Monthly Archives: August 2018

Motor Ship Selandia

On June 14, 1962, Denmark issued a stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Motor Ship Selandia. The Selandia is often referred to as the worlds first diesel-powered ship.

Constructed by Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen the Selandia was ordered by the East Asiatic Company. She was launched on November 4, 1911, and completed during February 1912.

The Selandia was 370′ long with a beam (width) of 53′. Weighing in at 6,800 tons DWT (dead weight). Her 2 M.A.N., 8 cylinder four-cycle diesel engines provide 1,250 hp each providing the Selandia 12 knots of speed.

Constructed to serve in both cargo and passenger service the Selandia had 20 luxurious first class cabins along with many single berth cabins with a washroom for every two cabins. All cabins were described as very ample or of exceptional size.

She sailed between Scandinavia, Genoa and Bangkok and was eventually sold to Panama in 1936. Where she was renamed Norseman and then as the Tornator in 1940.

In January 1942 she ran aground off the coast of Omaisaka, Japan and became a total loss. The Selandia was a ship that changed the future of shipping and marine technology.


Robertson Davies

Originally published March 10, 2014.

On August 28, 2013, Canada Post issued a stamp to commemorate the celebrated Canadian author Robertson Davies.  Davies was also a playwright, journalist, critic and professor.

Davies was born on August 28, 1913, in Thamesville Ontario. His father was a newspaper man and both his father and mother were avid readers. Davies attended Upper Canada College (UCC) when he was 13 and after graduating from UCC in 1932 he attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario as a special student not working towards a degree.

He left Queens for Balliol College in Oxford, England and received his Bachelor of Literature in 1938. After graduation, Davies began an acting career and did literary work for the Old Vic Repertory Company. During this period Davies also met his future wife and married her. In 1940 he returned to Canada and became the literary editor of the magazine Saturday Night.

In 1942 he became editor of the Peterborough Examiner a position which he held until 1955 (He was the publisher from 1955-1965). During his time at the Examiner, Davies wrote a number of plays, humorous essays and fiction novels. He was also a key player in the establishment of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival.

In 1960 he became a professor at Trinity College, University of Toronto (U of T) teaching literature until 1981. While at U of T, he became the Master of Massey College the U of T’s new graduate college. After his retirement, Davies continued to write and lecture up until his death on December 5th, 1995.

A listing of all his works can be found on Wikipedia.


First Polar Flight

Originally published March 5, 2014.

On April 10, 1938, the USSR issued a set of 4 stamps to commemorate the first transpolar flight that was completed between the 18th and 20th of June 1937. The stamps issued in 10k, 20k, 40k and 50k denominations the set all has the same design featuring the 3 aviators who flew on the flight with a map and the route taken.

The flight departed Moscow’s Shchelkovo airport at dawn on the 20th of June in an ANT-25 monoplane with pilot Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov as co-pilot and Alexander Belyakov as navigator. The trio were all experienced cold weather flyers who were decorated pilots for their flying in the polar regions of the Soviet Union in the ANT-25.

For the first 24 hours of the flight, very few people were aware of the flight due to security and the paranoia that existed in the USSR at the time. Once word got out however the world was enthralled and everyone was looking to get more information on how the flight was progressing.

The first 24 hours of the flight has been described as routine. The rest of the flight, however, tested the skill and ability of the experienced crew. As the plane came nearer to the North Pole it’s magnetic compass became useless and the crew had to navigate by dead reckoning. The weather was not cooperating with them either. The strong headwinds and storms slowed the flights progress increased the fuel consumption. The dangerous icing led to the freezing of most of the liquids on the plane, including the engine coolant. Through the crew’s ingenuity, they used their stored urine to solve this problem.

After crossing the North Pole, the crew flew over Canada’s north using dead reckoning as their method of navigation. Eventually, a Canadian signal Corps post in the North West Territories heard the aircraft and contact was made. Based on information from the crew the advised that they would have to put down between Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California depending on the fuel that they had. To avoid further heavy storms they turned the plane west to continue their journey over the Canadian Rockies and down the Pacific coast.

Just over Eugene, Oregon the ANT-25 developed a problem with its fuel pump and the crew decided to land in Portland. After descending through the clouds and rain Chkalov saw large numbers of spectators waiting for them to land. Fearing that the crowds would damage the plane similar to what happened to Lindhberg when he arrived in Paris, the pilot decided to land at the military airfield across the river in Vancouver, Washington. Upon landing in Vancouver it was discovered they had 11 gallons of fuel left after travelling 5,288 miles in 63 hours and 16 minutes.


HMS Barbados

Originally published April 4, 2013.

The Barbados issued the 35 cent HMS Barbados stamp on August 16th, 1994 as one of a set of fourteen ships stamps issued.

Originally ordered as a patrol gunboat by the US Navy as the USS Halsted, she was reclassified as a patrol frigate of the Tacoma class and laid down in May 1943 at the Walsh-Kaiser Company of Providence, Rhode Island. The ship was renamed HMS Barbados once it was intended to be transferred to the Royal Navy as a Colony class frigate. Launched on the 27th of August, 1943 she was officially transferred to the Royal Navy under a lend-lease agreement in December 1943.

