🇬🇦🇹🇬 The Commonwealth is to have two new members - the Francophone African republics of Gabon and Togo. The decision by President Ali Bongo of Gabon to seek Commonwealth membership and it’s likely philatelic consequences for Commonwealth collectors were reported in Blog 1938. Meanwhile moves to enable Togo to become a Commonwealth member have come very recently with the country’s Parliament National Assembly passing a resolution saying that the Assembly, “expresses support for Togo’s process of joining the Commonwealth”. It appeared the President Faure Gnassingbé was moved to apply for membership by President Bongo’s declaration that he was doing so on behalf of Gabon. It is said that both countries will be formally admitted to Commonwealth membership on 24 June at the CHOGM in Kigali, having already received the nod on 12 June.
Togoland was a German protectorate from 5 July 1884 until 1914 when British and French forces occupied the territory at the beginning of the First World War. The Allies were interested in capturing the territory because an important German wireless transmitter linking Berlin to its west African territory was sited at Kamina, north of the capital Lomé, and because the territory neighboured both the British colony of Gold Coast and the French colony of Dahomey. In the first British military action of the war British forces landed at Lomé on 7 August with the German command setting for Kamina and on 9 August the Union Jack was flying over Lomé. British and French forces arrived at Kamina on 26 August to find that the Germans had blown up the transmitter and many of the German troops had deserted, those remaining were captured. The Germans formally surrendered on 26 August 1914 and the two allies each occupied parts of the country. The territory was ruled as a condominium until 7 December 1916 when the Condominium collapsed and Togoland was formally divided into British Togoland and French Togoland.
After the British occupation of Togoland a number of overprints were released by the British authorities. Eleven German colonial stamps (3pf - 2m) were initially overprinted ‘TOGO/Anglo-French/Occupation’ with wide settings and issued on 1 October 1914. Halfpenny and One Penny surcharges were applied and released also on 1 October and towards the end of October 13 more overprints (3pf - 5m) were issued with narrow settings of the overprint. The two surcharges were also released with the narrower setting.
New versions of the ‘TOGO/Anglo-French’ overprints (5 values, 3pf - 50pf) were issued on 7 January 1915 and then stamps of the neighbouring British colony of Gold Coast (12 values, 1/2d - 20s) with another new, locally printed version of TOGO/Anglo-French/Occupation were issued in May 1915. In April 1916 an issue of 12 basic Gold Coast definitives (1/2d - 20s) with a further version of the overprint applied in London was released.
A League of Nations Mandate was granted to Great Britain over British Togoland on 20 July 1922 and subsequently British Togoland was ruled as part of The Gold Coast until the 1950s when plans were being laid for the independence of Ghana. A plebiscite was held in British Togoland which voted to join Ghana when it became independent which duly happened on 6 March 1957. Previously unoverprinted Gold Coast stamps had been used in the territory and subsequently the stamps of Ghana were used there.
Meanwhile French Togo became an autonomous republic on 30 August 1956 and became fully independent on 23 April 1960 as the Republic of Togo - it is this rump territory which is now about to join The Commonwealth. It has never been part of the British Empire since it was occupied by French troops in 1914 and was subsequently French Togo while British Togoland is now incorporated in neighbouring Ghana.
From a philatelic point of view, the Commonwealth collector may feel some anxiety at the accession of Togo to The Commonweath as presently its postal service is allowing all manner of products from the infernal Stamperija to be released on to the market in its name. But in theory at least we now have two more territories to add to our Commonwealth collections.
Togo’s present definitive series depicting Bella Bellow, Togolese singer:-
Stamperija product inscribed ‘Togo’ depicting Queen Elizabeth II, Head of The Commonwealth:-
🇸🇭 Ascension Island -
22 June 2022 - 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands from Argentinian occupation by British forces - 4 stamps. Designed by Andrew Robinson and lithographed by Cartor and perforated 13.5. Production coordinated by Creative Direction. Thanks to Juliet Warner of Pobjoy Stamps for information about this issue. Rating:- *****.