De­bate over An­zac stamps

Pop­pies for Gal­lipoli dis­puted

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By CHRISTO­PHER MOOR

The de­ci­sion to in­clude the poppy, New Zealand’s sym­bol of An­zac re­mem­brance, on a stamp is­sue 50 years ago turned out to be con­tentious.

The stamps were is­sued on April 14, 1965, to com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary of An­zac Day.

A large red poppy was placed on the 5d (4 cents) stamp, but not the 4d stamp, as a com­pro­mise agreed with the Gal­lipoli Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

The as­so­ci­a­tion had said the poppy re­lated to ac­tion at Flan­ders, not Gal­lipoli.

In the orig­i­nal de­sign, both the spe­cial An­zac is­sues of 4d and 5d stamps fea­tured a poppy.

A jetty and huts were shown on the fore­shore, but were re­moved be­cause they did not ap­pear un­til a fort­night af­ter the Gal­lipoli land­ing.

A small stylised poppy was added next to the ‘‘ 1915’’ date on both stamps when the de­signs were re­vised.

Dur­ing World War I, New Zealand troops first saw ac­tion on April 25, 1915, when they landed on the Gal­lipoli Penin­sula in Turkey.

Their ob­ject was to cap­ture Con­stantino­ple ( now Istanbul). That dis­as­trous but heroic cam­paign failed, leav­ing 2721 New Zealan­ders dead and 4752 wounded.

The cam­paign be­came the sym­bol of Aus­tralian and New Zealand war losses, with April 25 ob­served in both coun­tries as An­zac Day, a time to re­mem­ber those who died serv­ing their coun­tries in war.

Pop­pies have been as­so­ci­ated with this re­mem­brance in New Zealand since the Re­turned Sol­diers’ As­so­ci­a­tion ( now the Re­turned and Ser­vices’ As­so­ci­a­tion) in­tro­duced them in 1922.

Their sale takes place on Poppy Day, which this year will be on April 17.

Money raised from their sale orig­i­nally went to sup­port re­turned sol­diers in need, and the French war wid­ows and or­phans who made the fab­ric flow­ers.

The 1965 An­zac stamps were not New Zealand’s first to com­mem­o­rate An­zac Day. That hon­our went to a 1936 is­sue for the 21st an­niver­sary of An­zac Day.

Both those stamps had a sol­dier in a 1915 uni­form against a back­ground of An­zac Cove.

In 1958 the RSA sug­gested that the 50th an­niver­sary of An­zac Day be com­mem­o­rated by a spe­cial postage stamp is­sue in 1965. Four­teen artists were in­vited to sub­mit es­says de­pict­ing the land­ing at Gal­lipoli. Ten took up the chal­lenge and sub­mit­ted de­sign roughs to a panel.

The panel awarded the com­mis­sion to Mau­rice Conly of Christchurch.

Both stamps were used mainly on mail posted to New Zealand ad­dresses. The 4d was for stan­dard let­ters and the 5d on in­ter­nal air mail let­ters.

Be­cause An­zac Day fell on a Sun­day in 1965, spe­cial ar­range­ments were made for the Chief Post Of­fices in the main cen­tres to date-stamp first-day cov­ers bear­ing the An­zac stamps as April 25.

A vi­o­let ink date-stamp was used, which in­cluded the words ‘‘An­zac Day’’.

Of the 1965 stamps, only the 5d ver­sion has the red poppy, but both con­tain a stylised poppy.

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