Category Archives: philately

The Edwin Fox

Originally published June 14, 2017.

Built by William Henry Forster in 1853 the Edwin Fox is the world’s second oldest surviving merchant ship and the only remaining example of a ship that transported convicts to Australia.

Made of teak and constructed at Calcutta in West Bengal, the Edwin Fox was built as a standard trader for the East India Company. During her construction she was sold to Sir George Hodgkinson who decided to name her after a well known Quaker from Southhampton.

Her maiden voyage was in 1853 and saw the Edwin Fox sail from Calcutta to London via the Cape of Good Hope. After her arrival in London she served as a Troop Ship transporting British Forces during the Crimean War.

On St. Valentines day 1856 the Edwin Fox left on her first journey to Melbourne, Australia carrying passengers. After this journey she began trading between Chinese ports.

The British Government chartered her as a convict ship in 1858. This saw her transport “convicts” to Fremantle, Western Australia.

Reconfigured to a Barque in 1867 she commenced service on the emigrant route to New Zealand. In this role she carried 751 settlers on journeys that lasted between four to six months.

In the 1880s she was again refitted, this time as a freezer hulk, and was towed to Picton on the South Island of New Zealand.

The Edwin Fox now sits in dry dock in Picton, New Zealand and serves as a museum ship.

Sources: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Fox
http://www.edwinfoxsociety.com
http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/edwinfox.htm

The Black Star Line

Originally published June 10, 2017.

The Ghanan Postal authority issued a set of 3 stamps in 1957 to commemorate the formation of the Black Star Line, Ghana’s national shipping company.

Intended to carry cargoes of equipment and materials to Ghana and sail with Ghanan produce going outward. The company originally operated in concert with Zim Israeli Navigation Company. But in 1960 the Government of Ghana decided to take over the 40% stake that Zim owned.

The first stamp in the set depicts a Viking long ship and is denominated 2½ pence.

The next stamp in the set is denominated 1 shilling 3 pence and features a Galleon.

The last stamp in the set features a representation of the MV Volta River. The stamp is denominated 5 shillings.

The MV Volta River displaced 4,959 gross tons, had a length of 420 feet with a breadth of 56¾ feet. Her draught was 24¼ feet and she had a cruise speed of 11 knots.

Sources: 
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/origins-ghanas-iconic-black-star-line
http://ghana-net.com/black-star-line.html
https://books.google.ca/books?id=T9io2oPOAXAC&pg=PA121&lpg=PA121&dq=ghana+black+star+line+history&source=bl&ots=3V1g6Q1cfw&sig=gAIYAW6_j-Yy5aYd2ww2c9C1mlQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuvPaphLTUAhVGaD4KHS_5AUU4ChDoAQg1MAM#v=onepage&q=ghana%20black%20star%20line%20history&f=false
http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6130&p=9612&hilit=Volta+River#p9612

MV Victoria

Originally published May 6, 2017.

Issued in 1981 as one in a set of 4 commemorating Norwegian lake shipping the Motor Vessel (MVVictoria is featured on the 1k.30 value.

Built in 1882 as a Steam Ship the MV Victoria was converted to diesel propulsion in 1953. She served on the route between Skein to Dalen via the Bandak canal carrying both passengers and cargo until 1956.

The Victoria was extensively rebuilt and re-entered service in 1963 in the tourist trade. The route she operates on is considered one of the most scenic routes in Europe.

The MV Victoria is 152 gross tons with a length of 96½ feet. She has a beam of 18 feet and carries 150 passengers.

Sources: 
http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10165&p=10584&hilit=Victoria#p10584

MF Storegut

Originally published May 6, 2017.

Issued in 1981 as one in a set of 4 commemorating Norwegian lake shipping the Motor Ferry (MFStoregut is featured on the 2k.30 value.

The MF Storegut was constructed as a railway ferry to work on the Tinnsjø railway ferry service on lake Tinn between Tinnoset and Mæl. She was launched on May 25th, 1956. When the Innsjø railway ferry service stopped operating in 1991 she was withdrawn from service. The Storegut is now used for chartered cultural service.

