Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

The Centenary of the Great War - 21 June 2016

This is the third set in a five part landmark series that commemorates ‘the War to end all Wars’.   Not only did the First World War claim millions of lives, it changed the course of history and transformed the lives of generations to come.  Each year of the war is explored though a stamp which covers six key themes: Poppies, Poetry, War Art, Memorials and Artefacts. These themes combine to form a beautiful and poignant collection which serves as a fitting way to commemorate this tragic conflict.

1916 witnessed some of the largest battles in human history, both on land and at sea, and Britain would also face major new challenges at home. Key developments in 1916 included: Evacuation from Gallipoli, Conscription and Conscience, Uprising in Ireland, Clash of the Dreadnoughts, Slaughter on the Western Front, The Crucible of the Somme and The Growing Strain at Home.
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Some people contacting Royal Mail may have been told that the 1st World War issue will be delayed by up to 8 weeks caused by a printing error.
This was a misunderstanding: the stamps, miniature sheet, PSB, and first day envelope - which are already with dealers and Post Office branches are correct in every way,
and will be issued on 21 June as planned.   There will be a delay to the distribution of some other products.  See our blog.
Wodl War 1 Centeanry stamps 2016. 
1st class stamps: Battlefield Poppies; 'To My Brother'; Munitions Worker.
£1.52 stamps: Travoys arriving with wounded at a dressing station at Smol, Macedonia September 1916;
Thipeval Memorial, Somme, Battle of Jutland Medal.

2016 World War 1 Miniature Sheet.

1st class - Post Office Rifles

£1.33 - Delivering the Mail on the Home Front

£1.33 - Home Depot at Regent's Park, London

1st class - Writing a Letter from the Western Front.
2016 WWI PSB Pane 1. 2016 WWI PSB Pane 2. 
Pane 1 - 4 x 1st class definitive-size poppies, 1 each of the 1st class Flag definitives, and the 1st class Northern Ireland definitive;
Pane 2 - 3 x 1st class stamps from the current set

 2016 WWI PSB Pane 3. 2016 WWI PSB Pane 4.
Pane 3 - 3 x £1.52 stamps from the current set.
Pane 4 - Stamps from the miniature shset

2016 WWI PSB Cover.

Prestige Stamp Book Cover

The stamps in detail

Giles Revell is a London photographer who is particularly interested in the ways in which photography can capture form and texture. In his Battlefield Poppy, a single poppy stands against a chaotic and barren background. The image has an ethereal quality, suggesting the alienation of life from a world of violence and suffering. To create this delicate and atmospheric photograph, Revell suspended real poppies in a water tank and added coloured dyes to create swirling mist-like patterns. The result, after much painstaking experimentation, is a painterly effect that captures the solitary poppy’s fragility and vulnerability.

Vera Brittain was born in 1893 in Staffordshire. At the outbreak of the war, her younger brother Edward applied for a commission, and in 1915 Vera trained as a nurse. In June 1918, she wrote ‘To  My Brother’, a poem commemorating Edward’s bravery on the Somme two years previously, in which she addressed her brother with the following words: “May you endure to lead the last advance”. Four days later, Edward was killed. Vera was devastated by his death. After she died in 1970, her ashes were scattered on his grave, according to her wishes. By then, her writings had made her a major figure in the literary history of the war.

This studio portrait shows Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Meade. Reflecting her work as a munitions worker, Meade is posing in her overalls, her hair covered by a headscarf. On her overalls, she wears a small triangular brooch, an ‘On War Service’ badge that marks her as playing her part in the war effort. During the war, millions of women entered Britain’s workforce, while many others left work such as textile manufacturing and domestic service in favour of higher-paying war work. Employment in the munitions industry could be hazardous. Meade herself would die of TNT poisoning on 11 October 1916, leaving a husband and four young children.


This painting by Stanley Spencer was inspired by an incident he witnessed in September 1916. During the time he was serving with a field ambulance unit in Macedonia, a stream of wounded was brought to Spencer’s dressing station, which was housed in a Greek church. As a Christian, Spencer saw this scene in religious terms; the suffering of the wounded reminded him of Christ’s crucifixion, while the life-saving work of the surgeons made him think of the Resurrection.

The village of Thiepval was a key strategic point on the Somme battlefield. Fought over many times, it was finally captured by British troops in late September 1916. Thiepval was later selected as the site of the Thiepval Memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The arches symbolise the unity of Britain and France. The memorial’s inner faces bear the names of 72,253 British and South African troops who died on the Somme and who have no known grave. Rising up to 160 feet (48m), the memorial now stands over a peaceful agricultural landscape, dotted with British and imperial cemeteries and memorials.

After Jutland, unofficial medals were struck to commemorate the battle. Designed by Prince Louis of Battenberg, a former First Sea Lord, these medals were made by Spink and Son of London and sold in gold, silver, bronze and white metal versions to raise money for naval orphanages. The design features a trident, a symbol of naval power. Crossed flagstaffs bear a Union flag and the Royal Navy’s White Ensign, and a shield carries the date of the battle: 31 May 1916. This particular example belonged to Captain AC Green of the Royal Marines.


Battlefield Poppy by Giles Revell, 2016 © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016; ‘To My Brother’ by Vera Brittain quotation used by permission of Mark Bostridge and TJ Brittain-Catlin, literary executors for the Estate of Vera Brittain 1970, calligraphy by John Stevens © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016; Lottie Meade © IWM (WWC M15); Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916 by Sir Stanley Spencer, 1919 © IWM (ART 2268); Thiepval Memorial photograph © Mike Sheil, www.westernfrontphotography. com/Mary Evans Picture Library; Captain AC Green’s Battle of Jutland commemorative medal, used with the kind permission of The Royal Marines Museum, photography by John Ross © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016

Miniature sheet: The Post Office Rifles, 1916 postcard © The Postal Museum; delivering the mail on the Home Front, photograph by Arthur LP Reavil © IWM (Q114921); Home Depot at Regent’s Park, London © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016, courtesy of The Postal Museum; writing a letter from the Western Front © National Library of Scotland/Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba; miniature sheet background map by hat-trick design based on historical sources © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016

Technical details:
The 35 x 35 mm square stamps were designed by Hat-trick Design, printed by International Security Printers in Lithography.  No details of the perforations or phosphor arrangements have been provided - in 2014 four of the stamps in the PSB had different phosphor banding than on the sheet stamps.  The miniature sheet is also by Hat-trick Design, printed by ISP in lithography.  The stamps are 41 x 30mm and the sheet 146 x 74mm.
All stamp images Royal Mail Group Ltd ©2016 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 Cover    Prestige Stamp Book

Special first day of issue postmarks are in the Royal Mail Postmark Bulletin which can be downloaded from their website. 

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This page updated 17 June 2016

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