By Frances Casey, Project Manager
This summer, be sure to look out for Royal Mail’s First World War Centenary stamp edition. Every year, from 2014 to 2018, six stamps will be issued to commemorate the First World War, creating a set of 30 stamps by the end of the Centenary.
In 2014, we worked closely with Royal Mail to select a war memorial commemorative stamp which would mark the events of 100 years ago. The memorial chosen is ‘The Response, 1914’, by Sir William Goscombe John, which is in Newcastle upon Tyne.
This memorial shows local men cheerfully taking leave of their families as they respond to the call to war in 1914. It was erected in 1923 by Sir George and Lady Renwick to commemorate the raising of the volunteer battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers at the beginning of the war. Unveiled by the Prince of Wales, the figures on the memorial show the initial jubilant and confident response to the outbreak of the war. Unusually, the purpose of the memorial is threefold: as well as commemorating the local volunteers of 1914, the memorial is also a thanksgiving from the Renwicks for the safe return from the war of their five sons and marks Sir George’s 50 years of commercial life in Newcastle.
Other 2014 stamps that IWM and Royal Mail selected include a quotation from Laurence Binyon’s, ‘For the Fallen’, a poem that he composed in 1914, and a detail from the painting ‘A Star Shell’ by C. R. W. Nevinson, which is in the collection of Tate Britain. Look out for this first set which will be available from 18th of July.