On Wednesday November 27th Banbury Stamp Society welcomed Gerald Marriner who presented his material on ‘Falkland Island: the 1982 Conflict.’ Gerald was already a collector of the Falkland Islands before the war, but started this display a few years after when he was offered some material at a stamp fair. For many of us who remember the outbreak of the conflict it was a surprise to realise that it was 37 years ago and Gerald has built up an impressive collection in that time.
We started with a few postal history items from 1905 up to the 1970’s, starting with a 1905 postcard with a picture of an Argentine naval vessel and a message suggesting that Argentina could occupy the islands easily! Mail to the islands routed through Argentina and so was often annotated with the Argentinian name for the islands: Malvinas. By the 1970’s there was a permanent marine detachment on the islands and there was some mail from this group.
After the Argentine occupation of the islands, the Swiss consulate in Buenos Aires acted for British nationals in the country and there was an example of consular mail. The task force routed via Ascension Island and we saw an air letter with the Ascension Island forces postmark ‘777’ and a letter with words cut out – mail was censored up to the arrival of the task force on Ascension on April 19th. We then saw letters from the vessels in the task force including the Atlantic Conveyor, later sunk with the helicopters that would have supported the land war. Much of the mail was personal but Gerald showed commercial mail from HMS Coventry to a company in Guernsey which sent flowers by mail. South Georgia was the first island recaptured and we had one cover from there, and then a moving letter sent from San Carlos bay at 0330 just before the landing on the main island.
Mail from the Islanders started with a letter sent the day before the invasion followed by items which had to go through the Argentine post office with Argentine stamps. This was followed by mail to and from the Argentine occupying forces with many of the letters written using paper and envelopes ‘liberated’ from the Port Stanley post office. The Argentine marine detachment were supplied with writing material, and there was also a series of Air Letters issued by the Argentine post office.
We finished with mail from after the liberation including items posted on the QEII which was used as a troop ship, a letter from a soldier in the field hospital with pleurisy and POW mail from an Argentine soldier.
Our next meeting will be on our usual evening: Tuesday 10th December at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when Bryan Jones will present ‘Fiji – Stamps and Postal History’. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.