Dad’s Army Correspondence

Besides being a formidable fighting force in the crucial period 1940 – 1942, the senior citizens and other divers characters involved in Home Guard duties were keen bird-watchers and were in the habit of taking their holidays on Lundy Island.  They took measures to send mail to themselves when new issues became available as they were also interested in stamp collecting; the Walmington-on-Sea Philatelic Society having been formed in the early 1930s with Mr George Mainwairing, the bank manager as President.  Indeed some members had started collecting as far back as the 1890s; Charles Godfrey, his sister Dolly, Jack jones the butcher and James Frazer the undertaker being the founder members.

Meetings were held in the church hall until the outbreak of war when philately took a back seat and Home Guard drill became the order of the day.

1879.   Cover to Private Jack Jones (Senior) at Rorke’s Drift.  It bears “medallion” types of 1877 – 80, cancelled Jan 2 1879.  There is  an Army Post Office Natal Field Force receiving mark of 22 January and a Cape Town transit and non-delivery cachet on the reverse.

NatalO NatalR

1898.   Nineteen years and a million men later a cover to Pte (later Lance corporal) Jack Jones Jr whilst serving in the Sudan.  Various Victorian types cancelled 7 August 1898.  Halfa TPO markings and non-delivery cachet suitably endorsed.  The Arabic inscription in the cancel on the reverse translates as “They don’t like it up ’em!”.

SudanO SudanR

1900.   Cover to Private Jones whilst serving in Bechuanaland during the siege of Sydney Street, Mafeking.   Stamped with types of 1893 – 1900 cancelled 24 April 1900.  The cover has APO and Pretoria receipt marks and the usual non-delivery cachet.

MafekingO MafekingR

1912.  T.S.S. “Gigantic”.  Illustrated cover bearing King George V definitives cancelled by “LUNDY STEAM SHIP COMPANY/POSTED ON THE HIGH SEAS” cachet and ships “Anchor” CDS of 10 April 1912.  Adressed to Charles Godfrey at Walmington-on-Sea, from his sister Dolly, a passenger on board the ill-fated vessel which collided with a jellyfish off Newfoundland.  Fortunately, Dolly Godfrey surviced the ordeal but most of the mail was lost.  The cover bears St John’s Newfoundland and Southampton arrival marks for 21 April and 15 May together with “LOOSE LETTER” and “SALT WATER DAMAGE” markings and the instructional mark “TO BE DELIVERED AT ADDRRESSEE’S OWN CONVENIENCE”…. Chas Godfrey having been, for some time, troubled with incontinence!

GiganticO GiganticR

1916.   Lundy National War Fund envelope addressed to James Frazer and bearing the War Fund label overprinted “POSTAGE” cancelled by “FEED THE GUNS OR WE ARE ALL DOOMED” slogan and “BATTERY” c.d.s. of 14 October 1916.  On the reverse is an Edith Cavell war propaganda label and Eastbourne transit mark.

WarFundO WarFundR

1917.   World War One Patriotic postcard with additional adhesives addressed to Private Jones, who is now involved in trench warfare in Flanders.  The cover is complete with censor mark, bullet-hole damage and the inevitable non-delivery cachet.

FlandersO FlandersR

1920.   Illustrated “PEACE” envelope bearing 1919 (issued 1920) Victory half penny and penny.  Cancelled by “PEACE TO THE WORLD” slogan depicting a puffin holding an olive branch or possibly a herring-bone.  There is a GPO c.d.s.of 6 February 1920 and addressd to the vicar at St Aldhem’s Church, Walmington-on-Sea and with an Eastbourne transit mark.

Peace

1920.  April 5th, 150th Anniversary of Captain James Cook’s circumnavigation of Lundy Island.  An illustrated envelope bearing the one farthing commemorative and other adhesives cancelled with a special handstamp and addressed to Jones’ butchers in Walmington on Sea.  A further handstamp on the reverse and a Newhaven arrival mark.

CookO CookR

1926.  First flight from Lundy to Beachy Head, Sussex.  “Lundair” pictorial envelope with additional airmails, cancelled Mar 10 1926 with a special flight cachet and addressed to Arthus Wilson at Walmington on Sea.  On the reverse are two cachets; “Recovered from Aeroplane Wreckage at Beachy Head 10 – 3 – 26” and “Damaged by Sea Water”.

LundairO LundairR

1928.  This has to be the worst ever envelope-based pun.  Advertising envelope for Wills’ Puffin Cigarettes depicting two puffins puffin’.  It is addressed to Lundy and Walmington on Sea entrepreneur, Joe Walker, at his business address.  The adhesives are from the 1927 pictorial series and are cancelled with the Lundy GPO c.d.s dated 7 Feb 28.  The reverse has an Eastbourne transit mark.

PuffinO

1928.  “Graf Zeppelin” maiden flight Lundy/Lannds End/London and return.  Illustrated envelope showing airship over Tower Bridge.  Zeppelin 1/- amd 2/6 stamps cancelled by Lundy GPO c.d.s with a special flight cachet “LUNDSCHIFF GRAF ZEPPELIN – LUNDISCHFART 1928”; black cachet depicting Count von Zeppelin with similar text.  The cover is addressed to George Mainwairing, bank manager and later captain of the Walmington Home Guard.  The reverse has instructions that the letter be dropped over the Walmington-on-Sea cricket pitch and and arrival cachets for Backward Short Leg and Walmington-on-Sea.

ZeppelinO ZeppelinR

1935.   Silver Jubillee.  Pictorial envelope bearing low-value Silver Jubilee stamps cancelledby the slogan Postmark “FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA” and an Old Light c.d.s.  It is addressed to William Hodges, Walmington greengrocer and later A.R.P. warden.  The cover seems to confirm Hodges’ fixation with lights and his meanness in not buying the full set of stamps.  Mind you, his meanness came to naught as the letter was underfranked and Hodges had to pay a 3d surcharge – the postage due is cancelled with the Walmington-on-Sea c.d.s.

LightO

1937.  Coronation.  Stamps of King Edward VIII used on George VI coronation first day cover and cancelled by special Lundy c.d.s.  Eastbourne transit c.d.s. on reverse.  Addressed to Frank Pike, junior member of the Walmington-on-sea Philatelic Society and later to be junior member of the town’s Home Guard unit and junior clerk at the Swallow Bank.  Aged around 15 on Coronation Day he probably purchased this cover from Joe Walker, who was not above faking philatelic items amongst other things.  When Frank displayed his “prize” at the “six sheets or sixpence” evening, Society president George Mainwairing was heard to remark…. “You Stupid boy!!!!”

CoronationO

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