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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Falklands' Stamps Commemorate Battle of Britain and 10 Spitfires Donation

A new stamp issue for the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island has been announced by Pobjoy Mint, commemorating the Battle of Britain and Churchill's "Few".

The Falkland Islands have a special link with the Battle of Britain after a donation of ten Spitfires to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in October 1940. Over 114 days, from July 10 to October 31 1940, almost 3,000, brave young airmen from no less than 14 Allied countries – Churchill's "Few" - took to the skies to defend Britain from Nazi tyranny in the Battle of Britain, 544 did not return.

At the start of 2010, it was believed that there were only 90 of "the Few" remaining.

This stamp issue recognises the pilots and aircraft - not only of the RAF - but some of the other services and countries that were involved. Usually, it is only the Hurricane and Spitfire that are remembered as the aircraft that took part in the Battle, however pictured with this series are three of the others: the Boulton Paul Defiant (a night fighter), the Fairey Fulmar, and the Gloster Gladiator biplane.

The border of the sheet shows a solitary member of the Observer Corps on a rooftop of London, watching an air battle develop above his head, ready to report positions, heights, courses and speeds to Fighter Command who would then send the Fighters to intercept and attack the approaching enemy. The first day cover depicts Allied fighters closing to attack the invaders.

It is planned the stamp issue will be available to buy on May 7. Along with all recent stamps of Ascension Island, the Falklands and South Georgia, they are also available from the Pobjoy Mint Stand 35, at the London 2010 Festival of Stamps from May 8 to15.