MARCH 2018

In March 59 members enjoyed an enthralling afternoon with Alastair Nixon (pictured) who gave a wonderful PowerPoint display on Postal Mechanisation. If you have ever wondered about the mysterious lines, dots, markings on your envelope, Alastair defunct all the mysteries. What about postcodes, how did they come about? Alastair supplied the answer. He has also been able to de-code some of the Royal Mail’s codes, which they thought were fool proof – an amazing feat.
We enjoyed a look back in time to the first mechanical machines/devices that processed the post automatically from the first back in the late 1800s to today’s modern devices.

A fascinating and wonderful afternoon.
                    FEBRUARY 2018

February was a Members’ Day which again brought a variety of material from our members. We had a different twist on things this time round as members’ had to display material that began with the letter “S”.  We were not disappointed.
In the first half, we had errors/varieties of the KGVI Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika 1c stamp from David Carr. Steve Paice brought along some “Sods and Odds” from Australia. Malcolm Cole gave us a lively display of “German Submarines” in WWI. Denis Littlewort who specialises in Large Key Plates of KG, showed us a variety of errors and specimens. And bringing the first half to a close was our Secretary with a PowerPoint display, who took us on a “Vacation Guide to the Sun,” part of a bigger display of the Solar System.

In the second half, Michael Lockton displayed some wonderful Postal History material from Stratton in Cornwall. Christine Earle gave us “State Emblems of Australia.” Patrick Reid showed us “Short Paid Mail of Queensland,” and bringing the day to a close was the inimitable Graham Mytton with a PowerPoint presentation on Sierra Leone.

A marvellous and entertaining afternoon as usual.
Picture on left, shows from left to right: Steve Paice, Barry Feltham, David Carr and Denis Littlewort. Picture on the right: Graham Mytton, Michael Lockton, Christine Earle and Patrick Reid.

                   JANUARY 2018

January brought us our annual in-house auction with just under 250 lots, a mixture of club and member’s lots. Most of the lots went, which made it a very successful auction.
                  DECEMBER 2017

Our Christmas meeting was a great success with 60 members attending. The members enjoyed a free buffet lunch with wine. The festive spirit continued with a raffle, the star prize being a superb hamper. We also had some small displays on view - the local Charity Christmas Post from our Secretary and Christmas Air Mails from Christine Earle RPSL. We rounded the day of with a successful auction.

                    NOVEMBER 2017

We were entertained this afternoon by Simon Richards with his display of Dominica, which is one of the most complete collections of Dominica to be seen today.  Simon started by giving us a history lesson of Dominica. The island was colonised by Europeans, predominantly by the French from the 1690s to 1763. Columbus discovered the island on Sunday, 3 November 1493, and the island's name is derived from the Latin for "Sunday". Great Britain took possession in 1763 after its defeat of France in the Seven Years War and it gradually established English as the official language. The island republic gained independence in 1978.

Simon showed us a superb and comprehensive display of material form the Island starting with the first known letter to England dated 1763. We were shown scarce postmarks, packet/ship letters, essays, master proofs, die proofs and specimens. GB stamps were made available in 1860 and Dominica stamps were first issued in 1874 by De La Rue. In 1886 the 6d and 1/- stamps were overprinted, but the printers got the overprint the wrong way round, hence some rarities were printed before they realised, Simon showed us one of these.

After the break Simon showed six topics each consisting of around fifteen sheets covering George V, Leeward Islands generic stamps of 1890 1903, censored covers, pre-paid letters and cards, postmarks from the villages on the Island and to finish postcards of the Island.

A marvellous and educational afternoon.

                    OCTOBER 2017

The 60 members were thoroughly entertained this afternoon by Chris Harman FRPSL, a renowned philatelist who was elected to the roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2003 and was President of the Royal Philatelic Society (RPSL) in 2005, along with many other distinguished posts. He is also currently Chairman of the RPSL Expert Committee, as well as being a Judge and International Large Gold Exhibitor. After such an introduction, Chris lived up to the billing with a superb display of ‘Modern Postal History 1936 – Decimalisation.’

Chris explained that it was a display that was affordable and you just needed to know what you were looking for. In the first half we saw single and combinations of stamps from different reigns and their usages from KGV, KEVIII, KGVI to QEII. They included inland covers, Air Mail letters, covers abroad, especially a cover to General Franco’s wife.

Chris mentioned a couple of rarities in stamp usage, the Wildings 75d black which was issued on 28 January 1974 and was only in use for 4 days before the postal rates were increased on the 2 February. Chris pointed out some other rarities, such as the Wildings 11d, the KGVI colour change 1d blue and the 1d brown. Chris finished the first half with commemorative stamps on cover.

In the second half we enjoyed viewing covers used abroad with the use of a variety of stamps that included QEII Regionals with Chris pointing out that the Northern Island stamps were hard to find on cover. We also saw covers with Perfin stamps, stamps on telegraph forms, WWII censorship covers, Registered and Express covers, illustrated/advertising covers, stationery and the use of high values with Chris sating that one of his favourites was an oversize Registered Air Mail letter to Argentina from Leatherhead dated 21 July 1942 which had a total £11/11/3d of stamps on the envelope – photo above.

Chris showed what can be done with modern postal history. Perhaps this is a stark reminder to us all who neglect today’s stamps/rates etc., what we could do with a little foresight.

An amazing eye-opener and a wonderful entertaining afternoon, thank you Chris.


                   SEPTEMBER 2017

51 members attended to see and enjoy two displays from members’, Simon McArthur and Barry Feltham. Simon presented a display on aspects of the Third Reich in the first half and Barry Feltham displayed part of his Victorian Postal Stationery Postcards in the second half.

Simon’s started his display with the German State Labour Service known as the Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD. The origins and workings of the organisation were explained with the need to reduce unemployment and then in 1935 service for men and women became compulsory for a 6 month period before the men went into the armed forces.

The display showed with reference to a variety of period postcards, ephemera and covers the impact that the RAD made on German society. The RAD was involved in road building, land reclamation and a variety of civilian tasks prior to the war. Once war broke out the RAD was involved in more military undertakings and its members were armed. The same individual Konstantin Hierl was in charge of the RAD throughout the era of Nazi rule 1939-45 and he maintained the independence of the RAD from the armed forces and then the Home Guard at the end of the war. 

The next part of Simon’s display showed material from the Strength Through Joy (KDF) cruise service that provided subsidised foreign cruises for the ordinary working man. The KDF was part of the German Labour Front and provided an umbrella organisation for all types of leisure in Nazi Germany. 

Over a six year period chartered vessels from the three major German shipping lines took thousands of Germans to the North Sea, Norway, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Simon showed the great variety of Sea Post and Ship Post handstamps and cachets that were used for “on board" mail and provided examples of tickets and other KDF cruise literature of the time. By the late 1930's the German Labour Front was launching ships of its own, the Robert Ley and Wilhelm Gustloff. The display showed the fates of these vessels and the ones that had been chartered in. What followed in the 1939-45 war showed the true nature of the Nazi regime-a nature which the KDF cruise service had helped to conceal.

Barry’s display was a PowerPoint presentation showing the many facets and usages of Victorian postal stationery postcards.

We were shown a postcard with the first day of issue 1st October 1879, exactly one year of the Austrians launched their postcard. The postcard came in many guises from single cards to reply cards, from inland cards to foreign and British Commonwealth cards.

The problem the GPO had with postcards was cancelling them, many methods were tried, and many complaints were received!

We found out about when private postcards were first used, when the first picture postcard came into being, when the public were allowed to use adhesive stamps on cards, and finally some wonderful postcards depicting various companies and their wares.

Displays with such varied subjects made it a fascinating afternoon and fun.

                      AUGUST 2017

50 members attended to hear Graham Booth’s display of Cayman Islands.  He introduced the subject with maps showing the location of the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and explained that they had been discovered by Columbus. 

The postal history of the islands is confused, and the lack of records after several fires does not help. The stamps of Jamaica were used originally and £5 worth were sold in 1899. The first stamps arrived in September 1900, but were not issued until February 1901.

The display began with a pre-stamp cover from 1829, and then some uses of Jamaican stamps in the Caymans (only 26 covers known).  We also saw the first recorded cover using Cayman stamps, dated November 1900.  This was followed by the earliest dated registered cover.

A torrid period followed with stamps being withdrawn and re-emerging with surcharges. These created a great deal of interest from UK philatelists who wanted the stamps, which were eventually sold to the UK in 1908.

The 4d stamp was surcharged 2½d, but only 4 sheets were done. The 4p stamp is much forged, even on otherwise correct covers. 

In 1932 there was a severe hurricane that destroyed stocks of stamps. The canceller was also mislaid. Provisionals were used and manuscript cancels until the canceller was found.

The first part closed with covers showing the long transit time to other West Indies destinations, and censored mail from both WWI and WWII.

The second part began with more censored mail that included a cover allegedly censored in Cayman, but posted in British Honduras.

In WWII the USAF set up a flying boat base for anti-submarine patrols, and Graham showed a cover.  He followed with the only recorded Cayman Pow cover.

Next came a range of Postage Due covers, including Cayman stamps used in Jamaica that were disallowed.

We saw some examples of labels on incoming parcels as well as on outgoing parcels (these are even scarcer) and an underpaid book parcel from Jamaica with Postage Dues.

There was no airmail until 1936, when services from Jamaica could be used. 

Next came a selection of artworks and covers from the 1950s/60s/70s showing bird and orchid issues. Some were signed by the designer, Jane Thatcher.

Finally, we saw a selection of blocks on cover, a reminder that Graham had once collected the stamps and a cover that related to a maritime disaster when ten ships were stranded on one reef.

James Podger gave the vote of thanks. He emphasised how scarce much of Graham’s material is, and he encouraged the audience to enjoy it while the collection is still together. A wonderful and enthralling afternoon.

                        JULY 2017

Reg Dixon was our speaker in July and he entertained us with The Deutsche Nothilfe (German Emergency Aid) welfare organization which was founded in 1923, initially as a fund for national disasters such as floods. Reg won a Large Vermeil for this display so we were eager to see it.

The organisation issued an annual series of postage stamps from 1924 to 1935 with a charitable premium to raise funds.

In the first half Reg displayed the various stamp issues and a series of stamp booklets, which were issued every year from 1925, as well as postal stationery cards from 1927. The booklets provided a great source of philatelic interest because of the printing format, which led to se-tenant and tete-beche combinations, different watermarks, papers, perforations, errors and gumming. We also saw the different colour trials of the stamps

In the second half Reg informed us how the German Emergency Aid was hijacked by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Propaganda and it became the Winter Relief Fund of the German Nation popularly known as WHW, and its slogan was, - ‘Help us to Fight against Hunger and Cold.’ This came about because of the massive unemployment of over 6 million caused by depression and the ensuing widespread poverty, which required the immediate attention of the new Hitler regime. Success in alleviating both was a primary reason why Hitler remained generally popular before the war. 17 million people received assistance from the WHW during the first winter, much it in the form of potatoes and coal.  

Reg showed us the various ways of collecting the money via commercial support, stamps, postal stationery cards, posters, door plaques and souvenir sheets.

