Finest Hour 141, Winter 2008-09
Philately – “The King’s Ships Were at Sea”
History in Churchill-related stamp
By Max E. Hertwig
Since its inception in 1968 the Winston Churchill Study Unit promoted collecting “Churchill-related” stamps alongside Churchill commemoratives to create philatelic biographies. Here are three pages which illustrate the dramatic naval events of 1914 using four Churchill stamps and fifteen “Churchill-related.”
At the end of July 1914, Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty sent the Fleet to its battle station in Scapa Flow, “eighteen miles of warships running at high speed in absolute blackness” up the English Channel (right).
On 1 November the Royal Navy lost two capital ships and 1500 lives to German Admiral von Spee’s squadron off Coronel, Chile. But Churchill ordered Admiral Sturdee to pursue von Spee around Cape Horn, and in December, when he sailed into the Atlantic, all but one of his ships were sunk. At lower left is Spee’s route across the Pacific, with German, British and French stamps postmarked along the way. Stamps at lower right show a map of the area and commemorate the victory in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.