She could transport up to 21 chemical cars and accommodate 400 passengers. 1,119 Tons she was the largest lake ferry when launched. He has a length of 287 feet with a beam of 37 feet. Her draught is 12 feet.

Sources: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MF_Storegut
http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7504&p=7500&hilit=Storegut#p7500

PS Skibladner

Originally published May 5, 2017.

Issued in 1981 as one in a set of 4 commemorating Norwegian lake shipping the Paddle Steamer (PSSkibladneris featured on the 1k.10 value.

The PS Skibladner is the only paddle steamer operating in Norway. Her maiden voyage was on August 2nd, 1856. This makes her the worlds oldest paddle steamer operating a scheduled service. During her long career she has sunk twice, been re-floated and extensively renovated.

Still operating on lake Mjøsa between Eidsvoll, Gjøvik and Lillehammer she offers scenic tours and cultural events.

The PS Skipbladner is registered at 206 tons with a length overall of 164 feet and a beam of 16.6 feet. She has a draught of 8¼ feet and carries 230 passengers.

Sources: 
http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6984&p=6980&hilit=Skibladner
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skibladner

MS Fæmund II

Originally published May 5, 2017.

Issued in 1981 as one in a set of 4 commemorating Norwegian lake shipping the Motor Ship (MSFæmund is featured on the 1k.50 value.

The MS Fæmund is a historic passenger ferry that originally entered service in 1905. It replaced the original Fæmund that served on Lake Femunden in 1887. She was constructed to carry passengers, goods, mail and timber on Norway’s third largest lake.

The Fæmund is still important because many houses on the lake still don’t have road connections. Between mid June and mid September she sails between Sørvika and Elgå.

Originally constructed as a steam ship, the Fæmund was converted to diesel power in 1958. She is 78½ feet long with a beam of 17 feet. Displacing 81 gross tons, shew draws 6 feet of water, carrying between 75 and 100 passengers.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Fæmund_II
http://www.femund.no/english.html
http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10157&p=10576&hilit=mund+Fæmund#p10576

Canadian Corvettes

Originally published May 2, 2017.

On July 1st, 1942, the Canadian government issued a series of stamps to celebrate Canada and Canadianscontributions to the war effort.

The 20¢ value was titled Corvette Ready for Launching and was designed by Herman Schwartz and engraved by Clifford Dawson and Walter Rosch. The Canadian Bank Note Company printed 62,028,166 copies of the stamp. It was perforated 12 on all sides. The design is based on a photograph of HMCS La Malbaie

Pictured on the stamp is a corvette ready to be launched. This design was relevant as many of Canada’s smaller ship yards constructed “Flower” class corvettes during the war. In total the Royal Canadian Navy ordered 104 corvettes from Canadian shipyards. Canadian shipyards also built the corvettes for the Royal and US navies.

Sources:
Canadian Postal Archives Database – Record on Corvette Ready for Launching
Canadian Postal Archives Database
Wikipedia – Flower-class corvette

Solidarity

Originally published February 21, 2017.

Solidarity was an independent Polish Trade Union that was founded on the 17th of September 1980, under the leadership of Lech Walęsa at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk.

Solidarity was the first trade union to operate in a Warsaw Pact country that was not controlled by a communist party. Through its first year membership reached 9.5 million members. Membership peaked at 10 million members (about 1/3 of the working population) by its first congress in 1981.

Through the 1980’s Solidarity was a social movement that used civil resistance to advance workers rights and social change. The Polish government attempted to bust the union by imposing martial law and years of political repression.

Throughout these years Solidarity was supported by the Pope and the United States. The financial support provided by the US is estimated to be as much as $50 million.

Despite the best efforts of the Polish government, Solidarity would not be defeated and it was forced to negotiate with Walęsa and his union.

By the end of August 1989 Solidarity formed a coalition government. This was followed in 1990 by Lech Walęsa becoming president of Poland.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_(Polish_trade_union)

The Sombrero Galaxy

Originally published October 12, 2016.

Discovered in 1871, the Sombrero Galaxy is located in the constellation of Virgo a mere 28 million light years from Earth. It is 30% the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and is known for its prominent bulge in the centre.

