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
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
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
Pane 1 - 4 x 1st class stamps from 2007 British Army Uniforms Set
Pane 2 - 3 x 1st class stamps from the current set
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.
Prestige Stamp Book Cover
1p, 5p and £1.33 from Pane 4
The stamps in detail
1st class POPPIES, HOWARD HODGKIN
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.
1st class ‘‘ALL THE HILLS AND VALES ALONG’, CHARLES HAMILTON SORLEY
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.
1st class RIFLEMAN KULBIR THAPA
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.
£1.52 THE KENSINGTONS AT LAVENTIE, ERIC KENNINGTON
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.
£1.52 CAPE HELLES, GALLIPOLI, TURKEY
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.
£1.52 LONDON IRISH RIFLES’ FOOTBALL FROM LOOS
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
detail of The Kensingtons at Laventie by Eric Kennington, 1915 © IWM (ART
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
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 -
four of the stamps in the PSB had different phosphor
banding than on the sheet stamps.
All stamp images Royal
Group Ltd ©2015 reproduced with permission.
Products issued - we will be stocking the stamps from the PSB.
Set of 6 stamps Presentation
Set of 6 stamp cards Coin Covers Prestige
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.
Official Bureau postmark
Women of Britain say - GO!
Winchester official first day of issue postmark
There's room for you to ENLIST to-day
Winchester non-pictorial official first day of issue postmark
|Ref L13402 In
Flanders Field the Poppies blow, between the crosses row on row. We
First World War - 1915
WWI Centenary, London SW1
In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June 2015
L13111 WW1 100 Years, Southampton In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June
We Will Remember Them, Salisbury
In use 28 June 2014 - 27 June 2015
World War I Centenary, Armory Road, Birmingham
The Great War Centenary
Heroes of the Sea, Orkney
|Ref N13408 Gallipoli
|Ref M6043 National Memorial Arboretum,
Alrewas Royal Mail
|Ref L13427 The Great War 1915
First Day of Issue
|Ref L13424 Cape Helles, Gallipoli
If you would like to be
notified when this page changes use the 'ChangeDetection' box above.
This page updated 1 May 2015.