It was a fascinating and entertaining afternoon, thank you Reg.

                       JUNE 2017

After our AGM in May, the June meeting comprised a series of Members’ Displays

Barry Stephens showed in two sections. The first covered: Birds of British Southern Africa; The SS Great Britain – a history up to restoration; a range of postmarks.  The second covered Norfolk Island.

Tony Burbidge displayed material from the Saar.  The territory was ceded to France after WWI, and returned to Germany in 1935.  From 1945 to 1957 it was in the French zone of West Germany before being returned to West Germany in 1959 after a two-year transition.

John Jordan showed the village postmarks of Antigua.  He covered the period from use of GB stamps in Antigua up to WWII. And included a cancel from every village. We were treated to a brief and fascinating history of the island and its postal services, and given an explanation for the Morley’ covers that are dated after the Post Office had closed.  He ended with a commercial for his book on Antigua, published by the British West Indies Study Circle.

Denis Littlewort showed material from Portugal, France and Spain from the 1960s.

From Portugal, he showed the Military Uniforms set. From France Paintings and Stained-Glass Windows and from Spain he showed Armorials and Costumes, laid out to form the letters ESPANA.

The second half began with Derek Weston showing the 1951 Festival of Britain, held to celebrate the Centenary of the Great Exhibition. He showed a wide range of material including ephemera and cinderellas.

Michael Cope displayed a splendid collection of Belgian Congo Postal Stationery Postcards.  The picture sides gave a snapshot of colonial fife there just over 100 years ago.  There are four main series of cards and some are overprinted for Ruanda-Urundi.

Finally, Graham Mytton showed Zambia (the former Northern Rhodesia).  He noted that most stamps up to 1990 were designed by Gabriel Ellison.  They decimalised their currency in 1968, and adopted a new unit (the Kwacha) the was equivalent to 10/-.  He related the story of Livingstone and his helpers ‘Susi’ and ‘Chuma’ (both men) who helped to interpret Livingstone’s journals.  The stamps of Zambia shown featured fauna, minerals, semi-precious stones and sunbirds with iridescent plumage.  He noted that he had influenced Stanley Gibbons by proving postal usage of a number of stamps.

                       APRIL 2017

Jean Alexander is probably best known for her wonderful Thematic collection on ‘Waterfalls’ and her fine collection of the 1929 Postal Union Congress issues. However, by special invitation from the Vice-Chairman, she brought her ‘Social Philately’ collection of ‘Supermarket Philately’ to entertain Bookham. And entertain us she certainly did!

This collection, first exhibited at Stampex in 2003, was the first ‘Social Philately’ (now known as Open Philately) exhibit ever shown in this country, and what fun it is…

Jean explained that the Collection almost started by accident when one day in the late 1970’s, she was on her weekly shop when she spotted a tin of Heinz soup with a promotional offer of a GB presentation pack, which you could obtain in exchange for eight soup labels. She quickly snapped up the required number of tins of soup and after stripping off the labels duly sent off for the offered stamps. (It was only later that she realised she now had several tins of something the contents of which she knew not what, and that for some time supper was to be an adventure and surprise, as you never quite knew what you were going to get until the tin was opened!)

From this first promotion, many soon followed, for example Kellogg’s cornflakes offered a FDC, SMASH instant potato promotion was a 50p postal order, whilst Cadbury’s chocolate fingers sent you a free book of stamps; there seems to be quite an interest from many manufacturers to include some form of philatelic material in their promotional offers, and Jean made sure, all during the 1980s and 90s, she never missed one. Even the family pet had to join in as, in exchange for 35 tokens from tins of Kattomeat, you could obtain a free booklet of 1st Class stamps.

The second part of the display concentrated more on special offers and promotions purchased from some of our biggest retail outlets, ASDA, M&S, Boots, WH Smiths, and of course from Royal Mail itself, including special stamp booklets, greetings cards and writing packs, some especially prepared for children. There were even promotional booklets containing ‘scratch covers’ for the 1996 Olympic Games. However, Jean never knew if she had won any of the free prizes on offer, including a free trip to the Games, as she didn’t want to ruin the booklets by ‘scratching’ the cover to reveal the prize!

Not only did Jean show the ‘freebies’ she had obtained, all beautifully mounted and written up, but, and to the delight of the audience, she brought along much of the packaging displaying the original promotional offers, drawing each one from her many ‘shopping baskets’ as she explained each of the promotions, along with many amusing anecdotes!

This was philatelic fun at its best and a delightful collection, the like of which will probably never be able to be repeated as manufacturers’ promotional offers seemed to have almost ceased, certainly in this type of philatelic format.

Derek Weston gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of a very appreciative Bookham Stamp Club audience, and said he, like half of the men present, was left wondering why he hadn’t volunteered to do the weekly shop in his earlier years, and was now rueing his missed opportunities!


                      MARCH 2017

Our speaker in March was Dr Patrick Reid (pictured above) who entertained us with the Postal History, stamps and stationery of Hobart. The first item was an 1828 Newspaper showing the Duty Stamp, a ruse used by the Governor to control criticism levelled at him. A second example in black was revealed to be oxidised red rather than the very scarce black.

He went onto to show the first Hobart undated handstamp; examples of the various Crowned Oval datestamps; examples of the various Crowned Oval datestamps; a town letter that had been re-rated as its delivery address was out of the central area; a few Ship Letters; Examples of the Hobart numeral cancels on cover and a very early Instructional Marking signed by the Hobart Postmaster.

Patrick displayed the One Penny value stamp, which was printed on variations of paper, perforations and printing methods, He also gave us an explanation of the ‘Volcano’ flaw and showed the various states as attempts were made to retouch it.

The next section in the first part was a comprehensive coverage of the Platypus issue used for both Postage and Revenue purposes. He began with original sketches and drawings for the design. These were followed by die proofs and Specimens as well as the issued stamps both mint and used and with varieties. After the decision to overprint the stamps ‘REVENUE’ with a view to invalidation for Postal use, a number of varieties occurred. These included: double and treble over prints and overprint inverted. When Tasmania ran out of 1d revenues, the 3d was overprinted in four different styles.

After the break, the first section was Stationery. He began with the set of 12 illustrated envelopes, both mint and used, the latter believed to be the only complete set in existence. These were followed by the US Fleet Card of 1908, both mint and used and then a range of embossed stationery. Patrick displayed a set of postcards telling the story of the Port Arthur Penal Colony and its transition through settlement to Tourist attraction.

The next section covered letter cards followed by Railway Parcel stamps and Newspaper stamps including those overprinted to avoid Insurance fraud.

Patrick finished with a very unusual item which he brought back from Tasmania - a complete wooden Shell Oil crate but decided to just keep the lid, complete with Parcels stamps. He showed this as his example of use on cover.

A eonderful and enlightening afternoon.

                   FEBRUARY 2017

Richard Stock (pictured above) gave us a fascinating afternoon with the stamps and postal history of Sudan. The first section of the display featured early mail to and from merchants, administrators and explorers including Carl Giegler, James Grant and General Gordon. The cancellations used at Egyptian territorial post offices, Wadi Halfa, Berber, Dongola, Khartoum, Kassala and Massawa were shown together with Interpostal seals and consular mail.

During the campaigns of the 1880’s and 189’s mail services expanded to cater for contingents from Britain, Egypt, Australia, Canada and India. Officers’ and soldiers’ rate covers from each campaign were shown. Items with letters which refer to postal services, particularly the Sandbach correspondence, emphasised the importance of mail to soldiers on active service. Others, signed by Kitchener, Haig and Wingate described military operations.

The second half opened with the famous “Camel Postman” stamps and the unique letter signed by Maj. Gen. Sir Herbert Kitchener, requesting Messrs. De La Rue & Co., to prepare dies and plates for the stamps. Each issue was illustrated by proofs, essays and colour trials from the De La Rue archives to illustrate the development of the design.

The display concluded with material from the De la Rue archives relating to the 1951 pictorial issue; the 1931 ‘Gordon’ and 1950 pictorial airmail issues; the 1935 General Gordon commemoratives; the ‘Gunboat’ postage dues and the ‘Camel Train’ telegraph stamps.

A wonderful and entertaining afternoon, thank you Richard.

                      JANUARY 2017

The Members’ day attended by 58 members in January consisted of a variety of wonderful topics. In the first half we had Barry Brown showing some WW1 silk postcards and postmarks along with his Grandfather’s medals. John Lea was his usual knowledgeable self with a frame on the stamps of the Falkland Island. Following John was Malcom Cole with an extraordinary three frames on the Red Cross from around the world. James Podger brought the first half to a close with his Welsh pre-stamp postal history including a letter from the Battle of Trafalgar.

In the second half we had Michael Lockton showing us some wonderful Devon postal history. Paul Taylor displayed some modern Austrian covers. This was followed with Simon McArthur’s super display of the Hitler Youth. Last but not least was our Vice-Chairman, Christine Earle showing and explaining through PowerPoint the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Photos are in the order of the displays described.

                      DECEMBER 2016

Our Christmas meeting was a great success with 60 members attending. The members enjoyed a free buffet lunch with wine. The festive spirit continued with a raffle, the star prize being a superb hamper. We also had some small displays on view - the local Charity Christmas Post and Christmas Mail. We rounded the day of with a successful auction.

                                               NOVEMBER 2016

Roger Morrell gave a superb PowerPoint presentation at our November meeting entitled – The Salonica Campaign. With the Allied defeats at the Battle of Gallipoli (April 1915 to January 1916) demonstrating the Central Powers' strength, King Ferdinand signed a treaty with Germany and on September 21, 1915 Bulgaria began mobilizing for war. In October 1915 the first British troops landed at the Greek port of Salonika (now Thessaloniki) from Gallipoli and France. The British Salonika Force fought alongside French, Greek, Italian, Russian and Serbian contingents. British and French colonial troops from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Indochina also took part. Until April 1917, the front was relatively quiet. The major effort came in September 1918 as part of all-encompassing allied offensives, which led to the end of hostilities with Bulgaria on 30 September 1918. As well as battle casualties, the conditions were extreme, very hot in the summer, very cold in the winter, many suffered severely from malaria.

Roger showed us various material from newspaper cuttings, postcards, POW’s letters and field postcards from all sides and the different postmarks of the army base camps and mobile Post Offices.

A wonderful entertaining and educational afternoon.


This afternoon we were entertained by Epsom & Ewell Philatelic Society. Robert Mott (pictured above left) displayed the German inflation period of 1923, where there was an incredible 16 increases in postage rates. The cost went from 50 marks to 100,000 million marks in the one year! Robert showed us many covers, some of which had half postage stamps and half paid by cash, which had to be rubber stamped by the postal clerk to clarify that the cash had been paid. Others had overprinted stamps for the required rate. We saw makeshift labels made up by postal clerks that were stuck onto envelopes to denote that the postage had been paid by cash. One cover had 625 x 400 mark stamps folded and attached to it! A truly fascinating period put over with great aplomb by Robert. Several photos of Robert's display are above.

