Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks
The Centenary of the Great War - 31 July 2017
is the fourth 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.
Key events in 1917 explored through the issue include: Events at
Sea - combating the U-Boat menace and the development of the
dazzle camouflage, The Western Front and British Offensives
including the Battle of Passchendaele and the human stories to
emerge and also the hardships on the Home Front with the price
and availability of staples such as bread, butter, sugar and
meat becoming a key issue.
1st class stamps: Shattered Poppy;
'Dead Man's Dump' by Isaac Rosenberg; Nurses Elsie
Knocker and Mairi Chisholm.
£1.57 stamps: 'Dry Docked for Scaling and Painting' by
Edward Wadsworth; Tyne Cot Cementery, Belgium; Pte Lemuel Thomas
Rees's life-saving Bible.
Pane 1 - 4 x 1st class poppies from the 2006-8 Lest We Forget
Pane 2 - 3 x 1st class stamps from the current set
Pane 3 - 3 x £1.57 stamps from the current set.
Pane 4 - 8 x 1st class definitive-sized poppy stamps with a label
a 1920 poster advertising the Great War Exhibition at the
opening of the Imperial War Museum.
Prestige Stamp Book Cover
The stamps in detail
1st CLASS - SHATTERED POPPY, JOHN ROSS
Photographer John Ross has a particular interest in micrography, for which
he uses microscopes to reveal aspects of subjects not normally visible. To
create Shattered Poppy, Ross needed a supply of fresh poppies and so he set
up a temporary studio in a barn next to a poppy field, where he froze
freshly cut poppies using a vat of liquid nitrogen, before breaking the
brittle petals with a metal rod. Backlit to maximise the flower’s colour and
fine structure, the resulting image suggests a sudden, devastating act of
violence, an impression that is heightened by the poppy’s natural delicacy.
1st CLASS - ‘DEAD MAN’S DUMP’,
Isaac Rosenberg was a British painter and poet. The son of Lithuanian Jewish
immigrants, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, but also
maintained an interest in writing poetry.
By the time of his arrival on the Western Front with the 11th Battalion,
King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) in the summer of 1916, he had
published three volumes of poetry. In ‘Dead
Man’s Dump’, Rosenberg depicts a shocking scene as mule-drawn
wagons laden with coils of barbed wire pass by the dying and crush the
bodies of dead men lying in their path.
1st CLASS - NURSES ELSIE KNOCKER AND MAIRI CHISHOLM
Shortly after the outbreak of war, friends Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm
travelled to Belgium, joining a small ambulance corps where they worked
transporting casualties to base hospitals. Realising that many men were
dying from untreated wounds, they established a front-line first-aid post at
Pervyse in Belgium where they would eventually treat 23,000 casualties. In
1917, they were awarded the Military Medal. The stamp image shows the
‘Madonnas of Pervyse’ wearing the Order of Leopold II, a Belgian decoration
that they received in 1915.
£1.57 - DRY DOCKED FOR SCALING AND
PAINTING, EDWARD WADSWORTH
Working in the geometric, abstracted style of Vorticism, British painter
Edward Wadsworth was interested in technology and the new perspectives it
might offer. After being invalided out of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
in 1917, he was engaged to design ‘dazzle camouflage’ patterns for British
ships, which were intended to confuse attacking German U-boats (submarines).
In Dry Docked for Scaling and Painting,
Wadsworth emphasises the harsh, confusing ge ometry of the new patterns, as
the massive hull of the merchant ship seems to disappear among its new
£1.57 - TYNE COT CEMETERY, BELGIUM
Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders, Belgium, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker. A
total of 11,961 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or
commemorated there. Of the burials, 8,373 are unidentified. Visiting the
cemetery in 1922, King George V remarked: “I have many times asked myself
whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon Earth through the
years to come than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the
desolation of war.” On the Tyne Cot Memorial are the names of almost 35,000
UK and New Zealand servicemen who were killed in the Ypres Salient after 16
August 1917 and who have no known grave.
£1.57 - PRIVATE LEMUEL THOMAS REES’S LIFE-SAVING BIBLE
In 1917, Lemuel Thomas Rees was conscripted into the 6th Battalion, South
Wales Borderers. During the Battle of Passchendaele, an exploding German
shell landed close by, and although Rees was hit, he was saved by a small
Bible that he kept in his breast pocket. After spending four months in a
field hospital, he was sent home on leave where he suffered terrible
nightmares, reliving the horrors of trench warfare. Following his return to
the Western Front, Rees was wounded in a gas attack. He died from bronchial
pneumonia and the effects of gas on 13 November 1918, only two days after
the Armistice was signed.
Shattered Poppy by John Ross, 2017 © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2017; ‘Dead Man’s
Dump’ by Isaac Rosenberg, quotation used by permission of the Estate of
Isaac Rosenberg, typography by Kelvyn Laurence Smith © Royal Mail Group Ltd
2017; Nurses Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, photograph © National Library
of Scotland/ Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba; Dry Docked for Scaling and
Painting by Edward Wadsworth, reference IWM (ART 16380) © Estate of Edward
Wadsworth. All rights reserved, DACS 2017; Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium,
photograph © Mike Sheil/ westernfrontphotography.com/Mary Evans Picture
Library; Private Lemuel Thomas Rees’s life-saving Bible, used with the kind
permission of Mr Eurof Rees, photography by John Ross © Royal Mail Group Ltd
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
All stamp images Royal
Mail Group Ltd ©2017 reproduced with permission.
Set of 6 stamps Presentation
Set of 6 stamp cards Coin Cover Prestige
Special first day of issue postmarks are in the Royal Mail Postmark
Bulletin which can be downloaded from
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This page updated 19 June 2017