It gets its name from the striking resemblance to a Mexican hat called a sombrero. Due to its brightness, it is easily viewed by amateur astronomers through a good pair of binoculars or a backyard telescope.

For more information, you can go to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sombrero_Galaxy.

The Ships of the Russian Weapons of Victory Series

Originally published October 10, 2016.

Four ship stamps were issued in 2013 by the Russian Postal Authority to commemorate weapons that helped contribute to the “Russian” victory in WWII.

The first stamp in the set depicts the minesweeper, Mina.
The Mina was built as a fast coastal minesweeper for the Soviet Russian Navy at Sevastopol.   Completed in the same year construction started she was launched on August 20, 1937.
Mina‘s particulars are:
Displacement 410 tons standard, 503 ton full load. Dim. 62.0 x 7.2 x 2.26m (draught); Powered by two 42-BMRN-6 diesel engines producing 2,000 hp; twin shafts; speed 18.5 knots.
Armament 1 – 100mm gun B-24; 1 – 45mm gun 21-K; 3 – 12.7mm MG (Machine Guns); 2 DCR (Depth Charge Racks) (20); 31 mines and sweeps.  The Mina was designed to have a Crew 44
She was delivered to the Russian Navy on August 28, 1938, and served in the Black Sea.  Through the four years of WWII, she sailed 47 000 miles through mine infested waters and was responsible for escorting numerous ships.  Through her service, during the war, she had come under air attack no less than 300 times.  In July 1944 the Mina was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
The next stamp features the patrol boat Metel. This ship was constructed in sections that were shipped via train and sent to the Soviet Far East and assembled at the  Dalzavod Shipyard in Vladivostok.
Metel‘s particlars are:
Displacement 450 tons standard, 530 ton full load, dim. 71.5 x 7.4 x 2.6m. (draught); Powered by Curtiss geared steam turbines, 6,290 hp, speed 24 knots, economical 14 knots; Range by a speed of 14 knots, 1,200 mile.
Armament 2 – 102mm; 3 – 37mm guns; and 3 – 12.7mm MG.; 3 – 450mm torpedo tubes; 2 – mortars; carried 48 mines and 30 depth charges. Fitted out with mine sweeping equipment.  She had a crew compliment of 108.
Throughout WWII the Metel escorted ships through minefields.  During the battle of Chongjin, in Northern Korea  the ship and crew distinguished themselves through expert fire support shooting down enemy aircraft, destroying an armoured train, taking out enemy coastal batteries and searchlight installations, destroying eight concreted fortifications and gun positions, and causing serious damage to an enemy landing craft.
64 of the Metel‘s crew were awarded with orders and medals.  Her Captain was conferred with the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
The river armoured craft BKA-75 is the next stamp in the set.  She was built at Zelenodolsk and completed in December 1941.
The particulars of the BKA-75 are:
Displacement: 49.75 standard tons, 52.16 tons full load, dim. 25.3 x 4.04 x 0.87m (draught); Powered by engines of 1,800 hp, maximum speed 37.4 km/h, economical speed 23 km/h; Range up to 680 km.
Armament 2 – 76.2mm guns; 2 – 12.7 and 2 – 7.62mm MG. The BKA-75 had a crew 17.
Through out WWII BKA-75 served along side Russian army units and participated in the defence of Stalingrad and worked on the Volga river until September 1943 when she was loaded on a rail car and transported to the Azov Sea.  After suffering serious damage and repairs she joined the Danube Flotilla where she took part in the liberation of: Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria.  She also particpated in the liberation of Belgrade.
The last stamp in this set displays the gunboat Usyskin.  Orinally built as a paddle steamer tug for service on rivers, she was converted to a gun boat in July 1941.
The Usyskin‘s particulars are:
Displacement 400 tons, dim. 56.4 x 17.1 x 1.2m;
One 480 hp steam engine , speed 8.5 knots.
Armament: 2 – 45mm guns; 1 – 7.62mm MG.
The Usyskin participated in the defence of Stalingrad as a unit in the Volga River Flotilla.  In February of 1943, she received the Order of the Red Banner.
In April of 1943, the Usyskin was severely damaged as a result of a mine.  In July 1943, she was converted back to a tug.
References: