We are very sad indeed to have to record the passing on August 29 of Lars Ålund, retired Lord Chief Justice of Sweden, a Circle Life Member, indefatigable postmark researcher and a good friend to us all. Our great sympathies go to his wife Monika.
Born on August 27, 1918, of an old Stockholm family, he spent most of his life as a judge in Stockholm and Gothenburg and died at dawn two days after his 94th birthday. As ESC member 105 he joined the Circle in the late 1950s, and only our former President, Professor Peter Smith (ESC 74), has been a member for longer.
Far from the London centre and busy with his important work, Lars was nevertheless able to keep in close touch with the Officers by correspondence (no email in those days!). It is typical that his first, brief, article for the QC, in June 1971, brought members' attention to half a dozen updated records for the Hotels postmark study recently published by Jean Boulad d'Humières and describing two new sub-types for the Shepheards Hotel No 1 marking.
Though his interest in Egypt and its philately was wide-ranging, his enormous attention to detail allowed him to spot varieties of both stamp and postmark missed by others, and many more updates were to follow. Noting that the classical-period postmarks had been thoroughly dealt with by Seymour Blomfield and later Peter Feltus, Lars chose to concentrate on the post-1879 markings
In October 1981, after being out of contact with three eye operations, he gave a talk on Egypt to the Royal Philatelic Society in London; and followed up with postmark details, based on his own observations of his own collection, covering at first Ship markings, Star & Bridge and Seamen's Home. I am happy to acknowledge the great help he gave me with my Rural Posts study.
Lars attended the international London 1990 with his wife Monika, also a judge, and 55 other members and guests - and Samir Fikry's invitation there led to our grand tour of Egypt in which many of us exhibited at Cairo 91 in an atmosphere of happy good fellowship throughout. The organisers put on many a sightseeing opportunity, and no one who was there will forget the cheerful determination with which Lars - then 71 - set off to clamber through the internal tunnels of the Great Pyramid. He emerged some fairly considerable time later, grimy and tired, but delighted to have conquered the burial place of Cheops.
After retirement, there followed a flood of detailed drawings from about 1993 updating our postal marking records, starting with A for Arrival, and continuing through Cash, Customs, Delivery, Information offices, Printed Matter and Departure. Anyone studying these areas must start with Lars's articles... A bound copy of his collection was donated to the Circle Library in 1993.
Lars and Monika were also active in the Commandery of St Sigfrid section of the Grand Priory of Sweden, and in October 2005 was invested as Knight of Grace, a distinction now echoed by his wife as Dame Commander of the section.
Lars and Monika endeared themselves to all who were at Cairo 91, and beyond that Lars, as contributor to the QC and the Auction, played a full part in the life of the Circle over more than half a century. We are sad to have lost one of our Life Members, but proud to record that he was one of our most treasured colleagues.