In the second half Anthony McLenland (pictured above bottom right) displayed his collection of GB Queen Victoria stamps starting with the first ever stamp, the penny black. He explained the reasons why the penny red was introduced and the different types of penny reds. We were then introduced to the 2p blue and onto the rest of Queen Victoria stamps ending in the surface printed issues. The first surface-printed stamps were printed using handmade paper, which led to variations in the thickness of paper. During the period between 1855 and 1901, there were a number of design changes, as well as changes in colours and plate numbers, and a total of 10 watermarks were used. The four basic families of Victorian Era surface-printed stamps can be classified under, no corner letters, small white corner letters, large white corner letters, and large coloured corner letters. A confusing but fascinating period for study.


                           SEPTEMBER 2016

This month's speaker was Michael Pitt-Payne (pictured above). He brought along 240 sheets from his Introduction to Postal History collection. The first half of the afternoon featured Great Britain material starting with pre Postal reform items, including a cover from 1830 with a postal charge of 1s 6½d.

On 5th December 1839 a 4d standard letter rate was introduced and Michael showed items from this period and included items from 10th January when uniform 1d postage was introduced to May 6th 1840 with the introduction of the 1d Black.

On the 1st October 1870 the ½d printed rate was introduced and on 20th April 1940 the postage due was bought into use. Michael cleverly used items from all periods and included pre-paid envelopes, post cards and returned mail to illustrate this fascinating story.

After the break Michael displayed covers from the USA to the UK showing how the postage payments were made between the countries.

He went on to show a fascinating collection of letters/postcards from Reginald Bray who tested the Post Office system by posting all ‘Contrary to Regulation’ type material including possibly the first postcard addressed to 'Santa Claus', which came back ‘Insufficiently Addressed!’ A fascinating and educational afternoon.

                      JULY 2016

Gavin Fryer RPSL and RDP (pictured above) a Bookham member gave another exhilarating display continuing with his wonderful collection of GB George VI high values and their usage.

This time we were treated with how the high values were used in war time from 1941 to 1943. Gavin went through the timeline of the war and its events and how the various covers coincided with those events and, how the Post Office coped and adapted to the various transport scenarios.

We saw all kinds of covers and lettercards posted to all parts of the world with their various potage rates, including registered, express, insured and airgraph mail. Gavin also showed us the different sorts of Forces censored mail pointing out that the ones with a blue cross were set aside for further investigation and may never be forwarded.

Above is a mail packet to Australia with a total of £16 of stamps attached, an expensive business.

Gavin showed the different colour changes in the high values brought about by the shortage of ink (dye) from Germany because of the war and therefore, had to be sourced elsewhere. The first colour change was the 2 shilling and sixpence in March 1942.

A great afternoon and Gavin threatens to be back to conclude the George VI high values in the next year or so – can’t wait.


Another Members’ day with another diverse set of displays. We started with Phil Kenton’s incredible set of GB insurance covers from its inception in 1840.

John Jordan displayed stamps issued by some of the countries that declared independence from the Empire.

Next up was David Carr displaying the stamps of the many countries that celebrated the centenary of the first stamp, the Penny Black.

Flowers of Montserrat was Julia Todd’s display and Michael Cope brought an end to the first half with his wonderful PowerPoint display of the Indonesia Revolution from the Dutch.

The second half began with Ian Newton’s (pictured above right) Kuwait display of stamps, original art work and proof trials of Kuwait’s first stamps.

Derek Weston (pictured middle) gave us another intriguing display about Coleman’s Mustard with various covers (in yellow of course) and postcards from 1870.

Graham Mytton (pictured left) finished the afternoon with one of his superb PowerPoint displays. This time on the Ascension Island, where he went to visit with the BBC in 1993. We learnt all about the history of the island and the beautiful landmarks depicted by their stamps and covers.

Another wonderful afternoon where we continue to learn so much about various countries and subjects, it never ceases to amaze people.

                        CHAIRMAN'S AFTERNOON - APRIL 2016

It was unfortunate the Chairman, Ken Willmott was unable to attend the afternoon, but we had a more than capable replacement with fellow member, Tony Burbridge (pictured above) who gave us a speedy and concise history of Germany with his collection of stamps and miniature sheets. The display covered the German States, Weimar Republic, Empire of Germany, the Reich, Federal Germany, West Berlin, Occupied Germany and East Germany. A very educational and pleasant afternoon.

                      MARCH 2016

What a superb afternoon we enjoyed from husband and wife team, Chris and Birthe King. Chris, the immediate past president of the Royal was first up with his PowerPoint presentation of ‘Denmark and the Napoleonic Wars.’

During the wars the conglomerate kingdom of Denmark and Norway were whirled into the global conflict of France and England. After Napoleon’s victory over Russia in summer 1807, France got free hands to force Denmark into the continental system. The plan was to use the Danish fleet to invade England. An English ultimatum regarding the big Danish fleet was presented to Denmark: either to enter into an alliance with England and make the Danish fleet to England’s disposal or surrender the navy for the rest of the war to England as a pledge of Danish neutrality. On the other side Napoleonic troops were waiting at the South borders of Denmark, prepared to invade Schleswig-Holstein and Swedish troops were waiting to invade Norway. A history lesson combined with some wonderful material. Chris displayed letters written by eye witness accounts of the various events covering the period from 1801 to 1818. They included the battle of Copenhagen in 1807. Letters from the Spanish army in 1808. The British Navy from HMS St George and HMS Defence. Censored letters with various handstamps. Napoleonic mail from 1806-1812 and English POW letters and many other treats.

The second half was just as intriguing with the much forgotten, ‘Refugee camps in Denmark 1945-1949.’ From the beginning of 1945 until the end of World War II in Europe, refugees of many nationalities fled to Denmark, mainly Germans, Poles, and Russians, including nationals from the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. At the end of the war, the Allied powers in Germany (Great Britain, France, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R) did not want immediately to accept the return of approximately 250,000 refugees from Denmark. These refugees were spread all over Denmark, and the Danish Government set up a special organization, the Refugee Administration to oversee all aspects of the administration of the refugee camps. Camps for German refugees were administered by the National Civil Defense, while camps for allied refugees or displaced persons were administered by the Danish Red Cross. We saw many letters, postcards, vaccination cards and returned letters written by refugees with different censored handstamps from the various camps throughout Denmark.


Our visiting speakers this afternoon were Stuart Henderson (above left) and Tony Hoad, who both happen to be members. They were down to entertain and they certainly did that.

First up was Stuart with Propaganda Labels of WWII from around the world. He showed us various labels that had various messages depending on whether they were economic, diplomatic, morale boosting, or military. We were treated to some wonderful colourful labels which could be stuck on various items from envelopes, packages, invoices, parcels, and indeed a lot were made into posters to be hung in officers and factories. Most of the labels would now be non-pc with Canada being one of the most patriotic.

The USA churned out millions of anti-war labels until the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Then came, Defence Bonds, Saving Certificates, Buy Victory Bonds etc., and you could collect them all in a War Poster Album.

There were millions of labels issued around the world in WWII but surprisingly there are very few around today.

Tony Hoad first of all displayed the Falkland Islands and its dependencies in the second half. He showed us various stamps and printings, the first being issued in 1933. George Roberts was the designer of many of the stamps from the ½p to £1 which depicted scenes from the islands. He also showed us Madame Joseph forgeries and the 1946 map issue with its many varieties.

Tony also displayed Newfoundland as he was a great admirer of the Caribou stamps, issued in 1919. This was further enhanced when he was a personal guide for the WWI battlefield tours of the Newfoundland Regiment battles. The Newfoundland Regiment has a monument erected at Beaumont-Hamel with a Caribou statue as its symbol. He also displayed various airmail material when Arthur Sullivan set-up Newfoundland Airways in the early 1930s.

              MEMBERS' DAY JANUARY 2016

Steve Paice started the last of our Members’ day for the current season with his display of the Australian 1d. It included examples of States issues used "out of state”, which was allowed after 1910. The Kangaroo and Map issue came about through the newly elected Labour Government, despite not winning the competition held to choose the first Commonwealth stamp. We saw several examples of the Major Varieties of the Letterpress issue of 1914 from the 4 steel plates in use until 1937 with details of their repairs by re-entry, retouch or make-ready.

Our Chairman, Ken Willmott gave a one frame display on butterflies and moths depicted on miniature sheets.

John Lea showed us British Military Administration (BMA) overprints which came about through an emergency printing at the end of WW11. The printings were carried out in GB and Australia.

Michael Lockton finished the first half with a superb two frame display on the introduction of the Mulready, with various examples, rare and expensive (see above pictures.)

The second half kicked off with a PowerPoint presentation from Michael Cope on the history of the European Union. Michael informed us of the various stages when members joined and the various treaties signed. All commemorated by stamps from the various European countries.

Graham Mytton was up next with another PowerPoint presentation on his beloved Africa and showed us various covers from around the islands of Africa.

Lastly, Derek Weston displayed the various uses of old labels from saving cards, railways, and stores to utilities.

A wonderful diverse and entertaining afternoon.

Pictures of the members at the top are in order of the displays.



Today we were entertained by the Surrey Postal History Group (SPHG) with several displays from various members, five of which, also happen to be Bookham members. (left to right in the above picture: Phil Kenton, Patrick Awcock, Michael Miller, Graham Mytton, Tony Merson, Roger Vaughan in front of Michael.)

Graham Mytton stared the ball rolling with a history of Coldharbour, which is where Graham lives. His house was the former Post Office and was owned by the Roffey family. The PO opened in 1852 and made its farewell in another location in 1996.

Phil Kenton gave us a run through of Surrey Postal History from Esher, to Dorking, Cobham and Guildford. Phil also showed Derek Weston’s collection of Chertsey covers as Derek was unable to attend.

The first half finished with Michael Miller’s collection of part Surrey, formerly Arthur Moyles collection, who sadly died a few years ago. Arthur was one of the stalwarts of the SPHG and collected almost everything connected to Surrey PH. Michael showed us a postcard from Reginald Bray who used to cycle around Surrey and send postcards to well-known people of the area and asked them to autograph it, and then send it back to him for his collection. A book has been written about Reginald Bray, ‘The Man Who Posted Himself,’ by John Tingey.

The second half started with covers showing various postal marks of Godalming, along with some local Post Office strike covers from 1971. We also saw the local Godalming Chrsitmas Scout and Girl Guide covers complete with unofficial stamps, all displayed by Michael Miller.

Tony Merson then showed a mixture of postal marks on covers from Godstone.

We finished the afternoon with Patrick Awcock’s Parcel Post in Surrey. One highlight was the hi-jacking of stolen mail in the 1970s, which was on its way from London to Reigate. Patrick showed us some covers that were recovered from the hi-jacking along with the Post Office letters of explanation for the delay in the mail.

OCTOBER 2015 - A rare occasion when three of our members displayed at Camberley Stamp Club in October. David Bravery displayed ‘Bay of Cattaro.’ Ken Willmott, our Chairman displayed his wonderful ‘Butterflies and Moths’ and Graham Mytton showed his collection of ‘Recent Africa Postal History’.


54 members were entertained in October by Iain Stevenson with an enthralling display entitled Thurn & Taxis. The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis is a German noble family that was a key player in the postal services in Europe in the 16th century and is well known as owners of breweries and builders of many castles.

