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Oceania/Australia : 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

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lasaboy
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23 Jan 2013
09:42:41pm
This issue is known as the Australian Imperial Forces stamp, four values were issued in May, 1940 (1d green, 2d scarlet, 3d blue, 6d brown). They portray a nurse in service uniform surmounting the figures of an Australian sailor, soldier and airman. The design was taken from a drawing by Virgil Reilly. He used his wife as model for the nurse.

The sailor was Charles Henry Bruce RAN who was killed in the Atlantic in 1942.
The soldier was Gavan Reilly, the son of the artist, who was killed at Buna on the north coast of New Guinea in 1942.
The airman was Squadron Leader Arthur Norman Wright RAAF who was killed in the skies over England in 1941.

There are a number of details available,(a number of them quite wrong) the basic design was from a Sydney Women’s Weekly Cover produced by the Sydney artist Virgil Reilly, but the Note Printing Branch designer/engraver F.D. Manley made a number of basic alterations to the design and in the case of the service personnel, photographs of three servicemen were used as models for the three service figures for the end stamp design.

The original listings which came from (it appears) details supplied by the Collas Stamp Monthly in 1944, the people in Virgil Reilly's picture were shown as Gavin Reilly (soldier) son of Virgil Reilly, Charles Bruce (sailor), Arthur N. Ride (airman) and the nurse was Virgil Reilly's wife. In fact Arthur Ride does not exist in any RAAF personnel records, but there was an A.N. Wright who served and was shot down in 1941, Service Number - 62893, the information it seems was relayed via telephone so it is quite plausible that Arthur Norman Wright was understood as Arthur Norman Ride.

I was wondering if anyone had any other details?

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jillcrow
24 Jan 2013
06:10:43am
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

Here's a link to the cover of the Australian Women's Weekly for October 21, 1939. This was the starting point for the design of the set of stamps.
Perhaps Larry could show what the stamps look like.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/aww/read/204249#page/1/mode/1up

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cdj1122
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24 Jan 2013
04:12:37pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

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lasaboy
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24 Jan 2013
05:00:22pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

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Images as requested

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lasaboy
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24 Jan 2013
05:08:29pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

This is the original cover for the WW, the copy comes from a Library image dated, I am told 18 October 1945Image Not Found

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lisagrant87
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24 Jan 2013
07:49:30pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

I just mounted three of these in my album this past weekend! I love hearing the history and they are beautiful stamps. I found them at the bottom of a "grab bag" of Australian stamps. What a find!

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lasaboy
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30 Jan 2013
08:08:21pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

More to this saga, I have information supplied from the actual military records stating the three servicemen were in fact identified from those military records,
and I quote:

"there was also a notation in the RAAF personnel file of Squadron Leader A.N. Hicks, (NAA: A9300 Hicks A.N.) in the form of penciled notes mentioning Reilly and Bruce and naming the airman as ‘A. N. Wright RAAF killed 1941 over England'."

But there is more, I am also waiting on details from the Australia Post Archives stating that, and again I quote:

"The design prepared by the Note Printing Branch followed the same general theme (i.e. of the Virgil Reilly illustration) but was much changed in detail. Photographs of servicemen were used (two - the soldier and airmen - were actually members of the Note Printing Branch staff) . . . It has sometimes been stated that the three men depicted on the stamp were all killed in action. However, the figures in the design were not intended to portray particular persons but were representative of the resolve and integrity of the services. It may be remarked that the three men who posed for the photographs used by the Note Printing Branch all survived the war."

the notation comes from the "Australian Commemorative and Air Mail Stamps 1927 to 1951", published by the Australian Post Office in the early 1970s, written (but not acknowledged) by Kevin McKay, head of the Philatelic Group at the time, and the information based on the Postmaster-General's Department files, now in the custody of National Archives of Australia.
Although this information was never verified, it has left me in a quandary.