The Barbados displacement was 1,190 tonnes with a length overall of 303 feet 11 inches. She had a beam of 37 feet 6 inches wide and a draft of 13 feet 8 inches (how deep She sat in the water). Her three boilers powered her 2, 5500 shp turbines and shafts to a speed of 20 knots.

She was armed with Three 3″/50 calibre dual purpose gun mounts, two twin 40mm gun mounts, nine 20mm guns, one Hedgehog depth charge projector, eight Y-gun depth charge projectors and two depth charge racks. The Barbados had a complement of 190 sailors and officers.

During her service with the Royal Navy, the Barbados had two commanding officers: Lieutenant Commander Erik George Donald, RNVR and Lieutenant Arthur Horace Kent, DSC, RD, RNR.

In April 1946 the Barbados was returned to the US Navy and in 1947 she was sold for scrapping.


HMAS Australia

Originally published March 3, 2014.

An Indefatigable class battle cruiser, HMAS Australia, was commissioned June 21, 1913, and became the flagship of the Australian Navy.

Laid down on the 26th of June 1910 at John Brown and Company HMAS Australia was launched on October 25th 1911. Displacing a maximum 22, 130 long tons, She was 590 feet long with a beam of 80 feet. Her steam turbines produced 55, 000 shp and could propel Australia at a top speed just under 27 knots. She could travel 6,690 nautical miles at a speed of 10 knots. She carried a complement of 820 men

Australia was armed with 8 – 12-inch guns mounted in twin turrets (4 sets), 16 – 4-inch guns and 2 torpedo tubes located below the waterline. In 1915 and 1917 she was fitted with anti-aircraft guns. She was also used in the role of naval aviation, carrying two aircraft. There was 4 to 6 inches of armour around her Hull and between 4 to 10 inches on her conning tower.



HMAS Australia served in home waters and toured many Australian ports in her first year of service to ‘advertise’ the new Australian Navy to the widest possible audience. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Australia was to protect home waters but was given the freedom to search and engage any German warships. She pursued the Graf Spee and her crew were not happy that they did not get to engage any German battleships.

For the majority of the war, the Australia operated in the North Sea and served with the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron. This squadron was tasked with protecting the British Isles from German naval activity. The only time she fired her guns at the enemy while serving with this squadron was at a suspected enemy submarine on the 30th of December 1917.

At the end of the First World War, HMAS Australia was tasked with meeting, escorting and serving as guardship to the German fleet. On April 22, 1919 the Australia sailed for home waters and arrived at Fremantle on the 28th of May 1919. In 1920 she was used as a gunnery and torpedo training ship. In 1921 she was placed in reserve and as a result of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, she was scuttled.

My Latest 1 Page Exhibit

Originally published October 1, 2013.

It is time for another exhibit at Stampbears (new home This time it is a one-pager where stamps are used to illustrate the poem. Below is my entry:

The thread at Stampbears can be found here:


Well, the competition ended and I came third.  I was happy with the overall design of the page.  Please leave your comments below to let me know what you think I could do to improve the page.

Poland Goes Luna “16”

Originally published January 28, 2013.

On November 20th, 1970 Poland issued a sheet of 8, 2.50 zloty, stamps to commemorate the Russian Luna 16 unmanned moon mission.

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land and return from the moon with a lunar soil sample.  It was the third mission overall to return samples (The first were Apollo 11 and 12) to Earth and the first for the Russian Space Program.

Launched from the Baikonaur Cosmodrome on September 12, 1976, Luna 16 started its descent to the Moon on the 20th of September 1970, it landed on the lunar surface approximately 100 km East of Webbs Crater, in the Sea of Fertility.  Within an hour of landing the probe began drilling into the lunar soil to collect a soil sample.  After reaching a depth of 35cm (13.77 inches), a soil sample weighing 101 grams (roughly the weight of king-size chocolate bar) was taken and placed in the probe.

On the 21st of September, more than 26 hours on the surface of the Moon the upper stage of the Luna 16 probe departed the Moon.  Landing in Kazakhstan on the 24th of September Luna 16 brought its sample back to be analyzed.

Three soil samples from Luna 16 were sold at auction by Sothebys for $442,500 in 1993.


The October Revolution

Originally published January 19, 2013.

Here is a brief exhibit I put together for a competition at Stamp Bears, which is one of the best philatelic forums out there.  You can visit the exhibit on the site by clicking here:

It is not an exhaustive display of all the stamps that relate to the revolution but was thrown together to show some of the issues from the USSR extolling the virtues of the Russian Revolution.  Below are the 5 pages, 4 display plus one cover.  The intent of these competitions is to demonstrate history through stamps.

I hope you enjoy the exhibit and please leave your comments letting me know what you think.  And please visit and join Stamp Bears, they can be found at

C/O CJOB – Radio Mail

Originally published November 4, 2012.

Many of us have heard a radio announcer say “Send your name and address to …”  The below covers were sent to Winnipeg radio station CJOB in 1962 after hearing the announcer say something very similar.

