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.

Army

Six stamps depicting men and women in the British Army throughout the years in different uniforms.

British Army Uniforms, Stamp Set, 2007

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.

Two paintings depicting a Grenadier in a long red jacket and a Artillery Observer in a fur lines jacket and metal hat.

Original paintings of a Grenadier and Artillery Observer by Graham Turner, 2006

Further images of women in the British Army featured inside the issued Presentation Pack. These show the differences between their daily and combat uniform.

A painting depicting 4 women in different British Army dress, two in trousers and two in skirts.

Original painting of female positions and uniforms in the British Army by Graham Turner

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.

A painting of a 95th Rifleman's haversack and illustrations of more equipment within the Presentation Pack.

Original artwork of a Rifleman’s haversack and the extra information found in the Presentation Pack.

Royal Air Force

Six stamps that depict men and women performing different roles throughout the years by members of the Royal Air Force.

Uniforms of the RAF, Stamp Set, 2008

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.

A painting of the head and shoulders of a black Lancaster Air Gunner with hat and goggles.

Detail of the original painting of a Lancaster Air Gunner by Graham Turner

You can see that the artwork slightly differs from what was issued but they both show the gunner making his way to the plane.

A painting of a black Lancaster Air Gunner in a thick yellow flight suit carrying a bag.

Full-length image of a Lancaster Air Gunner by Graham Turner.

Navy

Six stamps depicting men and women throughout the years performing different roles in the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy Uniforms, Stamp Set, 2009

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.

Two paintings of a Flight Deck officer in a yellow jacket holding flags and a women in a navy blue jacket and skirt holding a gas mask.

Original painting of a Flight Deck Officer and a Second Officer WRNS by Graham Turner

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.

Printed image of an Admiral's epaulettes and information found within the issues Presentation Pack.

Extra information on Naval Dress, Presentation Pack. 2009

A painting of the head and shoulders of an Navy Admiral with blue and gold hat.

Detail of the original painting of a Navy Admiral by Graham Turner

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)