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lasaboy
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01 Feb 2013
09:50:18pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

Australian Imperial Forces 1940

This release the Australian Imperial Forces issue, has had many articles written and much information passed around, a large amount of it completely wrong. This gambit into the past began with an email from Professor Cameron Hazelhurst (Australian National University), who requested my aid on this 1940 issue as he was researching into Squadron Leader A. N. Hicks and his link to this issue as the model for the airman.
I replied with these basic details as I knew them: The basic design was from a Sydney Women’s Weekly Cover produced by the Sydney artist Virgil Reilly, but the Note Printing Branch designer/engraver F.D. Manley made a number of basic alterations to the design and in the case of the service men he used photographs of three servicemen as models for the three service figures for the end stamp design. The people in Virgil Reilly's picture are known and they are Gavin Reilly (soldier), Charles Bruce (sailor), Arthur Ride (airman) and the nurse was Virgil Reilly's wife.
Further research came up with details that stated the soldier was Gavan (spelling error) Reilly, the son of the artist, who was killed at Buna Mission, Papua on the north coast of what is now New Guinea in 1941. The airman was Squadron Leader Arthur Norman Ride RAAF who was killed in the skies over England in 1941. The sailor was Leading Seaman Charles Henry Bruce RAN of the British ship Ceramic, who was killed in the Atlantic in 1942. Professor Hazelhurst responded with; "In S/L Hick’s file (NAA: A9300 Hick A.N.) there are some pencilled notes that list Reilly and Bruce but name the airman as ‘A. N. Wright RAAF killed 1941 over England. It appears that the information came from the Collas Stamp Monthly in 1944. As the information might have been gathered by phone I suppose it is possible that ‘Ride’ became ‘Wright’ or vice versa. However there is no A.N. Ride in the RAAF personnel records. There is an Arthur Norman Wright and he was an airman which seems more likely than an officer since the others in the picture are not officers.
Service Details: WRIGHT ARTHUR NORMAN: Service Number - 62893 : Date of birth - 11 Mar 1907 : Place of birth - MARRICKVILLE NSW : Place of enlistment - SYDNEY : Next of Kin - WRIGHT DOROTHY"
I then made an inquiry with AusPost (over another matter) and they were not only forthcoming with that inquiry, but also with a transcript from the archives dealing with this matter and here I quote;
'I suggest you consult the booklet "Australian Commemorative and Air Mail Stamps 1927 to 1951", published by the Australian Post Office in the early 1970s. Under the 1940 AIF issue it is stated:
The design prepared by the Note Printing Branch followed the same general theme (i.e. of the Virgil Reilly illustration) but was much changed in detail. Photographs of servicemen were used (two - the soldier and airmen - were actually members of the Note Printing Branch staff) . . . It has sometimes been stated that the three men depicted on the stamp were all killed in action. However, the figures in the design were not intended to portray particular persons but were representative of the resolve and integrity of the services. It may be remarked that the three men who posed for the photographs used by the Note Printing Branch all survived the war.
I could add that the booklet was written (but not acknowledged) by Kevin McKay, head of the Philatelic Group at the time and the information based on the Postmaster-General's Department files, now in the custody of National Archives of Australia. Although I do not have any way of proving the point I suspect the information about the source of the stamp design might have been obtained directly from the designer and engraver, Frank Manley.' unquote

What I believe is that Virgil Reilly did the original design based on portrait’s of the servicemen (included his son and his wife as the nurse), then Frank D. Manley, (the Designer/Engraver at the time) took that cover and reworked it using three servicemen from his department, (hence the notes in this booklet), that would explain both these notes and the notes in Squadron Leader R.A. Hicks service record.

The original Australian Women’s Weekly was released on 21 October, 1939; the new stamps were released on 15 July, 1940. All images shown above (in previous posts), but not including two preliminary designs listed below


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lisagrant87
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It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. - Aristotle Onassis
02 Feb 2013
05:54:44pm
re: 1940 Australian Imperial Forces Stamp

Awesome history lesson! Thank you!

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