The Royal Mail's poppy stamp was designed by Fiona Strickland, a member of the Royal Society of Botanical Artists

Royal Mail announces five-year programme to commemorate First World War Centenary

Posted on on 17 March 2014
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The UK's Royal Mail has announced that it will produce 30 special Centenary stamps between 2014-18 to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

The first set of six stamps will be released in July this year, with the designs providing a "wide-ranging and inclusive commemoration".

The iconic poppy - a symbol of remembrance in Britain and the Commonwealth - is one of the designs which has been unveiled by the Royal Mail, with another featuring the words of Lawrence Binyon's For the Fallen poem.

                                             The design of the 'For the Fallen' stamp

Stephen Agar from the Royal Mail stated that the decision to create the 30 stamp series for the five year period was in recognition of how the First World War "changed the course of history in ways which are still being felt today".

The Royal Mail has consulted organisations including the Royal British Legion and Imperial War Museum during the design process, as well as senior figures within the Armed Services.

The series will reflect various aspects of the conflict including the role of women, civilians and non-combatants, the contribution of the Commonwealth and how artists - including writers and painters - interpreted the events.

The Director-General of the Imperial War Museum, Diane Lees, praised the "sheer range of themes" being covered by the Royal Mail and said that she hopes the stamps "will help to bring home the meaning of the Centenary to everyone that sees them".

Individuals will also be recognised by the Royal Mail.

Private William Tickle, who enlisted on the 7th September 1914 and served in the 9th Battallion, Essex Regiment, was 15 at the time. Hew was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. His portrait will feature on a 1st class stamp.

                                              William Tickle commemorative stamp

Post Office Rifles

The Royal Mail has also published a searchable database of around 250 memorials which are in its care.

More than 75,000 men from the General Post Office fought in the First World War, including the 12,000 men of the Post Office Rifles.

Helen Grant, Minister for the First World War Centenary said that she was "delighted" the Royal Mail had decided to issue the commemorative stamp collection.

"Postal workers played a really important role in the war, with many displaying gallantry and heroism of the highest order. I hope that these stamps will help to bring home the meaning of the Centenary to everyone that sees them".

'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

Source: Royal Mail press release

Date of press release publication: 17/03/2014

Images courtesy of the Royal Mail

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News