🇬🇧 In these difficult times when you could almost say that a Third World War has broken out - this time not against the forces of fascism but against a non-human enemy - Royal Mail has revealed that it will release a joyous set of 8 stamps, 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps and a 4 pane Prestige booklet costing £19.80p on 8 May 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War.
The designs do not feature famous people, members of the royal family nor politicians but ordinary British people who had lived through almost 6 years of war - of fear, deprivation, self-denial, of threat of death or injury to the combatants abroad or the civilians at home. And the stamps depict those people including soldiers returned from war and women and children who had lived through night after night of bombing raids, daytime attacks by V2 rockets, severe food rationing and, at one time, fear of invasion, all coming out into the streets to celebrate their release from their 6 year-long ‘lockdown’. I remember my family members of the previous 2 generations telling me about the sheer relief and joy when the war ended and the celebrations in which people began to rejoice that they had made it safely through the war even though they remembered those people they knew who had not. My mother and her sisters worked in the famous Birmingham jewellery trade and were given a day off work by their employer, a Jewish man who had fled the Nazi terror when the occupation of the Sudetenland was carried out prior to the main outbreak of war, so that his employees whom he called “his family” could join the celebrations and then he said, “Oh that’s not enough, take the whole week off!”
On 8 May 1945 there was no peace for my poor father who at the age of 19 was still at war in Burma. But he made it through to the autumn when the Allies achieved victory in the Far East and was eventually able to come home to his family and to see again the girl that he loved and would marry. Meanwhile my mother’s sister, my aunt, would meet and eventually marry a young Pole, who had also fled the country in which he was born to get to Britain and join the Polish forces here to join the fight against the Nazis and he made his home in England and became a naturalised Briton and would not see the land of his birth again until 1995 - 50 years after the end of World War 2 - when I accompanied him to visit Warsaw and Krakow which is situated close to the crime that we now know as Auschwitz.
So it is that Royal Mail plans to issue a perfect set of stamps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of a time of trial for Britain and the world. We hope that our present trial is not a fraction of what the people of the 1940s endured. It is very apt that one of the stamps depicts a group of nurses, who are part of our present frontline, celebrating the end of the war as we hope that we will see such pictures again in the near future when the Coronavirus has been swept away.
The issue was designed by Hat-trick Design using photographs colourised by Royston Leonard. The issue was lithographed by International Security Printers and is perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- ****** (yes, 6 stars).