Mail with a series of 30 stamps to be released over the next five years. Each year of the war will be commemorated by a set of six stamps, exploring six visual and thematic strands: poppy, poetry, portraits, war art, memorials and artefacts.
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Great War 1914 - 1st class Poppy stamp. Great War 1914 - Remembrance stamp. Great War 1st class Private Ticke stamp.
Great War 1914 - Star Shell stamp £1-47. Great War 1914 - Memorial £1-47 stamp. Great War 1914 - Princess Mary's Gift box £1-47 stamp. 
1st class stamps: Poppy, 'For the Fallen', Private William Cecil Tickle
£1.47 stamps: A Star Shell, The Response, Newcastle (memorial), Princess Mary's Gift Fund Box

 Great War 1914 - psb pane 1. Great War 1914 - PSB pane 2.
Pane 1 - 3 x 1st class stamps
Pane 2 - 3 x £1.47 stamps

Great War 1914 - PSB Pane 3. Great War 1914 - PSB pane 4.
Pane 3 - £1 Machin Definitive stamp surrounded by pictures of the King George V 1d stamp.
Pane 4 - 2 x 10p, 2 x 20p Machin definitives and England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland 1st class stamps.

Great War 1914 - PSB book cover.

Prestige Stamp Book Cover

When the Prestige Book arrived it was clear that this set consists of at least 10 special stamps, maybe 12, depending on how the collectors and the catalogue editor treats them.

The pictorial stamps issued in sheets have two phosphor bands except for the 'Starburst' painting and 'We Will Remember Them' poetry stamps, which are all-over phosphor.  We now know that all 6 pictorial stamps in the PSB have all-over phosphor which means that at least 4 will have a separate listing in some catalogues.  They are certainly different stamps, and the difference is easily seen to the naked eye.  Because of the dark colouring of some of the stamps the phosphor is less easy to see under ultra-violet light, but we offer these pictures.

Clockwise from top left: Poppy - Private Tickle - Gift Box - The Response
UV picture of two types of Poppy Stamp.  UV Picture of 2 types of Private Tickle Stamp.

UV picture of 2 types of War Memorial stamp.  UV picture of 2 types of Gift box stamp.

There are also shade differences - in each case the top row are stamps from the ISP sheets, the bottom row is from the Enschede PSB.

Great War 1st class  stamps 2014.

High Value Great War  Centenary stamps 2014.

The stamps in detail

The poppy quickly became symbolic of the war. It was previously associated with the powerful effects of opium and detested by farmers as a stubborn weed, but its tendency to spring up on disturbed earth made it a common sight among the broken ground of shell-torn battlefields. The poppy’s deep red colour seemed to evoke the blood of wounded men, while the flower’s delicate petals might hint at the fragility of life itself. In this specially commissioned painting, artist Fiona Strickland captures the fine texture and translucency of a poppy’s petals.

In 1914, Laurence Binyon was a senior curator at the British Museum and an authority on East Asian art. Born in 1869, he was too old to enlist at the outbreak of war. He had been a published poet since the age of 16, and on 21 September 1914, The Times printed his seven-stanza poem ‘For the Fallen’. At this time, the British Expeditionary Force was in retreat, having suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Mons. Binyon’s poem is very well known today,  being used across the world in the ‘Ode of Remembrance’.

Private William Cecil Tickle enlisted during the height of the recruiting rush on 7 September 1914. Despite being underage, he managed to join the 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment. After a period of arduous training, the battalion was deployed to France and on the third day of the Battle of the Somme attacked near the village of Ovillers. The troops were hit by machine-gun fire from three sides and suffered heavy casualties. Among the dead was Private Tickle. Having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France.

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson was born in London in 1889. A leading exponent of Futurism, he went to France and Flanders as a Red Cross orderly, later joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. After being invalided out of the Army, he secured a commission as an official war artist. One of Nevinson’s official works, Paths of Glory, showing two dead British soldiers lying amid mud and barbed wire, was controversially censored. In A Star Shell, Nevinson depicts the weird, unearthly light of an illuminating artillery flare. The shell’s harsh glow reveals a strange landscape of broken ground and barbed wire and captures the disorienting alien nature of the battlefield.

The Response, otherwise known as the Renwick Memorial, was inaugurated in Newcastle in July 1923. A spectacular sculpture by William Goscombe John depicts the volunteers of the Northumberland Fusiliers marching to the station on their way to France. Led by drummers and heralded by the figure of Victory, the men walk resolutely as two sweethearts part for perhaps the last time. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener’s call to arms in September 1914 met with an instant and overwhelming response. While the pre-war British Army needed 30,000 recruits a year, at the peak of the
recruiting rush this number enlisted in a single day. By the end of 1915, 2.5 million had volunteered.

