To mark Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June we look at uniforms of the armed forces.
For 3 years from 2007 to 2009 Royal Mail focused on military uniforms, looking at contemporary servicemen and women’s wear, and uniforms worn in past conflicts.
The artist behind the designs was Graham Turner. Here he has depicted a Grenadier from the Battle of Blenheim in his red jacket and an Artillery Observer from WWI in a warmer fur lined jacket.
Further images of women in the British Army featured inside the issued Presentation Pack. These show the differences between their daily and combat uniform.
Within the Presentation Pack is information about the ‘Rifleman’. The information describes the items they had to carry. This shows you that stamp designers can also be asked to contribute to the products produced.
Royal Air Force
The below image depicts the flight suit of a Lancaster Air Gunner from 1944. This job was extremely dangerous and many gunners lost their lives in WWII. This thick suit he wears was heated to keep him warm as the gunners were isolated in the turrets.
You can see that the artwork slightly differs from what was issued but they both show the gunner making his way to the plane.
The woman included in the issued set of stamps represents a member of the Women’s Royal Navy Service, commonly known as the Wrens. Her outfit is a smart navy jacket accompanied by a skirt, which can’t have been the easiest to work in.
As you can see in the artwork and in the extra information found in the Presentation Pack Navy Admirals wore gold epaulettes on their shoulders to denote rank, these would be decorated further for each level of Admiral.
Sometimes we forget the amount of work that goes into the design of stamps that adorn our post. Here was a great opportunity to display some beautiful paintings and at the same time acknowledge the men and women that put their lives on the line for our country.
Armed Forces Day is a chance to celebrate these individuals, both in active service or veterans, along with the families that support them. To learn more about the role of the Post Office in wartime click here.
– Georgina Tomlinson (Deputy Curator Philately)