World War I was the first conflict where the industries of the countries involved were completely geared towards war. This new form of ‘total war’ meant almost every national institution was thrust behind the cause. In Britain one of these organisations was the General Post Office (GPO).
To commemorate the efforts of the GPO, Guernsey Post has announced that it will issue a set of stamps, focusing on the Channel Islands. The second set of products released by the postal service, Bridget Yabsley, acting head of philatelic at Guernsey Post, said of the new release: – “Of the 250,000 employees of the General Post Office (GPO) in July 1914, 75,000 workers bravely put themselves forward and made an enormous contribution during the Great War in the years that followed. Records show that 43 of these men came from the Guernsey Post Office.”
Writing letters home to loved ones was an important part of every soldiers’ life. For the Channel Islands, mail boats made their way between the islands and the british mainland. These letters are one of the main ways in which the stories of immense bravery are remembered today. One of the mail ships was SS Vera, which is depicted on of the stamps.
A selection of the stamps are included below, each depicting a different image. The 42 pence stamp for instance shows Philip Carr, a Sark postman who joined the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry (RGLI) when war broke out. The RGLI was initially formed from the local Guernsey and 3,000 men served in France and Belgium with almost 330 dying in the war. Almost every family was directly affected by the loss of a relative.
The six stamps and an accompanying prestige booklet will be released on Remembrance Day, which is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918.