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.