Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Richard, currently President of the Postal History Society, gave us a rare insight into the postal, and other, history of Sudan with this award winning display.
Sudan, the largest country in Africa, did not issue stamps until 1897 with covers dating only from the 1840s. Mail from pre 1867 bears no Sudanese marking, and would have been privately carried. Offices gradually opened from 1867 but transit times were slow with 30 to 50 days from Khartoum to Cairo being normal. Amongst his early covers Richard showed an 8 page letter, written by General Gordon, dating from 1874. Mail was later carried by runner, camel, rail and, of course, Nile steamer.
Richard next dealt with the various military campaigns in Sudan (1885-98) with examples of soldiers, and officers, mail from the Indian, British, Egyptian, Canadian and Australian Armies. Following Gordon's death, in 1885, forces were withdrawn to the border. In 1896 and Anglo-Egyptian force was raised to re-conquer Sudan with Khartoum finally suppressed in 1897. To complete his first round Richard dealt with the first issues of Sudanese Stamps with examples of Egyptian stamps overprinted in French & Arabic (of which 6 differing types exist) followed by the "Camel Postman", designed by Army Captain E. A. Stanton, a cartographer. Stanton was, apparently, given 10 days to design the stamps and took his inspiration from an arriving camel postman. The stamps were printed by De La Rue, in London and Richard featured trail and proof prints along with Officials and "perfins".
For his second round Richard continued with the "Camel Postman" stamps in their many, and various, guises. These included changes in watermark, colour and overprinted stamps, for use by the military, bearing "Army Official", then Army Service" (which were a "complete mess" with instances of inverted, double, sideways and, even, triple impressions). Other overprints included "OSGS" (on Sudan Government Service) with Richard, again, showing us samples, trials and specimens.
Richard continued with the various stamp issues right up to self government in 1953 which included watermark changes, further overprints (including the inserted "5" variety), and a revised Arabic inscription. Sudan, of course, has a prominent part in the development of African airmails and these formed the next part of the display. From the first airmails of 1914 the display include, amongst others, crash mails (with the rescued mails being dried on the shoes of Lake Victoria), unofficial airmails and early, multi franked, covers, including one whose cancellation marks showed it had travelled some 16,000 miles and all for 2½d!! Richard concluded his fascinating display with the Stanton derived "Gunboat" design Postage Dues again showing original essays, trials and printers proofs.
Rev. Bill Izatt proposed the Vote of Thanks with his usual wit.