Cookies on the Royal Mail
These First World War 1914 centenary stamps represent the six series themes of poppy, poetry, portraits, war art, memorials, remembrance and artefacts. The cameo head of The Queen by David Gentleman appears in Royal Mail Red, echoing the colour of poppies, the most poignant symbol of war and remembrance. The set is comprised of 3 x first-class and 3 x £1.47 special stamps.
Poppy, Fiona Strickland
The poppy became symbolic of the war. It was detested by farmers as a stubborn weed, but its tendency to grow in disturbed earth made it a common sight on the broken ground of shell-torn battlefields. The poppy's deep red became associated with the blood of soldiers. In this specially commissioned painting, artist Fiona Strickland captures the fine texture of a poppy's petals.
'For the Fallen', Laurence Binyon
In 1914, Laurence Binyon was a senior curator at the British Museum. Born in 1869, he was too old to enlist. He had been a published poet from the age of 16, and on 21 September 1914, The Times printed his seven-stanza poem 'For the Fallen'. At the time, the British Expeditionary Force was in retreat, having suffered casualties at the Battle of Mons. Binyon's poem is well known, and used across the world in the 'Ode of Remembrance'.
Private William Cecvil Tickle
Private William Cecil Tickle enlisted during the height of the recruiting rush in 7 September 1914. Despite being underage, he joined the 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment. The battalion was deployed to France and during the Battle of the Somme they were attacked near the village of Ovillers. The troops were hit by gunfire from three sides and suffered heavy casualties. Among the dead was Private Tickle. Having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
A Star Shell, Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson was born in London in 1889. He went to France and Flanders as a Red Cross orderly, later joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. After being invalided from the Army, he secured a commission as an official war artist. In 'A Star Shell', Nevinson depicts the weird, unearthly light of an artillery flare. The shell's glow reveals a landscape of broken ground and barbed wire, capturing the disorienting nature of the battlefield.
The Response, William Goscombe
The Response, also known as the Renwick Memorial, was unveiled in Newcastle in July 1923. It depicts the volunteers of the Northumberland Fusiliers marching to the station on their way to France. The men walk as a couple parts for perhaps the last time. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener's call to arms in September 1914 was met with an instant response. The pre-war British Army needed 30,000 recruits a year at the peak of recruitment, this number enlisted in a single day. By the end of 1915, 2.5 million had volunteered.
Princess Mary's gift fund box
On 15 October 1914, Princess Mary launched her Christmas Gift Fund. In a public letter, she wrote, 'I want you now to help me send a Christmas present from the whole nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front.' Her appeal raised over £162,000. On Christmas Day 1914, 426,724 gifts were distributed to British service personnel. Each included writing materials, a Christmas card, a photograph of the Princess and most contained tobacco and cigarettes. All enclosed in an embossed brass box. Many boxes survived, mementoes of the war's first Christmas.
Special Stamps Technical Specifications
Design hat-trick design
Stamp format /size square 35mm x 35mm
Printer International Security Printers
Print process Lithography
Perforation 14.5 x 14.5
Phosphor 'For the Fallen' and A Star Shell D all over; all others D bars as appropriate
Number per sheet 25/50