The private postal service was granted to the family by the Holy Emperor in 1517 to deliver post to the Roman Empire. They paid a large sum of money called “The Farm” to the Holy Emperor for the privilege. They had a monopoly and delivered the post to most of Europe.

Iain showed a letter dated 1588 with a wax seal which were the norm in those days as postmarks did not materialise until 1650.

At its height Iain informed us that Turn & Taxis employed 20,000 people and had 40,000 horses.

On display were some wonderful letters with fine calligraphy from Louis VI and George II, dated 1754 (see photos above.)

Turn & Taxis were the first with postal markings with their T&T mark along with attractive markings and date stamps. They were also the first with a Registered Letter in the 1840s.

We were shown other paraphernalia such as a coach ticket, lottery ticket run by Turn & Taxis, along with postal money orders.

Eventually Turn & Taxis came to an end in 1867 after 500 tears of delivering post when the Prussians marched into Frankfurt and decided that they will take over the running of the post but in recompense the family received 3 million Thalers. Thalers in where the word dollar comes from.

The current head of the house of Thurn and Taxis is HSH Albert II 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, son of Johannes and his wife, Gloria. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany. The family has resided in St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg since 1748. The family's brewery was sold in 1996, but still produces beer under the brand of Thurn und Taxis.

A fascinating afternoon.


            MEMBERS' DAY SEPTEMBER 2015

September was our third Member’s day this year.

Our Vice Chairman, Christine Earle kicked off proceedings with Australia’s first definitive issue of KGVI showing different printings and usages commonly known as the ‘Zoo’ series.

We were very happy to have a new member join us, James Podger, and was delighted that he was able to display. He showed us the ‘Massey Correspondence’ that is various postcards and letters from 1908 to 1913 from the Far East. James also showed us various stamps and covers from the Cayman Islands, which is his main collecting area. We were shown the first air mail cover from the islands to Jamaica, only five are known to exist and James has two of them! Cruise ships are often arriving in the Caymans but one in particular had not been recorded, the Arandora, a mystery that still exists today.

Next up was David Bravery who displayed ‘Propaganda postcards of Franz Joseph mainly from the French and Italians in WWI.

In the second half, Graham Mytton gave a nice tribute to one of our former member and ex-chairman, John Ager, who sadly died 2 years ago. Graham showed some of his collection, other than Switzerland, which was John's main interest. John also helped Graham raise money for Save the Children’s Fund, in all £27,000 has been raised so far.  He then went on to show some butterflies as a complement to our Chairman of today, Ken Willmott. Ken has written a book on Surrey butterflies. Graham finished by showing various U.N Mail coming into the BBC over the many years where he worked from 1982-1998 running the department of the BBC World Service. Graham handled all the letters that arrived.

Dennis Littlewort displayed KGVI different printings, plate flaws and variations on the Nyasaland 5 shilling stamp.

John Dicker showed us KGVI stamps with different printing and dies, as well as some rarities that were never issued from the Malaya Strait Settlements and the British Military Administration (BMA).

Julian Walker displayed some covers with gold and silver coins of the marriage between HRH Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton.

Paul Taylor showed various monetary values of Austria during the period between 1918 and 1922.

Roy Gilbert came up with some very odd meter marks on covers. One being Kingston upon Jamas, which of course should have been Kingston upon Thames.


          Tony Hickey - Anschluss

We were entertained by Tony Hickey in July with his superb history of Anschluss - meaning “union,” which was the movement for the union of Germany and Austria. A fascinating period of European history told through a variety of material from covers, stamps, photos, medals to propaganda postcards issued by both Germany and Austria.

Albeit the concept of Anschluss was foundered in 1866, the move towards Anschluss gained momentum after the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918. The victorious Allies set up a series of Treaties to determine the fate of their former enemies, including the Versailies treaty. However, it paid scant attention to the aspirations of the newly created land-locked rump state of Austria. The 1st Republic was once described as “crippled from birth,” hence the desire for union with Germany was strong.

             MEMBERS' DAY - JUNE 2015

Tony Burbidge gave us part 2 of the island of St Vincent showing us more interesting variations with the early stamps. He informed us that there are 25 Post Offices in St Vincent and he displayed some of these postmarks, along with some Postal Stationery, introduced in 1882.

Derek Weston showed us imperfect stamps of George VI outlining all the various production problems they had from stains, doctor blade flaws, perforations, double thickness of paper, to official repairs which are very rare.

Ken Willmott, our newly elected Chairman displayed one frame of Orchids. A passion he picked up from a dear friend and mentor of his. We learned that British orchids grew from the ground up and tropical orchids hang down from trees. The rarest of British orchids is the Ghost orchid which is pollinated by moths at night and was thought to be extinct but was found recently in Wales.

David Carr showed us stamps from the former countries of South Africa before it became the Republic of South Africa.

Phil Kenton displayed incoming GB Express mail, which was first introduced in 1891. He stated that it was first introduced at a cost of 3d and steadily increased over the years to 1 shilling. At the end of 1980 when Express Mail was renamed Swift Air it shot up to £1. We saw various express covers from 1898 to 1980.

Graham Mytton displayed his father’s collection of birds from Australia and New Zealand. His father was a great stamp collector and worked in the Post Office. His father’s wish was that it should be sold for charity, so Graham was showing it for the last time before fulfilling his father’s wish.

Roy Gilbert was next up with a miscellany of GB Postage Dues on various covers and postcards, showing us why they received a postage due.

Tony Merson gave us French Army Post, all about the Battle of Waterloo. He displayed various documents, postcards, correspondence, passes, coins and pictures, giving us a flavour of the battle of Waterloo.

       The Chairman's Display - April 2015

At April’s meeting the club members were treated to two very special presentations by the Chairman. The first half of the display was titled “Extracts from a War Diary 1939 1945”. This display had been awarded an Internationl Gold medal in the Thematic Class in both London and Sydney, Australia so we knew we were in for a treat! The display had been written up (as the title suggests) in the form of a diary during WWII in the British Isles, appealing to philatelists and non-philatelists alike, and contained a wonderfully wide range of material much of it bringing back childhood memories of rationing, food shortages, censorship etc. It was a fantastic mixture of stamps, postcards, prisoner of war mail and other evocative postage and ephemera often elaborating on the roles played by women during the conflict. The slow demise of the traditional Post Office telegrams for births, weddings, anniversaries and funerals into one “catch all” document to save paper and printing was just one wartime action that few members were aware of. Emphasis was made on the thought process and planning behind the development of the display and the novel ways that Christine had come up with to exhibit the material to best effect, including the use on A3 presentation sheets rather than the normal use of A4.  The presentation was considerably enhanced by a most professional and polished power point presentation backed up with beautifully annotated sheets for members to enjoy. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this very special display was that it amply demonstrated that vast amounts of money do not need to be spent to build up a Gold Medal winning competition entry. Many of Christine’s items were undoubtedly unique and scarce – but not necessarily hugely expensive.

The second half of the chairman’s presentation was titled “Post War Britain” and comprised, amongst other material, a superb range of slogan postmarks used in the immediate post war period stretching up to “the swinging sixties”. Christine insisted that this was not a competition entry but “a bit of fun”. Be that as it may it was a wonderful display that would grace the “Open Category” in any competition. The main theme of the presentation was the intriguing range of slogan postmarks used in the post war austerity period. They included first and last days of usage for the Dig for Victory slogans, the Victory celebrations for the end of the war in Europe and the Far East, the Royal Wedding, Olympic Games, Festival of Britain and others. Christine also showed slogans from the government; pleading to save bread, volunteer for the forces, and save waste paper! Perhaps the most interesting aspect of it all was the political agenda behind these pleadings which had all been so well researched by Christine. Again, all enhanced with a very slick power point presentation and wonderfully written up sheets.

It was a truly memorable, inspiring and thought provoking afternoon when many members realised that they too had the potential to do something similar with the material that they had “laying around” in old stock books and in boxes under the bed! Looking through dealer’s £1 cover and ephemera boxes will never be the same again! A truly memorable afternoon.


Long time member and eminent philatelist Gavin Fryer has often given presentations at Bookham and they are always memorable and original. Last time his topic was “Holes” in a presentation that was both serious and amusing. At the March meeting Gavin told the story of the three successive Empire Air Mail schemes that began in the late 1930s to provide for subsidised air mail first to East and South Africa, then to India and the Far East and finally to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. The scheme came to an end at the outbreak of WW2 in 1939. Before this, air mail letters cost only 1½d and post cards 1d, in what was a subsidised service linking up more than half the Empire. After the scheme ended, prices for all mail were steeply increased.

The first part of Gavin’s display featured the short period the scheme was in operation with examples of mail connecting the UK to many parts of the Empire to the East and South. The display also included contemporary ephemera such as the GPO publicity posters, and copies of the various Government White Papers and Gazette notices. The second half was of the period at the beginning of the War when airmail often cost many pounds to send. One item on show carried more than £6 worth of stamps. At this time stamps up to the value of 10 shillings were available and many heavier items had to carry multiples of shilling, half crown, five and ten shilling stamps. £6 spent in 1939 in today’s money?  £352! Even with the very high prices charged by Royal Mail today, this is very much more. Today a 2kg parcel to New Zealand would set you back only £30.

Gavin’s presentation reminded us of just how important airmail quickly became as soon as it began in the inter-war period. Whereas it could take months for mail to go to distant places, airmail made the world seem a lot smaller. In today’s world of instant and very low cost communications it is easy to forget just how revolutionary airmail was. Making international phone calls was difficult, tedious and very expensive. Telegrams were OK for very short messages but also expensive. Low cost airmail made huge changes to people’s lives and the entire world economy.


           Barry Feltham -  The Apollo Story

On the afternoon of 24 February 2015, 64 members were treated to an eclectic and enthralling display from our Secretary, Barry Feltham. Using the most up to date presentation skills, including videos, audio, scans, etc., all embedded into a breath-taking PowerPoint presentation and accompanied by some 200 sheets of outstanding philatelic material in the display frames, Barry delighted us with the, perhaps now half forgotten, story of the USAs space quest to land a man on the moon during the decade of the 1960’s. Click on a picture above to see part of the display.

Members arriving for the afternoon meeting were greeted with a video introduction of the forthcoming show. A great idea that really set the scene for the story that unfolded under Barry’s skilful and entertaining commentary.

And so, once everybody was seated and the meeting’s prelimery business dealt with, the show began…

Through the medium of an old newsreel video, the presentation began with President John F Kennedy's speech proposing, in an address to Congress on May 25 1961, his goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s. At the time this was a preposterous statement as none of the technical details had been thought of let alone tested!

But… the race was on!   

Named Apollo, the program ran from 1961 to 1972, and was supported by the two-man Gemini program which ran concurrently with it from 1962 to 1966. Gemini missions developed some of the space travel techniques that were necessary for the success of the Apollo missions and Apollo used the huge Saturn V rocket as a launch vehicle.