The above cover franked with a 4 cent Queen Elizabeth the Second cent covering the first class local letter rate.  I imagine that Christie’s Hamper is much like the current hampers that people pay towards all year to have a ‘hamper’ full of food at Christmas.  Perhaps they were giving a few away and a loyal listener wrote in hoping to win it.

Below are a couple of other covers complete with their contents sent into Christie’s C/O CJOB.


I believe the George referred to above is George McLoy who worked at the station from 1946 to 1987, an astonishing 41 years on the Air.  He hosted the Ladies Choice Program.

Saran Wrap had a contest on the station as well.  This is demonstrated in the below 2 covers


Royal Upholsters had a contest as well:

The final cover I have addressed to CJOB is for the Robin Hood Rocking Chair contest.

CJOB was created by Jack Blick in 1945 to provide  JOBs for people returning from serving in World War II.


The Grey Cup – The Game

Originally published August 28, 2012.

Following my post last week on the Grey Cup Trophy, today I will detail some of the histories on the Game.
The first Grey Cup Game was played on December 4, 1909, between the University of Toronto Blues and the Parkdale Canoe Club,  the Varsity Blues won the game 26 – 6.  Since then 99 Games have been held with the 100th being played November 24, 2012.


I will detail a brief history of the current CFL Teams Grey Cup history below.
The BC Lions have made 10 appearances in the Grey Cup and have walked away with the trophy on 6 occasions.  Depicted on the Stamp above is a shot from the 82nd Grey Cup, where BC’s Lui Passaglia kicked the winning field goal keeping the Grey Cup in Canada.  Pictured on the foreground of the stamp is Geroy Simon.
Calgary Stampeders

The Calgary Stampeders have played in 12 Grey Cup games and have brought the trophy home on 6 occasions.  Represented on the stamp above is a picture from their 1948 Grey Cup win.  What was notable about this Grey Cup game, was not only Calgary’s perfect season but their fans that turned the game into a festival.  The foreground features “Thumper” Wayne Harris.
Edmonton Eskimos
Bringing home the cup on 13 of their 22 appearances, the Edmonton Eskimos have the longest consecutive Grey Cup winning streak of 5 in a row.  Between 1978 and 1982, the Eski’s under the leadership of Tom Wilkinson and Warren Moon were the CFL’s dynasty team.  Their 5 in a row record has yet to be broken and it seems that it will stand the test of time.  Featured in the foreground of the stamp is Tom Wilkinson.
Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Roughriders have won 3 of their 15 Grey Cup appearances.  Their 1989 winning performance is referred to as a ‘true classic’.  With the game tied at 40 points each, Saskatchewan’s kicker Dave Ridgway was successful on his 35-yard field goal attempt.  Pictured in the foreground is George Reed.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg has travelled to the Grey Cup game 24 times.  On 10 occasions they have won the Grey Cup.  During the 50th Grey Cup game, played at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, the fog began to roll in and with 9 minutes left, the game was suspended due to poor visibility with score 28-27 for Winnipeg over Hamilton.  The next afternoon the game resumed and with neither team scoring Winnipeg won the “Fog Bowl”.  Ken Ploen is featured on the foreground of the stamp.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Winning 8 of their Grey Cup appearances, the Tiger-Cats call Hamilton home.  Playing in the 60th Grey Cup game at home, with the game tied 19-year-old Ian Sunter Kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Tiger-Cats over Saskatchewan to win the cup.  Danny McManus is pictured in the foreground.
Toronto Argonauts
The Argo’s are the Grey Cup’s most winning team notching 15 wins out of their 21 appearances.  One of their most famous wins is the 1950 win over Blue Bombers.  Played at Varsity Stadium in Toronto the game was completely rain-soaked and the game was immediately referred to as the “Mud Bowl”.  Micheal ‘Pinball’ Clemons is pictured in the foreground.
Montreal Alouettes
Winning 7 of their 18 Grey Cup appearances on the Alouettes’ most memorable games was the 1977 game played at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.  Dubbed the “Ice Bowl” after attempts to melt the snow on the field failed and the resultant water turned to into a sheet of ice.  Montreal defensive back, Tony Proudfoot, used staples on the bottom of his and his teammates shoes to gain traction resulting in Montreal’s victory.  Pictured in the foreground is Anthony Calvillo.
Below is a list of all the Grey Cup winners and the number of times they have won the cup.
Toronto Argonauts 15
Edmonton Eskimos 13
Winnipeg ‘Pegs / Blue Bombers 10
Ottawa Rough Riders 9
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 8
Montreal Alouettes 7
Calgary Stampeders 6
BC Lions 6
Hamilton Tigers 5
University of Toronto Varsity Blues 4
Queen’s University 3
Regina / Saskatchewan Roughriders 3
Toronto Balmy Beach 2
Sarnia Imperials 2
Baltimore Stallions 1
Hamilton Flying Wildcats 1
Hamilton Alerts 1
Montreal AAA Winged Wheelers 1
St. Hyacinthe-Donnacona Navy 1
Toronto RCAF Hurricanes 1