Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Mr. Andy Napier
For their opening meeting of the new Session, members of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society were transported to the South Pacific – to the islands of Fiji. The new President, Andy Napier, presented a most interesting display of stamps and covers issued during the World Wars – and Emergency Money!
He began with a postcard posted to Germany on 30th June 1914 – which was returned to the sender marked ‘Undeliverable’. World War 1 was on the horizon! In order to help the "War Effort" – Fijian stamps were overprinted with the words "War Stamp". These were shown in many colours and also varying printing errors. These stamps could only be used as "Fundraising" stamps – used in addition to the normal stamps to cover the postage costs - but that did not stop correspondents using them as ordinary postage stamps. A number of covers gave examples of this – some with postage stamps and "War Stamp" (correctly used); others with only "War Stamps" (incorrect usage), but yet managed to pass through the postal system &, of course, covers produced for philatelic purposes.
Then a letter addressed to Paris on 7th May 1940 – marked "No Service; Return to Sender" – the Second World War now caused problems. Mail to Fiji at this time marked "delayed" &, of course, censored. Many examples of Civil Censorship were displayed on covers to and from Fiji. Most interesting to view was the US Military "V Mail" – when a letter would be censored, copied on to microfilm and printed back to paper upon arrival at its destination. The main problem with this method was that the printed copy was rather small to read – but it did deter espionage.
In 1941 labels were issued for the "Fiji Bomber Fund" – these costing a few pence but used to fund the purchase of aircraft for the war effort. Also fascinating were the labels "Fiji Gifts to Britain" – used, immediately after the war, on parcels of locally grown fruit sent to the UK!
Members were interested to learn that as all Fiji coins were minted in London war made delivery difficult - so ‘Emergency Money’ was issued to cover the problem – some examples of the printed paper note (for 1penny) were displayed.
In 1979, Fiji issued "definitive" stamps illustrating public buildings. When the President visited Fiji in the summer of 2019 – he photographed these same buildings – many of which had changed their purpose. He ended his display with a further display of photgraphs –wearing a very colourful Fijian (Bula) shirt!
Past President, Terry Woods, led members in giving warm thanks to Andy Napier for giving a thoroughly interesting presentation about a Pacific country few members knew much about.
Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 20th September, 2019, at 7:30pm when members look forward to welcoming visitors from the Edinburgh Philatelic Society.
Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.