On 15 October 1914, Princess Mary launched her Christmas Gift Fund. In a public letter, she wrote, “I want you now to help me send a Christmas present from the whole nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front.” Her appeal was met with an enthusiastic response, eventually raising over £162,000. On Christmas Day 1914 alone, 426,724 gifts were distributed to British service personnel. Each included writing materials, a Christmas card and a photograph of the Princess, and most contained tobacco and cigarettes, all enclosed in an embossed brass box. Many boxes survived, becoming distinctive mementoes of the war’s first Christmas.


Acknowledgements: Poppy by Fiona Strickland, 2014 © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2014;
For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon, September 1914, lettering and stone carving by Gary Breeze © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2014;
Private William Cecil Tickle, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment © Imperial War Museums (HU93549);
A Star Shell by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, 1916 © Tate, London 2011;
The Response, Newcastle, sculpted by Sir William Goscombe John RA and photographed by Paul Grundy;
Princess Mary’s Gift Fund box, courtesy Imperial War Museums, photographed by John Ross © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2014

Royal Mail wants to hear the stories of descendants of the First World War Post Office Rifles regiment and owners of Princess Mary Gift Boxes - click here

Technical details:
The 35 x 35 mm square stamps were designed by Hat-trick Design, perf 14½ x 14½, printed by International Security Printers in Lithography.  The PVA-gummed stamps have all-over phosphor on 'For the Fallen' and 'A Star Shell' and phosphor bands on the remainder, and are printed in sheets of 25/50.
The prestige booklet is  printed by Joh Enschede - all the the special stamps have all-over phosphor see above.  All stamp images Royal Mail Group Ltd ©2014 reproduced with permission.

Products issued - we will be stocking the definitive stamps from the PSB.

Set of 6 stamps           Presentation Pack 

Set of 6 stamp cards    Coin Cover    Prestige Stamp Book

Special first day of issue postmarks will be shown here. These cannot be obtained the date of issue; more may be added. Not always to scale.

Great War 1914 Tallents House official first day postmark.
Great War 1914 Newcastle upon Tyne official first day postmark. 
Great War 1914 Newcaste upon Tyne non-pictorial official first day postmark.

Special FD postmarks for Great War stamps 28 July 14.
Ref FD1416TH
Official Bureau postmark
Britons! Your Country Needs You
Ref FD1416PL
Newcastle upon Tyne official first day of issue postmark
Britain at War
Ref F14126P
Newcastle upon Tyne non-pictorial official first day of issue postmark
Ref L13127 The Great War Centenary
The Not Forgotten Association
GBFDC Association London

Ref L13128
Centenary of the Start of WW1
  World War 1 Centenary postmarks.
Special FD postmarks for Great War stamps 28-7-14.
Ref L13110
WWI Centenary, London SW1
In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June 2015
Ref L13111 WW1 100 Years, Southampton In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June 2015 Ref L13112
We Will Remember Them, Salisbury
In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June 2015
Ref M13134
The Great War National Memorial Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent

Ref M13135
The Great War 1914 Kitchener Road, Birmingham
FD Postmarks for Great War stamps 28-7-14.
Western Front Association special postmark.
Special postmark showing profile head of K George V.
Ref L13129 Centenary of the First World War, "We Will Remember Them"
London SW1
Ref L13130 The Great War Centenary, Britain's Strong Arm and Yours, London SW1 Ref N13137 The Great War Centenary, The Western Front Association, Stockport Ref M13133
The Great War National Memorial Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent
Ref L13126. A postmark as above but dated 28 JUL 2014 will be used.
Special postmarks for Great War stamps 2014.
Great War first day postmark showing poppy and solider.
Great War stamps special postmark showing a poppy.
Ref L13138 - Ambulance Trains of the First World War, Dover, Kent Ref L13139 Centenary of the Outbreak of WWI 1914-1918 Westminster Abbey, London SW1 Ref L13140 We Will Remember London SW1 Ref M13146 The Great War, Alrewas, Burton on Trent Ref N13147 Centenary The Great War, We will remember them, Lancaster
Special postmarks for Great War stamps 2014. Postmark showing warship.
Postmark with text 'To Arms!'.
Ref L13141 We Will Remember Them, The Great War, Southampton Ref L13142 Centenary - The Great War, London SW1A Ref L13143 1914-1918 Great War Commemoration, Herts at War, Letchworth Garden City Ref S13167 The War at Sea, Scapa Flow, Kirkwall, Orkney
Ref N13163 To Arms! Newcastle Upon Tyne
Postmark showing Censor Mark.

Ref F13174 The Great War Centenary, BFPS - showing triangular censor mark with number 3176 (the BFPS number).

BRITISH FORCES: For details of new arrangements for obtaining British Forces Special Postmarks see our updated blog entry.

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This page updated 24 August 2014. (UV pictures and comparisons added)

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