Sunday, 19 April 2015

To the Rescue

This commemorative sheet (along with a stamp set) was issued for the 150th anniversary of the International Red Cross and released in May 2013 to coincide with the month of the island's liberation by British troops in 1945.

The ship is the 'Vega' built in Gothenburg (1913) and chartered from Svea Lines by the International Red Cross in World War 2 for their relief work.  It provided a vital link to the islanders when Germany occupied the Channel Islands in 1940 by enabling them to keep in contact with their families. They were allowed to mail 25 word messages (which were only to concern family matters) and taken by the Red Cross from Jersey to Geneva and then distributed from there to the addressees.  It also carried vital medical supplies.  In 1944 when the Allies started the D Day landings and began the final push into Europe the Vega also prevented the islanders from starvation in the last year of the war with food parcels which were brought from the British Commonwealth supply stores in Lisbon.  The painting, by the stamp designer Nick Shewring, shows the arrival of Vega into the harbour at St Helier at the end of 1944.

With the end of war in Europe the Vega, loaded with general cargo, set sail for her home port of Stockholm and was the first ship to arrive there from London after the war. Returned  to her owners, Svea Line, she would be scrapped at Travemunde in 1954 but  never forgotten by the inhabitants of Jersey for it also appeared on a set commemorating the 25th anniversary of liberation issued in 1970 which were given to all Jersey school children. 
1995: "Peace and Freedom"
The stamp above "symbolises the role of the British Red Cross Society (founded in 1870) in providing impartial care to people in need and in crisis, at home and abroad, in peace and in war". The design is by the Belgium artist Jean-Michel Folon. 
2001: Outback Services
Journeying to a much larger island with a smaller organisation responding to emergencies; this one travels in the remote Australian outback and it is the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDC).  A charitable organisation that provides emergency medical and primary health care services.  Established in 1928 it developed into a national service in the 1930s and the cancel couldn't be farther away from the sea of the first stamp for it is the famous town in the centre of Australia
Alice Springs. The graphic designer is Lynda Warner and all the stamps in the set show panoramic vistas with a symbolic graphic icon for the outback service portrayed.

An entry to Violet Sky's Sunday Stamps II theme - Health, medical or red cross - lots more here



FinnBadger said...

Great set of stamps.

I think the postmark for the Flying Doctor stamp issue is very nicely done.

Bob Scotney said...

Great choices; I overlooked that British Red Cross stamp. I used to watch the TV series on the Flying Doctors avidly.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I must go around with my eyes closed because I don't remember the 1995 stamp at all. I particularly like the Jersey sheet and stamp.

♥ Willa ♥ said...

You have a nice set here with a lot of stories to tell.

violet s said...

I also watched the tv series on the Flying Doctors (for the brief and intermittent time is twas available). I remember reading a book about them when I was sick as a child and becoming forever fascinated with the concept.

My apologies for not being set up and ready on Sunday - internet problems that are now fixed.