Through dramatic and sometime quite poignant footage and commentary, we were transported through ten space missions, including the tragic 1967 Apollo 1 cabin fire that killed the entire crew during a pre-launch test. Despite this setback, Apollo 11, finally succeeded in achieving its goal of a manned lunar landing when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their lunar module, Eagle on July 20 1969, and walked on the lunar surface, with Armstrong declaring the now famous statement, “One small step for man; One giant leap for mankind."

After the first landing, there was sufficient flight hardware for nine follow-up landings with an ambitious plan for extended lunar exploration. However, budget cuts and a lack of interest from the American population forced the cancellation of three of these and the programme finished with Apollo 17.

As mentioned above, the PowerPoint presentation was accompanied by 200+ beautifully annotated sheets containing outstanding philatelic material, autographs, photographs, drawings, etc many were of world-class quality and rarity. A fantastic collection in its own right, but coupled with the PowerPoint presentation and delivery from Barry, it was one of the most outstanding philatelic displays I have ever witnessed. A wonderful afternoon, a true delight!

C.A Earle FRPSL - Chairman

            MEMBERS' DAY - JANUARY 2015

Tony Burbidge kicked off the afternoon with an interesting introduction to the early geographical history of the island of St Vincent, part of the Windward Isles. He then presented the Postal history of the Island including a copy of the rare Fleuron type postmark on cover, before going on to explain the various early printings, perforations, watermarks etc., of the original Perkins Bacon issues. He ended his fine display with a full and detailed presentation of the De la Rue issues. It was a delight to see this material, and many members remarked on the excellent condition of the items on display.  

Julie Webb was next up and despite some early misgivings (this was her first ever presentation to an audience, albeit a very friendly one) Julie gave us an excellent presentation on the stamps & coins of the Lundy Isles (often referred to as the Puffin Isles). After a brief overview of the history of the independent postal system of Lundy, instigated in 1925 by Martin Coles Harmen, Julie then went on to give us a very informed report on the plight of the Puffin itself. We learned that from a breeding colony of some 3,000 pairs, first reported in 1939, the introduction of the brown rat to the island reduced the Puffin population to the almost extinct state of only 5 pairs. However, she explained by exterminating the rats, the colony seems to be in recovery, albeit slowly, with 16 pairs recorded in 2010 and 80 individual birds recorded in 2013.

The Vice-Chairman, Ken Willmott closed the first half with a display of the not so lucky Monarch butterfly, whose numbers are in desperate decline mostly due to the deforestation of its overwintering habitat in Mexico. Ken gave us a very interesting overview of the migratory habits of this beautiful species, which annually fly thousands of miles from North America (Canada) to the southern climes of Mexico. He displayed some of the amazing material he has in his collection, both of a philatelic and non-philatelic nature including a delightful FDC from Canada depicting several (all female, he noted) Monarchs and her caterpillars. On a brighter note he pointed out a cover and stamps produced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWW) depicting the lifecycle of the Monarch, which were sold in aid of the WWW and to help with their work in saving this magnificent species from extinction.    

David Bravery opened the second half of the afternoon with an outstanding display of stamps, postcards, postmarks, and ephemera of the Bay of Cattaro, a little known southern extremity of the Austrian Empire. Concentrating on the history of the area, David’s talk was fascinating in his presentation of little known facts; for example many in the audience were surprised that Austria, an entirely land-locked area, maintained a very large and successful Navy, based on the Adriatic, and from 1850 Cattarro was a Military Harbour. It was also a popular holiday resort as portrayed in many of the delightful pictorial postcards on display. On a darker side, Cattarro was used as an important submarine base during WW1, with its easy access to the Mediterranean making it the ideal venue. David explained that mail from these submarines was very difficult to obtain, but some of the letters and cards in his collection gave excellent contemporary accounts of the hardships and deprivations these mariners had to endure. Not only a fine collection the philatelic elements, but also with David’s informed and entertaining narration, a wonderful account of social history of the time.

Julia Todd followed on in much the same vein in that she gave us a very entertaining thematic overview of the Island of Monserrat, a Caribbean island forming part of the Leeward Islands. Starting with early geographical history and the native bow hunting Caribs (from whom the area was officially named), Julia gave us an interesting tour of this beautiful but unlucky island. Recently plagued by two major disasters, the first in 1989 being the devastating Hurricane ‘Hugo’, and then followed by the even more disastrous Volcano eruption in 1995, which left almost two thirds of the island lying under many feet of volcanic dust. Julia explained how the postage stamps and philatelic items of the Island formed vital revenue for this blighted area. She pointed out some of the stamps that had been overprinted with a surcharge in aid of the ongoing relief work, to try to rehabilitate and regenerate the island.

John Lea took the afternoon’s opportunity to re-acquaint many of us with the once familiar stamps, often sold in packets from outlets such as Smith’s and corner shop retailers, to furnish the pages of many schoolboy albums and collections. These stamps, although often crudely produced, were usually made up from some 3-4 designs covering some 15 or so values. Forming a substantial part of the French Colonies issues from the late 19th and early 20th century, many of the Colonies had an interesting political history during WW2, including those issued for French Oceana (now more familiarly known as French Polynesia covering and area between Australia and South America). Torn between the German influenced Vichy Government of Petain and the Free French Government of the exiled General De Gaulle, French Oceana opted to support De Gaulle, and their stamps of the era reflect this decision. John never fails to surprise with his in-depth knowledge in so many philatelic areas and this fascinating display was of no exception.

Michael Lockton rounded off a wonderful afternoon, treating us to the background and development of the introduction and implementation of GB ‘Compulsory Registration’. He informed us that although Registration of valuable items had been in force since 1841, it was not until 1863, under the recommendation of Rowland Hill, that Compulsory Registration ie. items posted out of course, would be surcharged. Michael went on to explain the three reasons when this charge would be incurred: 1) When Registration had been noted on the cover, but not paid for. 2) When two blue lines forming a cross had been drawn on the cover, but again no fee paid. And 3) when the letter contained coins (often referred to as coin letters). Many examples of these instances were included in the display, many with the surcharge collected using Postage Due stamps and a label on the reverse indicating why the charge had been incurred. As we have come to expect from Michael, this was a well informed and illustrated presentation which covered an area often neglected and even sometimes misunderstood by many collectors.

Steve Paice did an excellent job introducing the exhibitors and generally keeping the afternoon’s proceedings on time.


The Christmas meeting had over 70 members attending. As usual, the members enjoyed a superb free buffet lunch with wine - all for £5 annual membership - we must be mad! Enjoy it they did buying lots of raffle tickets, with the star prize being a wonderful hamper. The day was a great success and got everybody in to the Christmas spirit, especially David Baker pictured above left.

   Brian Trotter - Aspects of South Africa & Borneo

                        November 2014

This afternoon we were entertained by the immediate past President of the Royal Philatelic Society, Brain Trotter (FRPSL) who displayed a wonderful collection of South African and Borneo material. Brian started with a fascinating history of the Cape of Good Hope. He mentioned that countries were reluctant to colonise the Cape as it was such a dangerous stretch of water, but eventually the Dutch found their way there in 1652. The Cape became a very important part of the trading route and changed hands between the Dutch and the British over a number of years, finally becoming British until it became the Union of South Africa in 1910 (now known as the Republic of South Africa). Brian showed us a variety of covers with many different rates, as confusion reigned over the postal rates. To send a letter in the 1870s was extremely expensive but eventually postal reform did come about by weight and a uniform 4d penny rate was established. With new territories being formed, such as, Bechuanaland, Orange Free State, Stellaland, Transvaal, Natalia, led to more confusion on postal rates, as the local mail seemed to be sent by Dutch currency and international mail by British currency. In 1873 with the introduction of the famous triangular Cape stamps, eventually rates did become uniform. Brian also showed the De La Rue perforated postage due stamps and their various die proofs, art work and plates. South Africa eventually took over the printing of the postage due stamps in the 1920s. These stamps were rouletted, not perforated which culminated in many errors.

In the second half Brian showed aspects of Borneo which was a very different scenario to the turmoil of the Cape. This was a tranquil tropical place where nothing really happened until the Japanese invaded in 1941.

The Sultanate of Brunei granted large parts of land in Sarawak in 1842 to the English adventurer James Brooke, as reward for his having helped quell a local rebellion. Brooke established the Kingdom of Sarawak and was recognised as its rajah after paying a fee to the Sultanate. He established a monarchy, and the Brooke dynasty (through his nephew and great-nephew) ruled Sarawak for 100 years; the leaders were known as the White Rajahs. In the early 19th century, British and Dutch governments signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to exchange trading ports under their controls and assert spheres of influence. This resulted in indirectly establishing British-and Dutch-controlled areas in Borneo, in the north and south, respectively. We were treated with a variety of mail starting with a re-directed letter from 1846. We saw a collection of different handstamps for censored mail during WWII, together with the introduction of War Tax on stamps, overprints, and a wonderful sample collection of Philip Funk Chinese postcards which were printed in the early 1900s.

Brian also showed us Borneo stamps that were overprinted for use in Labuan. Labuan is a federal Territory off the coast of Borneo in East Malaysia.

An educational and intriguing afternoon.

                 Members' Day - October 2014

October was another Members’ Day where our members displayed all manner of topics. Brian Sedgley kicked off with Egyptian Post Offices in the Mediterranean with the appropriate postcards to match. Paul Taylor, a committed Austrian collector, gave us how Austria changed to Euro stamps. Phil Kenton showed us GB Special Delivery mail from its beginning in July 1980 to its end in October 1990. It was superseded by Guaranteed Special Delivery. John Lea showed us what can be done with recent purchases, a miscellany of covers, along with their various rates. David Carr gave us the history of the GB penny stamp, and finally in the first half, Michael Lockton gave a wonderful one frame display on Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was a fund established in 1704 for the organisation of the incomes of the poorer clergy in Cardigan, Wales. He showed a variety of entires in the 18th century, the earliest being 1744. The entires went by horseback (pre-dating the stagecoach) and took 7 days to arrive in London from Cardigan where they were stamped with London’s special Bishop Marks.

The second half was given a great start with Graham Mytton’s PowerPoint display of old BBC covers. Graham tells us that at its height the BBC received 650,000 letters a year, now sadly, it is but a few, because of the internet age/emails. Graham showed a few covers from China, Japan, Middle East and Africa. Some had dubious addresses but somehow got to the BBC such as, The Voice of England! John Dicker, an avid George VI collector, displayed some flaws on the Commonwealth GVI stamps and showed the difference in prices from an ordinary stamp to one that had a flaw.  Julia Todd gave us an insight into Seals. Derek Weston showed us posterstamps, or cinderella’s from WWII which were sold for various causes to raise money. Tamsin Dungey gave another of her unique informative displays sorting out different printings, especially relevant for the complicated GB Seahorse stamps. A varied and enjoyable afternoon.

Ann & Brian Asquith (pictured above) - Girl Guides & Ethiopian Air Mails                                 September 2014

In September we were treated to a double bill from husband and wife team, Ann and Brian Asquith. Ann started with her display on the Girl Guides. Ann was County Commissioner for Greater London West for many years, but has now retired.

