Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

The Centenary of the Great War - 14 May 2015

This is the second 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.

1915 saw the nature of warfare change. New weapons brought fresh horror to soldiers, sailors and civilians alike, while government and society both had to come to terms with an all-consuming war effort.
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Set of 6 stamps marking the Centenary of World War 1. 
1st class stamps: Poppies, 'All the Hills and Vales Along', Rifleman Kulbir Thapa
£1.52 stamps: The Kensingtons at Laventie, Cape Helles Gallipoli, London Irish Rifles' Football From Loos

2015 World War 1 PSB Pane 1.  2015 World War 1 PSB Pane 2.
Pane 1 - 4 x 1st class stamps from 2007 British Army Uniforms Set
Pane 2 - 3 x 1st class stamps from the current set

  2015 World War 1 PSB Pane 3. 2015 World War 1 PSB Pane 4.
Pane 3 - 3 x £1.52 stamps from the current set.
Pane 4 - 2 each 1p, 5p and £1.33 Machin definitives, and 2 x definitive-size poppy stamps first issued in 2012.
The Poppy stamp first appeared in a 2010 gummed miniature sheet, and in 2012 was issued in self-adhesive counter sheets.
This is the first one to be issued with ordinary gum qualifying for catalogue listing as a single stamp.

2015 World War 1 PSB Cover.

Prestige Stamp Book Cover
1p M15L MPIL from WWI PSB. 5p M15L MPIL from WWI PSB. 133p M15L MPIL from WWI PSB.

1p, 5p and £1.33 from Pane 4

The stamps in detail

In May 1915, Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae wrote a short poem entitled ‘In FlandersFields’, which drew upon the image of delicate poppies and spoke with the voice of fallen soldiers, calling on their comrades to continue the struggle. The verses helped to turn the flower into a symbol of remembrance throughout the English-speaking world. Poppies, an abstract work by London-born artist Howard Hodgkin, was inspired by poppies from Normandy in France and was executed as a carborundum print. Hodgkin won the Turner Prize in 1985 and was knighted in 1992.

In his four-stanza work ‘All the Hills and Vales Along’, Charles Hamilton Sorley depicts troops singing as they advance towards the front line. As the poem marches on, the pastoral imagery gives way to an ever-bleaker expectation of death. On 13 October 1915, 20-year-old Sorley was serving as a captain in the Suffolk Regiment when he was killed by a sniper. This poem was found in his kitbag and published posthumously. Sorley was later commemorated on a stone in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey, dedicated to 16 leading First World War poets.

Rifleman Kulbir Thapa was serving in 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, when his unit attacked German lines on 25 September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos. Though wounded and separated from his battalion, he was able to reach the German front line. Finding an injured British soldier nearby, Kulbir stayed with him all day and night, before carrying him to safety the next morning. Despite his injuries, he then returned to the German trenches and rescued two fellow Gurkhas. For these selfless acts of heroism, Kulbir became the first Nepalese Gurkha to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Painter and sculptor Eric Kennington joined the London Regiment in 1914, but was wounded and discharged in 1915. During his recovery, he worked on The Kensingtons at Laventie. Painted in reverse by applying oil paint to a sheet of glass, this extraordinary picture depicts Kennington (left background in a black balaclava) and several identifiable comrades resting in a ruined village after an exhausting spell in the trenches during the winter of 1914–15. A complex composition, the painting honours the fortitude and solidarity of ordinary soldiers.

In this image, British photographer Ernest Brooks captures a British soldier at a comrade’s grave at Cape Helles in an evocative sunset silhouette. Brooks was particularly keen on using silhouettes, as by rendering soldiers less recognisable, their outlines came to symbolise unknown soldiers. Cape Helles, on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, had witnessed bloody fighting on 25 April 1915, as a British division attempted to storm the beach in the face of determined Turkish resistance. Unveiled in 1924, the Helles Memorial commemorates 20,878 British dead of the Gallipoli campaign who have no known grave.

On 25 September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos, this football was booted out of British trenches by Private Frank Edwards. Kicked across no man’s land by Edwards’ comrades in 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles, it became entangled in German barbed wire as British soldiers overran the enemy position. Though disapproved of by his officers, Edwards’ action may well have offered a welcome distraction to men faced with a dangerous advance through heavy fire. Preserved in the London Irish Rifles’ Regimental Museum since the war, the football underwent special conservation treatment in 2011.


Poppies by Howard Hodgkin, 2015 © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2015;
‘All the Hills and Vales Along’ by Charles Hamilton Sorley, typography by Kelvyn Laurence Smith © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2015;
Rifleman Kulbir Thapa VC, photograph used with the kind permission of The Gurkha Museum;
detail of The Kensingtons at Laventie by Eric Kennington, 1915 © IWM (ART 15661);
Cape Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey – ‘A British soldier visits his comrade’s grave on the cliffs near Cape Helles’ – a posed photograph by Ernest Brooks © IWM (Q 13378);
London Irish Rifles’ football from Loos, used with the kind permission of The London Irish Rifles Regimental Association, photography by John Ross © Royal Mail Group Ltd

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.  No details of the phosphor arrangements have been provided - last year four of the stamps in the PSB had different phosphor banding than on the sheet stamps.
All stamp images Royal Mail Group Ltd ©2015 reproduced with permission.

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

Set of 6 stamps           Presentation Pack 

Set of 6 stamp cards    Coin Covers    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. These images are not always to scale.

Tallents House first day postmark.
Winchesterfirstday postmark for World War 1. 
Winchester non-pictorial firstday postmark.
Postmarks for World War1 stamps showing a poppy, a bi-plane.

Ref FD1516TH
Official Bureau postmark
Women of Britain say - GO!
Ref FD1516PL
Winchester official first day of issue postmark
There's room for you to ENLIST to-day
Ref F1516NP
Winchester non-pictorial official first day of issue postmark
Ref L13402 In Flanders Field the Poppies blow, between the crosses row on row. We Will remember.

Ref L13403
First World War - 1915
World War 1 Centenary postmarks.
Postmark showing a military tank. Postmark with text as below.
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 M13407
World War I Centenary, Armory Road, Birmingham
Ref S13409
The Great War Centenary
Heroes of the Sea, Orkney
Postmarks showing Remembrance Poppies and Infantryman.

Postmark showing the badge of the Gallipoli Association.
Postmark showing a poppy.
Europhilex first day postmark for Great War stamps.
Ref L13422
London SE1
Ref L13423
London SE5
Ref N13408 Gallipoli Association, Bury Ref M6043 National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas Royal Mail Ref L13427 The Great War 1915 Europhilex
First Day of Issue
Postmarks showing Gallipoli memorial, soldier, and poppy.

Ref L13424 Cape Helles, Gallipoli
Ref L13425
London SW1
Ref L13426
London EC3

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This page updated 1 May 2015.

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