Royal Mail announces five-year stamp programme to commemorate World War One


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17 March 2014
imports_CCGB_stamp-memorial_03997.jpg Royal Mail announces five-year stamp programme to commemorate World War One
Royal Mail has announced the launch of a major stamp programme to commemorate the centenary of World War One. ...
Royal Mail has announced the launch of a major stamp programme to commemorate the centenary of World War One. A total of thirty Special Stamps will be issued - six per year from July 2014 through to summer 2018.

The range of stamps will be 'wide-ranging and inclusive' and are set to include:

  • How artists interpreted the events
  • The role of non-combatants and civilians
  • The role of women
  • The role of the Services
  • The contribution of the Commonwealth

Wartime stories

The stories of the War will be told through imagery including historic Memorials, artefacts that have become synonymous with the conflict, portraits of some of the participants, art showing some of the famous and moving scenes of the conflict, and newly-commissioned artworks of poppies - the symbol of Remembrance - from leading artists such as Fiona Strickland.

The 2014 Great War stamps

The first set of six stamps, to be released in July, features:

POPPY - Original artwork by Fiona Strickland, the Scottish born and Edinburgh based leading botanical artist. She is a member of the Royal Society of Botanical Artists and considered among the leading contemporary botanical artists.

WAR POETRY -  Lines from the poem, ‘For the Fallen’ by Lawrence Binyon. First published in The Times on 21 September 1914, ‘For the Fallen’ is the poet’s response to the first few weeks of the War. It is familiar through its recitation at Remembrance ceremonies in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Binyon volunteered for hospital work in France during the War.

Royal Mail commissioned a letter-cutter to engrave a section of the poem into stone. This was then photographed and the image used on the stamp.

WAR ART - ‘A Star Shell’ by CRW Nevinson. The image is of a flare that illuminated no man’s land. Nevinson is widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the Great War, with paintings in the collection of Tate Britain and Imperial War Museums. The artwork is on display at Tate Britain.

PORTRAIT - Private William Tickle, who enlisted on 7 September 1914, and served in the 9th Battallion, Essex Regiment. He was accepted despite being under age (15 on enlisting).

He served until he was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. This is one of thousands of photographs donated to the Imperial War Museum shortly after the war’s end in response to pleas to send images of those who had died.

MEMORIAL -‘The Response’, a bronze memorial by Welsh artist Sir William Goscombe John, represents the raising of several companies of the Northumberland Fusiliers and depicts the men joining up in 1914. The memorial is located in a public park in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

ARTEFACT - Princess Mary Gift Box. In October 1914, the Christmas Gift Fund was launched by Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. The purpose was to provide everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day 1914 with a 'gift from the nation'. The result was the production of an embossed brass box, which contained a Christmas card and a picture of the Princess along with gifts. Servicemen at the front or at sea who were smokers received a pipe, an ounce of tobacco, cigarettes and a tinder lighter. Non-smokers received a packet of sweets and a writing case with pencil, paper and envelopes.

Stephen Agar of Royal Mail said: 'The Great War changed the course of world history in ways which are still being felt today. This is why we took the decision to produce 30 stamps over a five year period.

'To commemorate all those who were involved is a major undertaking so we have consulted widely, including taking advice from the Imperial War Museums, senior figures within the Armed Services, and other organisations, including the Royal British Legion.'

Register your interest

Register your interest for the stamps on the Royal Mail's Great War website.

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