Stamp sheet recalls the role of pigeons in World War One

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08 August 2016
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NB108GGG10-71036.jpg Pigeon stamp sheet
The ‘Former Post Office at Bletchley Park’ have released a special stamp sheet to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, focusing on the often forgotten role of the pigeon messenger service of the First World War.

The ‘Former Post Office at Bletchley Park’ have released a special stamp sheet to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, focussing on the often forgotten role of the pigeon messenger service of the First World War.

The background of the stamp sheet, which comes with an additional printed sheet of descriptions for each image, features storm clouds and two lone pigeons flying across the page, the only colour coming from the red poppies. Designer Simon Goodger said: ‘I wanted to convey something of that first day of the Somme. Survivors from the day recount a sunny morning, with birds singing and wild flowers swaying in the long grass, but I wanted the storm clouds to reflect what was to come. Above all, it was important that the historic photographs of the pigeons were most prominent.’

John Chapman, formerly of Bletchley Park Post Office, said: ‘We are indebted to Colin Hill, an expert in the history of the pigeon messenger service, for his invaluable advice in producing the sheets. With his help we have been able to collate the descriptions for each of the pigeon messenger images on the sheet. This has allowed us to produce a second sheet with descriptions of each photograph which will accompany each sheet purchased. A large proportion of the profits will go to our nominated charity, The War Research Society, Battlefield Tours.’

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The ten images on the sheet, alongside the Royal Mail poppy design stamp, each depict different aspects of the pigeon services, showing them in use by some of the different nations involved during the conflict. A total of 200 sheets are being issued and are priced at £40 plus £2.50 p&p. A First Day Cover is also available priced at £18 plus £1.20 p&p. To purchase, contact John Chapman on e-mail or tel: 07850 239923.