Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Pictorial Faststamps: Mail by Air - 13 September 2017

Pictorial Post & Go stamps appear in machines in UK Post Offices for defined periods of time in the year and this series is intended to provide attractive stamps that are appropriate for the season in which they are issued.

Post & Go stamps are sold from Post Office Self-Service Kiosks (SSK), which allow customers to weigh their letters and packets, pay for and print postage stamps and stationery supplies, often without the need to visit the counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in The Galleries Post Office® in Bristol in 2008.  The labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post Offices around the country, and from Royal Mail machines at Enquiry Offices, Museums and Autumn Stampex.  The labels can be obtained with 6 different service indicators: 1st class up to 100g & 1st class Large up to 100g, a dual-value Europe up to 20g/World up to 10g, Europe 100g, Worldwide 20g, and Worldwide 100g.  From SSKs other stamps can be printed with monetary values for a variety of services including Special Delivery and parcels.

 Faststamp showing first UK aerial mail 1911. Faststamp showing Military Mail, 1919.
Faststamp showing International Airmail, 1933. Faststamp showing Domestic Airmail 1934.
Faststamp showing flying borat airmail 1937. Faststamp showing airracft in Database service, 1980.

From top left:
First UK aerial mail and Windsor Castle 1911, Military Mail flight 1919, International airmail 1933,
Domestic airmail 1934, Flying boat airmail 1937, Database service 1980s.
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In Feb 2016 Royal Mail issued the Royal Mail Heritage: Transport set as part of the Royal Mail 500 celebrations. Post & Go issues in 2017 will build on the theme, creating a series of issues in which the transportation of mail is explored in greater detail.  The second in the series is Mail by Air.

Mail transportation by aeroplane was inaugurated in February 1911, when the world’s first airmail was carried at an exhibition in Allahabad, India. Seven months later, the UK’s first aerial post was flown from Hendon to Windsor in honour of King George V’s coronation – between 9 and 26 September, 20 flights were made between the two locations, which constituted the world’s first regular airmail service.

In 1919, the RAF introduced flights between Folkestone and Cologne to carry mail to British forces.  Later that year, the first public international air service was initiated, transporting civilian mail between London and Paris.

After its founding in 1924, Imperial Airways established numerous airmail routes across Europe to the Empire in India and Africa. In December 1934, following experimental flights three years earlier, a full direct mail service to Australia was inaugurated.

Carrying mail by air soon became a regular feature across the UK – in May 1934, Britain’s first scheduled domestic airmail service was launched when Highland Airways began operating a regular daily service from Inverness to the Orkney Isles.

The stamps in detailMail by Air Post and  Go presentation pack.

First UK aerial mail, 1911
At 4.58pm, on 9 September 1911, Gustav Hamel flew from Hendon to Windsor in a Blériot monoplane carrying 23½lb of mail, which included letters to King George V and other dignitaries. The stamp depicts Hamel flying over Windsor Castle prior to landing at Shaw Farm meadow, Frogmore, at 5.13pm.

Military mail flight, 1919
In 1919, the RAF began operating a mail-carrying service between Folkestone and Cologne. Following a rail and road journey from London to the aerodrome, mail was loaded onto a De Havilland DH.10 and flown to troops in Germany. Between 1 March and 31 August 1919, 922 flights were made.

International airmail, 1933
Imperial Airways’ Handley Page HP.42E airliners first entered into service in 1931. G-AAXF Helena is depicted flying over the pyramids in Egypt, on the Cairo-Gaza-Karachi sector, in 1933. During their eight years of service, the HP.42s carried an exceptional amount of mail. The Empire Air Mail Scheme was introduced in 1937 to carry first-class mail for 1½d by air within the British Empire.

Domestic airmail, 1934
The most versatile of aircraft was the De Havilland DH.84 Dragon II, which was used by the majority of airlines for mail and passenger duties. Railway Air Services Ltd had a total of 11 DH.84s in its fleet, of which G-ADDJ City of Plymouth is depicted in flight in 1934.

Flying boat airmail, 1937
The Empire Air Mail Scheme was introduced in 1937 to carry first-class mail for 1½d by air within the British Empire. Imperial Airways used flying boats to operate the new service and commissioned Shorts of Rochester to produce 28 of the C class for this purpose. G-ADUW Castor is depicted on take-off.

Datapost service, 1980s
Datapost was introduced as an express mail service for guaranteed next-day delivery in any part of the UK, transporting mail bags from airports all over the country. The aeroplane depicted is an Embraer Bandeirante EMB.110P1 G-POST operated by the Scottish company Air Ecosse.

Technical details: Designed by Osborne Ross with illustrations by Andrew Davidson. ‘International airmail, 1932’ – illustration based on a photograph of Handley Page HP42E (G-AAXF) of Imperial Airways by Charles E Brown © Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum; ‘Flying boat airmail, 1937’ – illustration based on a photograph of Castor ‘Short Empire Flying Boat’ ©
Short Brothers (Rochester & Bedford) Ltd, used with kind permission of Bombardier
Printed in gravure by International Security Printers, 56 x 25 mm, with two phosphor bands, self-adhesive.

These will be on sale from machines Autumn Stampex.   For more information see our blog.

Mail by Air first day cover.

Products issued

The labels will be used in Post & Go machines at Post Offices and Royal Mail Enquiry Offices around the country, and from the Royal Mail machines at Autumn Stampex.
A mint set of 6 x 1st will also be available from Royal Mail's Tallents House Bureau in a pack similar to a presentation pack. All values in the pack are 1st Class and the details are printed in gravure.

Royal Mail will again produce a First Day Cover and official First Day Postmarks for these stamps.

Special postmarks available for the day of issue  were shown in Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletins (download here)

This page created 25 August 2017

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