Ann gave us a potted history of the Guides showing us various material from stamp sheets, medals, photos, covers and documents.  Ann mentioned that it all started back in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell held a camp for boys at Brownsea Island in Dorset to test his Scouting ideas and from there, Scouting was born. In 1909, Girls 'gate crashed' the first Boy Scout Rally at Crystal Palace, attracting the attention of Baden-Powell. They asked him to offer 'something for girls too,’ hence the Girl Guides Association was formed - a separate organisation for girls - led by Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's sister in 1910. In 1918, Olave Baden-Powell (Robert Baden-Powell's wife) was appointed Chief Guide. Incredibly, both Robert Baden-Powell and his wife, Olave share the same birthday, 22 February, which became World Thinking Day - a day when members of Guide organisations belonging to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) think about each other. We were left with the thought that the Girl Guides is in 150 different countries and is the biggest female organization in the world.

Husband Brian, gave us a fascinating display on ‘Ethiopian Air Mails.’ Brian became interested in planes when he was a small boy in 1935. He joined the RAF and became a radio operator on a Lancaster bomber in 1952-53, using the same radio equipment that was used during the war.

Brian showed us the first air mail cover for the first flight (supposedly) from Ethiopia which was dated 24 August 1929, unfortunately the plane did not turn up, and so, the cover went by train instead! The first official flight, and proper air mail service started on the 26 September 1929 and was piloted by a Frenchman. Brian continued to show us various covers and overprints throughout the years that included the turmoil of the Italian invasion, and also the British who dropped leaflets in 1941 and subsequently became the liberators of the country.

Iceland by Barry Brown - July 2014

In July, member Barry Brown gave his first ever display on the subject of Iceland.

Barry started with the oldest set of stamps printed in March 1870 when the Danish Post Office opened in Iceland. The first Icelandic stamps were printed three years later in 1873, and the first minisheet was printed in 1937. He showed us the different varieties of stamps over the years with types of overprints, watermarks and paper types whilst pointing out that the stamps depicted different aspects of life in Iceland.

He also showed us aerogrammes, letter cards, postcards, some ‘Active Service Covers,’ one with the original letter from WWII addressed to his wife (My precious old dear) in Kent in 1944. We were shown many pieces of ephemera, including old and new Icelandic money, and a piece of volcanic rock.

We were informed that Iceland is a stunningly beautiful place if you enjoy strange and desolate landscapes, referring of course to its many volcanoes and geysers. Because it is so close to the Arctic Circle, the amount of daylight varies dramatically by season. The sun sets briefly each night in June, but it doesn't get fully dark before it comes back up again. The midnight sun is a beautiful sight and one definitely not to be missed.

Some more facts:

We learnt that a new island was formed in southernmost point of Iceland called Surtsey in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967. With many thermal geysers around, some parts of the island have main pipes flowing from the geyser to their houses, providing them with a hot water system. Iceland has one of, if not the oldest, parliament (The Althing) in the world; it was formed in 930 by Vikings.

All the facts mentioned above were depicted on the many stamps Barry displayed.

Thank you Barry for an informative afternoon which was much appreciated by the members.

The Chairman's Display - June 2014

The Chairman (pictured above with a 'bottle or champagne,' presented to her by the immediate past Chairman, Graham Mytton, after her display of course!) gave two displays, one on ‘Airgraphs’ dedicated to our late Trading Secretary, and the other on the ‘Centenary of the First Adhesive Postage Stamps’ dedicated to former member, Bill Larkin who died last year.

The chairman told us the story of Airgraphs in the first half by way of a PowerPoint presentation through some wonderful old Post Office photos. She also displayed the various forms and topical Airgraphs during the WW11.

The idea of Airgraphs was to get rid of ordinary mail, which was bulky and costly to move during the war. So, the GPO introduced the Airgraph Service for messages between servicemen and civilians. The message was written onto a special form that was then given an identification number and photographed onto microfilm.

The microfilm was flown to its destination, developed into a full size print, and posted to the recipient. Sending 1600 airgraphs on microfilm weighed just 5oz compared to 50lbs for the same number of letters. Copies of the microfilm were kept so that if they were shot down the messages could be resent.

The first Airgraph was sent from the Queen to the Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East.

The airgraph service from Britain to the Middle East began in 1941 and gradually extended to other war zones. The service ended on 31 July 1945. During these four years 135,224,250 Airgraphs were sent.

The second part of the Chairman’s display, again told through a PowerPoint presentation was the story of how we celebrated the ‘Centenary of the First Adhesive Postage Stamp.’ The first adhesive stamp, the ‘Penny Black’ appeared on 6 May 1840; a century later the Chairman showed us the various usages of the stamps issued to celebrate the occasion, and the various Post Office souvenir sheets from the three Centenary exhibitions, London, Bournemouth and Brighton. The Post Office also produced, what would have been the first minutiae sheet, but it was never used. Other countries also celebrated the Centenary, including our enemy at the time, Germany!

                Members' Day - April 2014

The Members’ Day brought a vast array of different topics as usual. First up, we had David Carr’s display on ‘Royal Mail’ that showed a mixture of different postmark cancellations and markings, including the dreaded biro. David showed a couple of covers that went through the post which had a 24p forged Machin, and another with a Poached Egg stamp (a trial stamp/label for coil dispensing machines). He finished with a variety of labels over the years from Registered to Air Mail. David is pictured top left.

John Dicker (pictured top second from left) showed a variety of printings, papers, shades, overprints, and errors on stamps from the Falkland Islands and its dependencies.

John Lee (pictured top third from left) gave us a fascinating insight into the postal history of the Falkland Islands just before and after the Argentinians invaded showing us covers that were sent before and after, which carried interesting ways of how the argentines handled the post with the obliteration of the Falkland Islands and replacing it with the Islas Malvinas.

Michael Miller (pictured top right) displayed some of his local collection of Surrey, especially Cranleigh. Cranleigh is Michael’s home town so he was able to show us some of its postal history on covers sent, or received by the local dignitaries of the time. We were able to see the different cancellations used – duplex postmarks, temporary rubber postmarks, dated double and single circle postmarks, from the middle of the 1800s to the middle of the 1900s. He also pointed out that Cranleigh had a railway station for the best part of 100 years from 1865 until the Beecham report deprived them. Michael also showed us some of the local post offices that are sadly closed from Abinger Hammer to Albury Heath, Holbury St Mary, and Coldharbour, which is where our past Chairman lives. And finally, we were treated with a little bit of history of the Postbus from Coldharbour which started in the 1960s to replace a rapidly declining local bus and rail service.

Roy Gilbert started the second half with a variety of ‘Postage Dues’ showing some interesting covers and postcards and the reasons why they attracted a postage due stamp.

We had some more Surrey local history from Roger Vaughan (pictured bottom left), but the theme was on the ‘Registered Post,’ which came into being in the 1830s. Roger displayed a variety of registered covers including the earliest, an 1889 Epsom cover. He also showed us a rare first day of operation of the registered post at Surrey University, which came into being in 1977.

Robert Prentice (pictured bottom middle) gave us a short history of Newfoundland, which is not surprising as he has family connections. He tells us that Newfoundland is the size of England and Wales put together with a population of about 600,000. Robert displayed Newfoundland’s first issue of stamps in 1857, printed by Perkins Bacon, along with the different type of papers, plus some forgeries. Perkins Bacon continued to print their stamps until 1865.

Lastly we had our past Chairman, Graham Mytton (pictured bottom right). He displayed a Hungarian collection from the pre-postal era, 1840 to 1945.This was a collection that Graham put together from the ‘Bryant’ collection that was donated to ‘Save the Children Fund.’ Graham is hoping that someone will buy the collection as a whole, so that the money will go towards the charity. Graham has been a great advocate of ‘Save the Children Fund’ charity, as he does every month with covers and stamps that he sells at the Club, and hopes to raise a sizeable amount from this collection and others that have been recently been donated.


In March we were superbly entertained with Colin Mount’s ‘Pig in the Post’ display, Having been in the pig business for 44 years, Colin’s knowledge was extensive, comprehensive and great fun with a few anecdotes and stories of place names and sayings like - ‘Pig in the poke’ - ‘Pigs can fly’ - ‘Piggy bank,’ etc.

The history of the pig goes back to prehistoric times, but it was the Chinese 5000 year ago, who first domesticated pigs, and the first to taste roast pork! The story goes that after one of the farmer’s sons accidentally burnt down a building with a pig inside, the son prodded the pig after the fire. It was so hot that he put his fingers in his mouth to cool them down, and discovered his fingers to be so tasty he prodded the pig again and again to get more of the wonderful taste, hence we have roast pork!

We heard why Cumberland sausages were bigger than any other sausages. This was because the hooks that they used to hang their sausages on by the fire were pulled down by the pet dog!!

Colin mentioned that the pig’s heart, colon, valves, have the same dimensions as humans, hence the early transplants from a pig to a human.

We learnt why they put rings in pig’s noses. What sort of cuts there are of a pig. How they hunt for truffles. Different breeds of pigs. Colin told us about wartime propaganda using a picture of a pig. Colin demonstrated this by folding an A4 piece of paper with the picture of four pigs on it, with the end result, a picture of Hitler. We learnt how Bath, supposedly got its name. How Hampshire Hog came by its name. How some people back in the 19th century used the pig as an anti-royalist campaign. We also learnt about swine fever. He produced Postcards, Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Valentine cards with pigs as the central topic.

All the above and more topics of the pig were produced on covers, stamps, drawings, cards, pictures, posters, in fact anything that was connected with pigs. He also brought along tusks from a boar, and a pig iron – he knew it was a pig iron because it was made in the USA by Bacon Press!!!


Gavin Fryer’s presentation had an unlikely title - Collecting Holes – and he used the term rather widely. Many stamp collectors study holes – the perforations of many stamps show variations, especially in earlier days, and for some these are a constant source of interest. For others, they are less interesting then the design of the stamps or the way that they are used. But for Gavin, exploring holes is obviously something of a passion and we were very soon intrigued by and shared his focus and interest.

There are some intriguing almost philosophical considerations. A hole is the absence of something. (Can stamps really be said to have a missing hole?) In most cases with stamps, holes signify the absence of a small part or parts of the paper on which they are printed. Rather dull you might think, but there’s more to holes in stamps than mere perforations, interesting though these can be.

Holes have been used to cancel stamps, and the contrary. Gavin showed us some examples of both, the latter being when some stamps were deemed invalid without the holes! We encountered again the word “chad” perhaps for the first time since many of us learned that word back in the US presidential elections of 2000 when many Florida voters used punched card ballots. But some were incompletely punched resulting in incomplete holes or hanging chads where one or more, what were supposed to be hole, were still not in holes and these votes were not counted by the machines used. “Chad” refers to the paper punched out when a hole is made and so the term has a philatelic use for the tiny round pieces of paper that must litter the floors of stamp printing companies. Gavin even mounted a few of these in his collection of holes, or indeed the absence of holes!

But he took the term very much further. There was an amazing stamp showing the hole in the design of a stamp where a fly (always rather short-lived insects) had become immortalised by getting between the printing block and the paper and this “philatelic fly’s” silhouette was there forever, now in Gavin’s hole (or is it whole?) collection. There were holes caused deliberately by the postal administrations in Liberia and Iran when a head of state had been deposed and so stamps with the unfortunate deposed President/Shah had been scratched out, or obliterated respectively.

