Guernsey Post issues third set of Great War Stamps
Guernsey Post’s third stamp issue commemorating the First World War explores the part played by the Guernseymen and boys who were engaged in the war at sea (issue date 11 November). Like previous issues in the series, Guernsey Post’s research has revealed that their presence was far flung, honourable and that many of them made the ultimate sacrifice. Known as ‘Bluejackets’, the name given to the sailors in the Royal Navy, the stamps feature six of them to represent the Bailiwick's contribution: -
43p: Able Seaman James Gale had been a docker at the White Rock, St Peter Port before serving on HMS Bulwark. On 26 November 1914, while anchored near Sheerness in Kent, the ship was destroyed by a massive internal explosion in what remains one of the most catastrophic accidental explosions in the Navy’s history. James was one of only 16 survivors but he died as a result of his injuries on 18 January 1915.
57p: Stoker 1st Class George Arthur Hicks from Guernsey was on HMS Kent, which took part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 8th December 1914 and saw the Royal Navy overwhelm and destroy a German Fleet off the coast of Argentina in the most decisive naval engagement of the War. At least nine Guernseymen were serving in the British Squadron.
58p: This stamp depicts the crew of an HM submarine, which included Guernsey sailors T Gilson and H Broadbent. The caption beneath the photo in the 1915 Guernsey Evening Press states that the men were among the crew of the B-II, but the B-II was sunk in 1912 when she accidentally collided with SS Amerika.
64p: Able Seaman Wilfred Cochrane was one of several Guernsey boys who fought and died at the Battle of Jutland, which was the largest naval engagement in the First World War. The two forces met in their entirety for the first and last time on 31st May and the battle, fought over 12 hours, involved 250 ships and 100,000 men. Britain lost 14 ships and 6,000 men and Germany 11 ships and 2,500 men. The German fleet never again left port to engage the Royal Navy.
70p: A week after the Battle of Jutland, the Royal Navy faced another disaster when Lord Kitchener, the British secretary of state for war, was killed with the sinking of the HMS Hampshire on 5th June 1916. Along with Kitchener and his dignitaries, 650 men perished and among them was 29 year old First Class Petty Officer Harold de Putron Taylor from Guernsey.
78p: The Belgian port of Zeebrugge was used by the German Navy as a base for submarines and, on the morning of 23 April 1918, a daring plan was launched by the Royal Navy to scuttle British ships at the narrow entrance to the canal, blocking the entrance and preventing the exit of the deadly U-boats. Among the British sailors was a heroic young Guernseyman, Able Seaman John Helman, who showed great courage and camaraderie in the heat of the action.
Bridget Yabsley, acting head of philatelic at Guernsey Post said: - “Individually, these Guernseymen and boys featured at almost every major sea battle and turning point in the five-year conflict. Collectively, their stories give a strong account of the Royal Navy in the Great War.”
The six stamps and prestige booklet are available to pre-order from 24 October in advance of their release on Remembrance Day (11 November), which in many countries is observed to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918.