Stamps to mark First World War

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: The new first class stamp to commemorate the First World War, showing a painting of a Poppy by Fiona Strickland. (Royal Mail/PA) The new first class stamp to commemorate the First World War, showing a painting of a Poppy by Fiona Strickland. (Royal Mail/PA)

A series of special stamps is to be published over the next five years by the Royal Mail to commemorate the First World War.

The first stamps, being issued in July, feature a painting of a poppy, lines from the poem For the Fallen, first published in 1914, and a portrait of a 15-year-old soldier, Private William Tickle, who was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The series of stamps will include the contribution of the armed services, the role of Commonwealth countries and non-combatants and women.

Royal Mail has also published a database of memorials commemorating those who died in the Great War.

The Royal Mail had its own regiment, the Post Office Rifles, which was formed in the 1860s to protect its buildings from attack, with 1,800 killed and 4,500 injured during the war.

About 75,000 postal workers fought in the war, and there is a cemetery outside the French village of Festubert which contains the graves of 26 identified Post Office Rifles men, and 10 times as many unnamed tombstones.

Stephen Agar, from Royal Mail, said: "The Great War changed the course of world history in ways which are still being felt today. This is why we took the decision to produce 30 stamps over a five year period.

"To commemorate all those who were involved is a major undertaking so we have consulted widely, including taking advice from the Imperial War Museums, senior figures within the armed services, and other organisations, including the Royal British Legion."

Helen Grant, minister for the First World War centenary, said: "The Royal Mail have a long and distinguished history of recording special events and anniversaries with commemorative stamps. I am delighted that they are marking the First World War centenary with five sets, across the period.

"Postal workers played a really important role in the war, with many displaying gallantry and heroism of the highest order. I hope that these stamps will help to bring home the meaning of the centenary to everyone that sees them."

Diane Lees, director general of Imperial War Museum, said: "The series of stamps being issued by the Royal Mail over the five years of the centenary, and in particular the sheer range of themes they cover from not only the individuals affected but also the artworks and poems produced in response to the conflict, are taking these stories further into the homes and offices of people across the country.

"They are a fitting commemoration for this landmark conflict that claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and affected the lives of millions more."

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