There is one odd thing however. Why are many current self-adhesive stamps issued with perforations when these are no longer needed, the stamps being peeled of their backing paper with no need for perforations to assist the tearing or separation of stamps, one from another? When stamps started in the 1840s most country’s first issues had no perforations, but this involved postal staff in having to cut stamps with scissors or a blade and of course this caused a lot of delay. Perforations became common all over the world and continue to this day. But why are self-adhesive stamps issued with perforations they do not actually need?

Holes and the absence of them is a topic, which made for an intriguing afternoon. One of our members, Phil Kenton, imaginatively came up with a moniker for Gavin Fryer, - “The Holy Friar”!

             Members' Displays - January 2014

They say variety is the spice of life, and January certainly delivered that theme with our member’s displays, which were extremely varied and entertaining. David Bravery kicked off the afternoon with the 'Dual Monarchy of Austria and Hungary' between 1867 and 1918 showing us what befell both countries before and after the war.

Roy Gilbert took us back to the postal strike of 1971, and then we enjoyed a frame of ‘Wild flowers’ presented by Julia Todd learning about the most protected flower (orchid) in the UK. Following on was Derek Weston with ‘Mail from Tangiers.’

Finishing the first half was Michael Lockton with his superb three frames of Exeter postal history, showing us penny blacks, penny reds, some with Maltese crosses and explaining how the postmaster of Exeter did not always follow the rules. We also saw some wonderful Mulreadys along with covers, all with crisp Exeter obliterations.

The second half was just as intriguing as the first. Paul Taylor gave a display of Austrian stamps on cover during the inflation period. Next was David Ellis's display of George V’s Silver Jubilee, which was essentially his late fathers. His father had a great gift for drawing with pen and ink, and David showed some of his commonwealth pages of Silver Jubilee stamps, which were each headed by a pen and ink drawing of the country drawn by his father, which were very impressive, a great talent.

Denis Littlewort then displayed part of his wonderful collection of KGV key plates from Malta, Bermuda, Leeward Islands and Nyasaland. Phil Kenton showed us the conveyance of single letters by railway from 1830-1891. Amazing to think that at one time there were 300 railway companies in that period. Conveyance by train was the fastest way of getting a letter delivered if you took it to the station first thing in the morning, therefore, getting it on the first train of the day. The last day of this service was in 1984 costing 6p for the postage and £1.81 plus 27p VAT for the privilege.

Steve Paice gave us a humorous display of ‘Things I wish I had never got involved in.’ Essentially it was Australian stamps but in blocks initially, then pairs, or gutter pairs, but the Australian postal authorities didn’t understand what he meant by pairs, so they doubled up on everything they sent him including all manner of folders/booklets and stamps, even after he telephoned them to explain what he meant by pairs – he still got future orders in duplicate but not pairs!

Last but not least was Graham Mytton, who as always, was entertaining with his selection of BBC covers. He worked in audience research at the BBC for most of his life. The BBC had up to half million letters sent to them at its height, but sadly its now mostly emails etc. He showed us various covers from around the world, some covered in stamps (inflation) others addressed to the BIBIC LADEN (BBC London) and one just addressed to the Voice of England, which found its way to the BBC.

A most entertaining and enjoyable afternoon.


                             DECEMBER 2013
Our Christmas meeting was a great success with 70 members attending. The members enjoyed a free buffet lunch with wine. The festive spirit continued with a raffle, the star prize being a superb hamper. We also had a couple of small displays, one of Bookham postcards and the other of QEII Wilding stamps. We rounded the day of with a successful auction.


In November, our own member Tamsin Dungey (pictured above) gave a display on Queen Elizabeth II Wildings presented in their chronological order using plate blocks, blocks and sheets. The Wildings were a series of definitive postage stamps featuring the Dorothy Wilding photographic portrait of QEII that were in use between 1952 and 1971. The Wildings were the first and only British stamps to feature graphite lines on the back, and the first to feature phosphor bands on the face - both aids to automation. The stamps were also the first British pictorial high value stamps and the first to include regional emblems.

The QEII Wildings can be a confusing and complicated set of issues but Tamsin gave a fascinating display, which she managed to put over in a simple and orderly way. She explained the changes of watermarks in the paper on the different issues, especially the experimental 't' watermark.

Tamsin explained why paper was chalk coated and how it produces finer prints, and went on to explain some of the problems associated with printing and how this can help the modern collector identify issues of stamps. She continued her theme of technology in sorting a series of stamps and the importance of knowing why they had varieties.

Tamsin gave a wonderful and informative display/talk which everybody found intriguing. She remarked 'the idea of the display was designed to help every one with their collecting.'

                 Dr PAT REID - TASMANIA - OCTOBER 2013

Tasmania, like all other Australian states, issued and sold its own stamps until 1913 when the first stamps were issued for the whole of Australia. Dr Reid gave a very comprehensive review of the entire period of the territory’s postal service.

Throughout this period, mail was a major means of communication for business and domestic users. They needed reliable and speedy mail to survive; mail to Europe and especially GB was an essential component of life. The British colony was being rapidly settled and businesses and communities were emerging. Dr Reid showed many examples of both domestic and international mail that was a vital part of the whole, as vital as email, the Internet and phones are today. 

There was much here for those with an interest in postal history and economic history illustrated by the mail. But there was also much of philatelic interest. Dr Reid has obviously researched very thoroughly the various printings, changes in perforations, overprints and related matters. Some of these illustrated the long lead time in those days 120 or more years ago when the needs for stamps and their denominations had to be planned for and with a long lead time for the necessary design and engraving, although Tasmania unlike most British colonies, did have its own high quality Government Printer in the capital Hobart.

We also saw some very interesting examples of revenue stamps used for the payment of various dues. There was rarity here and a lot of interest and variety showing just how our hobby has many aspects and goes in different directions.

This was a brilliant example of the results of excellent research good choice of content and great variety in a display that illustrated why many people still find stamp collecting absorbing and intriguing. One thing is clear; our descendants will have difficulty 100 years hence giving an illustrated talk about communications today using early 21st Century texts, emails and Internet screen grabs. Even if such things are collected and I don't think they are (what would you actually collect?) It won't be the same.

                 LESLEY MARLEY - WHALES - SEPTEMBER 2013

Fifty members turned out on a lovely sunny September afternoon in anticipation of a Thematic presentation, by Lesley Marley, entitled ‘A Whale’s Tale’. Lesley (on the right) is pictured above with our Chairman.

They were not to be disappointed as this was not just any thematic presentation, but Lesley’s complete eight frame (128 page) exhibit, which had recently been awarded an International Large Gold Medal; the first British Thematic exhibit to attain this award in international competition.

To aid the understanding of the exhibit and help guide her audience through the intricacies of the pages Lesley had put together an attractive, entertaining and informative PowerPoint presentation (the first time she had attempted this type of presentation). This proved to be extremely successful, and certainly helped the audience not only appreciate the storyline but also some of the magnificent philatelic material on display.

The slides guided us through the ‘Whale’s Tale’ in an ordered and constructed fashion starting with an exploration of the world of whales, whose families collectively are known as cetaceans.  The largest mammal that has ever lived on our planet, the Blue Whale - Balaenoptera Musculus, was depicted using a piece of full colour stage art work – signed by the artist A.H. Barrett. This was just the beginning of a feast of philatelic material that consisted of further artwork, essays, die-proofs, early 19th century ship & whalers’ letters, special cancellations, philatelic studies, and much much more. Both the material and explanatory write-up were first class and of course in accord with the rules and regulations of the Thematic Philately Class.

The Whale’s influence in man’s past and how he transformed them into the world’s most ignominious shopping list was sensitively portrayed, as was their capture and slaughter. The first part of the display finished on a positive note however with the knowledge that at last man is now trying to protect these fascinating creatures.

For the second part of the afternoon, Lesley displayed further items from her extensive collection, including many stunning original postcards, again beautifully written up and presented in exhibition format. There were also several philatelic items on display depicting how the whale has been immortalised in cartoon, fiction & film.

On behalf of the society, the Chairman gave the vote of thanks for an altogether enthralling afternoon and presented Leslie with the obligatory 'alibi' card (although well received, it was not strictly necessary as Lesley's husband accompanied her to the meeting.


Visit of the Wallington and Carshalton Stamp Club - July 2013


We were treated to two excellent and engaging displays from Ian Nutley and Derek Mauri. Their two chosen topics – Inflation in Germany in 1922-4 and World War II Propaganda & Forgeries were in some historic ways connected and both were excellent illustrations of how history can be so well illustrated through philately.

Derek Mauri went first with a fascinating and detailed account of the period in Germany in 1923-4 when inflation (deliberately brought about by the German government to defeat the post war reparations imposed by the victorious WW1 powers) meant changing the postage rates in rapid succession. This period is well documented. You can go online and the details of monthly and sometime weekly changes to the postal rates of Germany of this period, and indeed all periods up to the present, can be found.  Collectors will easily remember from their youthful collecting days the packets of stamps that we used to get with German stamps of the period overprinted with thousands, millions and then milliards (billions in today’s English) overprints that were applied to stamps of the period. Derek showed us several contemporary examples of mail, both local and international, with the correct postage rates applied. There actually must have been several instances when the understandably confused German public had no idea what to put on their envelopes and their recipients got hit by surcharges! The period of hyperinflation came to an abrupt end when the government decided to create a new currency. Meanwhile everyone who had a pension lost out and the seeds were sown for the political upheavals that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and the destruction of much of Europe.

And that was the link with the next half of the Wallington and Carshalton Club’s display. Ian Nutley (picture above) gave a presentation on so called “Propaganda & Forgeries’ during the Second World War. Winston Churchill set up a unit devoted to sending messages to the German population and people in German occupied territories designed to give a different and negative view of what the Nazis were doing. Phoney postage stamps, phoney currency and other items were produced, some of them used and distributed; some were merely designed but never used. Little or nothing was recorded by the SOE and PWE executives involved. Because of the very nature of their work they left few traces. Ian is to be commended tor his efforts in researching this period of subterfuge and lies for the benefit of us all! Ian’s display was full of insights and revelations about a period of our history that is just within the memory of people still alive but not for much longer! A particularly interesting and arresting part of his presentation focussed on forgeries of stamps and allied items. The really mind boggling part was when he drew our attention to the fact that because of collectors’ interest in this subject there are now even some forgeries of some of these wartime attempts at fooling the enemy!  We also saw some of the propaganda efforts of other powers including those of Germany – forged money, fake postage stamps with a propaganda theme and more.




                                     MEMBERS' DAY - JUNE 2013

The June meeting was a Members’ day when the members had a chance to display parts of their own collections. We had 12 members (some pictured above) who participated showing a range of interesting and varied material. Jack Watchous gave a display on the German Dornier Do X Flying Boat, which was the largest and most powerful aircraft in the world between the two World Wars.

