|Report of the Meeting, November 6 2010
PRESENT: Twelve members and one guest were present; apologies for absence were received from four members.
In view of the late arrival of the Chairman, who later revealed that he had been "train-napped", the Deputy Chairman welcomed those present, and wished us all an early but nonetheless welcome greeting for the forthcoming holiday period and for a prosperous and peaceful New Year.
He opened the meeting by detailing the five immediately imminent auctions of late members' material coming up in Europe and, while regretting the loss of such senior members as Anatole Ott, Mohamed Adel Farid, Luca Biolato and Dennis Clarke, wished members well with their bidding.
The meeting then heard of a newly published full-colour new Egypt stamp and postal stationery catalogue, in two volumes, produced after 20 years work by Magdi Moukhtar Abdel-Hadi, a leading member of the Philatelic Society of Egypt and also one of our own members (ESC 445). The book, Egypt Stamps Handbook, aims to follow on from Zeheri by illustrating every flaw and variety in colour, and won a Large Vermeil in Portugal.
The Deputy Chairman took this opportunity to congratulate Mike Murphy and Ibrahim Shoukry on their similar award of a Large Vermeil (87 points) for their book Egypt: The Rural Post, which was made at the Johannesburg International Exhibition last month.
The Secretary then reminded members about meetings for 2011, mentioning again the change of some arrangements in an attempt to attract more members to the meetings. The first of these changed patterns comes up quite quickly - the first meeting of the year is January 8, when the topic will be "TPOs Bring and Show", the idea being that members who have material to show, even in comparatively small amounts, should be encouraged to bring it along for a series of displays and discussions of the material and its treatment. Bearing in mind that Peter Smith's seminal TPOs book was published in 12983, there is a lot of catching up to do, and it is surely time for a second bit at the publishing cherry.
A similar meeting will be held at Stampex on September 17, with the theme "Post-Monarchy", that is, anything subsequent to the fall of Farouk.
Membership applications were then received and accepted from David Worrollo, who was present as a visitor, and from Dr Robert Pinent of Ottawa. A third application was held over to the January meeting for further consideration.
The Treasurer reminded members that annual subscription for 2011 was due on January 1, and said how much early payment was appreciated, coupled with a warning that payments not made by the date of the Annual Meeting (February 26) might result in membership being terminated.
The President, on behalf of the Auction committee, announced that volunteers were still being sought to carry out some of the work, and that as a result the first Auction for the year would be delayed from its normal April/May date to perhaps May/June.
We then moved on to the meeting display, "Military in Egypt, 1882-1982" by Edmund Hall (ESC 239) He started by acknowledging the help Dennis Clarke had given him, many years ago, as a philatelic novice and said how much he would have liked Dennis to see the display. With over 200 sheets it was taken at a bit of a gallop over five sessions. Starting with the British occupation of 1882, Edmund showed various covers with the British Army postmarks. Covers from the Egyptian Army in the Sudan were shown, including the bisected postage due and 3 millièmes surcharge on the 2pi postage due. Next, covers from the Army of Occupation using the civil post office. Two covers were shown of other countries' forces passing though the Canal, one being from Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet.
The First World War was represented by covers from the troops of Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Italy as well as from Turkish, German and Austrian forces in the Sinai. One cover was from the expedition to pacify Darfur in 1916. Examples of PoW mail from Turks and Germans held in Egypt included one from a civilian internee. Immediately postwar there were two covers of the EFF emergency air mail and a postcard from a member of the Czech legion when they were transported from Vladivostok back to Europe via Egypt after the collapse of the White armies.
The interwar years covered the concession period, including the "small Farouk green" on cover. Edmund joked that while these covers are well sought-after with a price to match, he referred to them as quite common compared to many of the other items shown.
The Second World War started with a quick review of the change of postmark, the E-series, EPP and FPOs of the British. While the forces of the Anzacs, with their changes in postmarks, South Africans, Indians etc were shown, emphasis was given to the other forces involved. Among these were the Free French and Belgian forces (both displayed with covers with their own registration labels), Sudanese, the Palestine regiment, the British-formed Libyan army, Poles and Czechs, even pioneers from Mauritius. Covers were also shown of the Italian Army and the German Army on Egyptian soil.
Immediately postwar there were examples of the PoW working parties (see QC 233), followed by pioneer companies from Africa that replaced the Germans PoWs, and then FPOs of the British up to the evacuation. Edmund showed the two Krag machine cancels and pointed out two distinct Krag 1 strikes which he was unaware had been reported.
The 1948 war was illustrated by Egyptian and Israeli covers with military markings, and the 1967 and 1973 wars were similarly represented. Two covers, one each from 1948 and 1967, were from Israeli PoWs held by the Egyptians which, by their very nature, are seldom seen. The Egyptian Army was represented by the change of FPOs with the diamond type of the Forties and the large eight-sided type found on covers of the 1948 war. The transformation of the large FPO gradually being reduced in size until it ended as the octagon type of the Fifties. Covers from the Yemen were shown with this type of marking.
The UNEF were represented, including the interesting Swedish forces cover with a built-in stamp that the recipient solder could cut out to send a letter back. Edmund ended with some covers of the MFO, including one from British Forces celebrating the centenary 1882-1982. He pointed out that such a cover from Egypt was surprising, imagining that it celebrated the 100 years since the British conquest and how that could cause some embarrassment with Egyptian authorities. It was some time before he realised that the centenary in question was in fact that of the British Army Post Office, which was first raised for the 1882 campaign.
A tailpiece concerned the biannual joint military exercises under the name Bright Star that have been held in Egypt jointly between Egyptian, American and European forces in the Western Desert. Edmund said that he had seen no philatelic evidence in 20 years of searching. But he only that week obtained a postmark of the French on the 2001 Bright Star event: there must be more to find!
The Chairman thanked Edmund for a "quite fantastic" display of staggering breadth and content, admitting that he was not in any way a "military" collector but that the material on show had been put together in such a brilliant way that even he understood and appreciated it! The meeting ended in Christmas and New Year greetings all round.
Also a registration label of the A.I.F.