Published on September 6th, 2018 | by Sam Rose
Introducing the First World War 1918 Special Stamps
At 11am on the 11th of November 1918, the First World War came to an official end. The final hours of this conflict are commemorated in Royal Mail’s newest stamp and presentation pack release.
Captured in its rawest form, Royal Mail’s fifth and final issue of the World War One commemorative special stamps series provides thought-provoking imagery and emotional overtones stemming from the First World War in a poignant and commemorative series of 6 stamps and accompanying collectibles. The collection is a stark reminder of the sacrifices made throughout the four-year period and serve as a tribute to those who played their part in bringing the conflict to its conclusion.
The First World War 1918 Stamp Collection
The First World War 1918 Stamp Collection comprises of six bold images that harken back to pivotal points during the years of conflict. Including the unforgettable imagery of 100 poppies, an excerpt from Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ amongst other symbols of significance, this stamp collection is a powerful commemoration of the events that transpired during the First World War.
1st Class – 100 Poppies, Zafer and Barbara Baran
The poppy has been one of the enduring symbols of the First World War and has come to be associated with remembrance. To mark the centenary of the end of the war, Zafer and Barbara Baran photographed one hundred poppy flowers, layering the images together to create 100 Poppies. Each of the poppies was freshly cut and carefully lit before being photographed to capture the flower’s delicate luminosity. In the final artwork, the light gently filters through the overlapping petals, giving the image a ghostly, fleeting appearance and suggestion of gentle movement.
1st Class – ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’, Wilfred Owen
In the poem, ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’, British army officer and poet Wilfred Owen mourns the loss of young lives that were cut short due to the dangerous warfare. With his unfortunate death after being killed in action a week before the armistice, Owen has gone on to become one of Britain’s most celebrated war poets and figures. In this woodblock print, illustrator Andrew Davidson has hand carved the opening lines of Owen’s poem. Using an illuminated letter style that draws similarities to the shattered treescapes of war artist Paul Nash, this stamp design reflects the true power and rawness of Owen’s words.
1st Class – Second Lieutenant Walter Tull
Second Lieutenant Walter Tull was born in Folkestone in 1888 and was orphaned after the unfortunate passing of his English mother and Barbadian father. He became known as a professional footballer, but once war had broken out, served in the Footballer’s Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and fought fiercely on the Somme. Commissioned in May 1917, Tull became the first mixed-race Army officer to command troops in a regular unit. After fighting in Italy, he then returned onto the Western Front before being killed in action on the 25th of March 1918. As he has no known grave, Tull is currently commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
£1.55 – We Are Making A New World, Paul Nash
In 1914, Paul Nash enlisted as a private in the Artists’ Rifles and was later commissioned into the Hampshire Regiment. Invalided to his home in May 1917 following an accident, he returned to the front in November 1917 as an official artist. In We Are Making A New World, Nash depicts a bleak sunrise over a scattering of trees. The ground is pictured as being pitted with waterlogged shell holes, as Nash was deeply moved by the destruction of trees and other pieces of nature being destroyed by the conflict, inspiring this emotional metaphor laden painting.
£1.55 – The Grave Of The Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey, London
On Armistice Day, 11 November 1920, an Unknown Warrior was buried at Westminster Abbey due to being chosen at random from several unidentifiable sets of remains solemnly conveyed from France. Enormous crowds gathered in silence to witness the procession through London, with King George V unveiling the Cenotaph at Whitehall. For a nation reeling from the enormous loss of life, the burial of the Unknown Warrior provided a focal point for remembrance.
£1.55 – Lieutenant Francis Hopgood’s Goggles
Lieutenant Francis Hopgood joined the Royal Flying Corps in March 1918, transferring from the Artists’ Rifles. Just a few days after the Royal Flying Corps had been incorporated into the new Royal Air Force on the 10th of April of the same year, Hopgood’s plane was shot down. Crash landing behind German lines, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war. For his ability to survive aerial combat, Hopgood required clear sight. It was to this point that his goggles are fitted with custom prescription lenses in Triplex safety glass and survived his crash landing without shattering into pieces.
The First World War 1918 Presentation Pack
Much like these powerful stamp designs, the First World War 1918 Presentation Pack captures and retells poignant events of the war from a historical and strategic perspective. Peppered with a host of contemporary photographs and artifacts that help tell the tale of the final year of conflict, this Presentation Pack also showcases the importance of ordinary men, who when enlisted to fight in the war, were pinnacle in achieving the final victory for Britain.