27 June 2011

Centenary of First UK Airmail to be celebrated by Royal Mail…



To be issued on 9 September 2011


Royal Mail is issuing a miniature stamp sheet and prestige stamp book on 9 September 2011, as a tribute to the pioneering aviators who made philatelic history through the UK’s first aerial post service a century ago.

Gustav Hamel’s 15-minute flight from Hendon Aerodrome to Windsor Castle on 9 September 1911 was part of the celebrations of the coronation of King George V.  It was the first of 16 aerial post flights carrying commemorative postage to mark the coronation.  The flights took place until 26 September 1911 and are recognised as the world’s first scheduled airmail service.

Now exactly 100 years on, Royal Mail marks the event with a miniature sheet, featuring a border that replicates the design of an original publicity poster for the inaugural flight.  The four-pane prestige stamp book written by Peter Lister, President of the British Air Mail Society includes a pane comprising four 50p Windsor Castle stamps, re-issued from the 2005 set of high-value definitives stamps printed by intaglio.

The Aerial Post Miniature Sheet tells the story of this historic flight; featuring original photography of key events from the day; from Hamel receiving the first mail bag (1st Class), sitting in the cockpit of his Blériot XI monoplane at Hendon Aerodrome (68p), and his arrival in the grounds of Windsor Castle (£1.10). The fourth £1 stamp features Clement Greswell, another of the pilots who helped deliver the UK’s first aerial post.


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