David Carr gave a one-frame display on snakes, and informed us of the different types, and where they’re found, along with the facts that the longest snake ever found was a Reticular Python, which was over 31 feet long, and the heaviest, being a South American Anaconda that weighed over 20 stone! David tells us that more people die of bee and wasp's stings (10 last year, and horse accidents (25) in this country than people bitten by snakes, which was only 1.

Tamsin Dungey showed English slogan postmarks from the war slogans where they originated in 1918 through to today. She demonstrated that this was a new way to display as it had little or no write up on the individual sheets, and was also trying to show to those members who did not do displays how easy and inexpensive it can be.

Derek Weston treated us to Trading and Saving Stamps, which ranged from Green Shield stamps to the Navy, which used different coloured stamps for the sailors to get cigarettes, depending on whether they were in home waters or not.

Julia Todd has a huge collection of fish and hopes to be able to collect every fish on stamps (a mighty task!) Today she showed us her small collection of sharks.

Phil Kenton FRPSL displayed a part of his vast collection of GB Express mail. John Lea FRPSL gave us an insight into Newspaper Tax, which started with ½d in 1855 and gradually increased to an amazing 4d by 1814. Did you know that the Times still prints the newspaper tax stamp in its paper today, although there is no tax.

Ken Willmott gave us another wonderful insight into the beautiful world of Butterflies, which never ceases to amaze.

Our former Chairman, Graham Mytton gave us a quick guide through the Smilers sheets from the first which was introduced at the Stamp Show in 2000. Graham has also had printed with different logos six Smiler sheets for the Club's 20th Anniversary.

The Chairman finished the afternoon with the Stamp Centenary Exhibition, which was an international event. It was held in London from 6-11 Ma, 1940 in aid of the Lord Mayor's Red Cross and St. John Fund. Penny Black reprints (with full gum) were reprinted by Waterlow and Sons for the exhibition.



Our Chairman Graham Mytton (above) treated the Club to a wonderful and entertaining afternoon at our April meeting with a display on mainly modern Nigeria in the first half and a rapid tour through the world in the second half, with one posted item from every stamp producing territory in the world except one.  He also showed some delightful Nursery Rhyme post cards. The artist of these cards, Grace Marsh Lambert was Graham’s great aunt and was between the First and Second World Wars one of the best known illustrator  of children's books. She died in 1991. 

Graham headed the department that handled all the mail and was able to make a collection of postal items from every country shown in this super display, which he called “The World Wrote to the BBC”. Covers dated from 1980 to 2000 but with the advent of email and SMS message, the letters are sadly fast disappearing. Many of the letters had wonderful spellings of the BBC (some samples below) and its postal address such as: Bi Bi Si ..Lantan, DubbleYouSeaTwo (read it and listen!) and more. His display showed that in moving towards electronic mail and away from sending hand written pieces of paper we have all lost something along the way.



                   BILL HEDLEY - HUNGARY - MARCH 2013

At the March meeting of the club, Bill Hedley, Curator of the Royal Philatelic Society’s Museum gave a talk and display on Hungary. His collection of Hungarian mail, stamps and related items to do with the postal history of this central European nation went back to the 16th Century and he brought material stretching from that time to the present day. Hungary has a complex history and Bill’s challenge was to use mail to illustrate this without making it too difficult to follow. For a country that has successively been an independent kingdom, then overrun by the Ottoman Empire, integrated into the  Austrian Empire, defeated in war, chopped up and dismembered, occupied by Soviet troops, had revolutions and at least two spectacular experiences of hyperinflation and more, this was not easy. Hedley’s collection and talk showed how a country’s story is reflected in its communications, and especially its mail. Cities like present day Bratislava were once Hungarian and known in that language as Pozsony and in German as Pressburg as it was mostly known during the Empire period. Bill showed mail from this and many other historic places in a country whose borders have moved many times.

Collectors who began their hobby in the 1950s all remember the large quantities of Hungarian stamps on sale to collectors in those days. They were nearly always unused and were very cheap to buy. They all came from the end of World War 2 and with their special overprints reflected the world record inflation that the country experienced at that time. Bill has what for many were the only examples that they had ever seen of such stamps.

                                     ROGER MORRELL - 1919 - FEBRUARY 2013

1919 - The intriguing title of Roger Morell’s display on 26th February (above picture with our Chairman) was well chosen. World War 1 changed the map of Europe more than any other event before or since and most of the boundary and national political changes made during the next year, 1919, are still with us in one way or another today. The mail was then the main means of communication. Empires and states produced stamps and the story of the victors and the vanquished and the political settlements that were agreed to or forced through can be told through the story of stamps and the mail that it was produced for. Roger pictured above right with our Chairman is an expert on the complex history of East and Central Europe, the break up of the great empires of Austro-Hungary, Turkey and Germany and the new states that emerged.

Bookham Stamp Club has pioneered the use of computer technology to improve the enjoyment and engagement of the audience with presentations. Roger used PowerPoint to show  not only the complex story of the break up of the empires but also his intriguing detective work into the origins of the various stamp issues, propaganda labels and other material.


                            WOKING PHILATELIC CLUB - NOVEMBER 2012

November brought us Woking Philatelic Club who gave us a superb afternoon, which was attended by over 70 members. We started with Ron Trevelyan who displayed covers, stamps and postcards of the Paris Exposition in 1937.

Ron Evans displayed war covers from Malta in WWII explaining the different markings, especially the green cross on British forces mail, which meant that they had priority.

Michael Lockton gave a PowerPoint display of the history of the post in Woking. At the beginning of the postal system all Woking mail went through Ripon Post Office, which was the major Post Office at the time. Michael started with manuscript markings displaying the amount paid on delivery, through to the first Ripley/Woking postmarks on covers/postcards, along with the types of different postings from parcel post to registered post. The arrival of the railway in Woking in 1838 meant that Woking would now be the main Post Office and left Ripley as the sub-post office, which still has no railway station.

                 GAVIN FRYER - QV JUNK MAIL - OCTOBER 2012

We were (royally) entertained in October by Gavin Fryer (pictured above), a past president of the Royal Philatelic Society, who gave a wonderful display on QV Junk Mail. Far from being junk mail this display showed all the different facets of mail that went through the post from newspapers to court summonses to petitions - a superb display.

                     TAMSIN DUNGEY & ROY GILBERT - SEPTEMBER - 2012

In September two of our members Tamsin Dungey and Roy Gilbert gave displays. Tamsin talked about QV 2d blues and paper types, a very complicated topic, but Tamsin made it sound easy and proceeded to give a very authorative and entertaining display - more to come! Roy tackled another complicated topic - Postal Coding, which was extremely interesting.



Our Chairman, Graham Mytton (pictured above) gave an extremely varied and entertaining display in April. He showed stamps and various envelopes from countries such as Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Graham's father had a great influence on him in collecting stamps and was proud to show his late father's collection of Ireland and a thematic collection of New Zealand and Austrlian birds. Graham finished the day with a wonderful and amusing side to the display showing various addressed envelopes to the BBC World Service where he had access to the mail - Graham worked at the BBC for many years. Letters were received from all around the world ranging from beautifully hand painted envelopes to made up drawn stamps on envelopes. Letters addressed to the BIBICI (BBC) at DABUL YOU SI TOO (WC2) or we had BIBISSI (BBC) or BCC LADEN (BBC LONDON) DOUBLE YOU SEE TOO (WC2) and BBC POSH HOUSE (BBC BUSH HOUSE).


March brought us Trevor Cornford with a bewildering insight into Captain Scott's last Antartic Expedition subtitled "Triumph and Tragedy." The array of material/letters that Trevor has gathered from all the participants in the expedition is astonishing. We saw private letters from Scott, Bowers, Evans and Wilson. We also saw a letter from Amundsen after he had beaten Scott to the Pole - quite an amazing afternoon.

                      GAVIN FRYER - FEBRUARY 2012

 February brought us our own member, and former President of The Royal Philatelic Society; Gavin Fryer gave an enthralling display/talk on "The end of Postal Services in Somalia."

                                    MEMBERS' DAY - JANUARY 2012

In January we had our member's day giving our members the chance to display their own material, which was extremely impressive to say the least. Simon McArthur (picture below left) started the proceedings with "Hitler Youth," followed by Dennis Littlewort (pictured second left below) with the "large key plates of the Malta KGV 2 and 5 shilling stamps." Phil Kenton gave us a colourful display of all the "Decimal Machins," and Ken Willmot finished the first half with a wonderful thematic display of "Butterflies." The second half started with Roy Gilbert showing some "Frama Labels." David Hunter (pictured second from right below) treated us with part of his superb display on "Sugar." John Lea (picture below right) followed David with his unusual "Egypt Stamps." Derek Weston then gave us a topical subject "The Olympics." Steve Paice (last picture below) finished of the afternoon with his impressive display - "Types of Bowls."

                                                                 DECEMBER 2011

December was our Christmas Meeting where our members enjoyed a buffet lunch and wine. We also had a raffle with the star prize being a superb hamper. Christine Earle put up a  wonderful display called"A Wartime Christmas" about the Forces in WWII.


November brought us our first power point presentation from Christine Earle who delighted the Club with her wonderful display - 'They Also Served' in the first half and an overview of Winston Churchill's life after the break. They also served, showed how the women during WWII did their bit towards the war effort, which included taking over the many jobs the men used to do.

                               ALLAN BROWN - INDIA - OCTOBER 2011

In October Allan Brown entertained the Club with 'A Philatelic Look At India' showing a wide variety of material from early letters and stamps to the current era.


September brought us a superb display from Giles du Boulay with his wonderful collection of the Prussian Danzig from 1793 – 1920.

                        MICHAEL CHAPLING A-C OF SPORT - JULY 2011

In July we had a visit from Michael Chapling who displayed part of his enormous collection of Sport. We were treated with A-C from Archery to Cricket.

                                     CHRISTMAS MEETING - 2010

The above picture was supplied by the Leatherhead Advertiser and is of the Chairman, Michael Boatman on the right, and the Hon. Secretary, Barry Feltham at our Christmas Meeting. We had a record attendance for our Christmas meeting with 73 members enjoying the food and drink on offer. The raffle raised well over £200 with the star price being a hamper. The Club auction with over 130 lots was one of our most successful. We also had a stamp quiz, which was won by our Vice Chairman, Graham Mytton. 

The Secretary, Barry Feltham displayed his Christmas Charity Post for Fetcham, Bookham & Effingham, which has been in operation since 1984. The Charity Post raises money every year for Practical Action. A charity which combats poverty by providing practical and sustainable aids to self-sufficiency such as efficient wood-burning ovens, ploughs, cycle trailers, solar powered lighting, wind pumps, hydro-power, seeds, rain water storage facilities, irrigation systems etc., suitable for villages in remote and challenging areas in Africa, Asia and South America.



Dane (pictures above) gave a diverse, entertaining and novel presentation showing ten collections of stamps, postal history and memorabilia. The subjects, mainly unconnected, ranged from Hitler’s Germany to Britain’s parliamentary items – including a Christmas card signed by David Cameron! Dane appeared on TV Eggheads back in October as captain of The Philatelists, a team that included our own secretary, Barry Feltham. Albeit, they put on a brave show, they sadly lost!


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