by John Ineson
The Annual General Meeting of the Club was held a few months ago when I reported that it had been another successful year, although it had been a pity to see the continual decline in Membership. This appeared to be in line with most Philatelic Societies, not just Scout ones. Our Annual Exhibition returned to Baden-Powell House, and this went well, with a much larger attendance than two years ago. However attendance at our Club meetings have not improved and it was decided that in 2004 we will reduce these meetings to the Annual Exhibition at BP House on 21st February, the AGM and display meeting on 5th June and a display meeting on 27th November, the latter two being held at Richmond. Finally there will be an increase of £2.00 in the subscriptions from August 2003. This has been necessary due to increase of postage and general costs, and without the club auction, which subsidises subscriptions by £1.60+ per member; this would have had to be higher. However, the price of our membership is still considerably cheaper than most Scout Stamp Clubs!
Commencing with the January/February 2004 issue, we will be changing the format of the bulletin. From then onwards it will be printed on A.3 paper, and then folded and stapled to give an A.4 size, which means that it will still appear the same dimensions as this issue.
It is surprising what comes up for sale on Ebay, the worldwide auction company on the web. Scout philatelic items often appear, both stamps and covers. Although I have seen a number of different 1937 Jamboree Air Letters sent from the Netherlands Indies, I had not until recently seen one sent by registered mail showing pairs of the two Scout stamps. Sent from Bandoeng on the 1st May 1937, it has the arrival postmark of San Pedro, California, USA of 3rd June. (This seems rather slow by air, but is what the description says). The registered label is printed in green with the name of Bandoeng printed in black. To see this in colour, please go to our web site, where my notes have for some time been available with most of the illustrations in colour. There were nine bids for this item, and it was finally sold for $260.03 (about £163).
Our member Gottfried Steinmann from Germany writes to say that the Museum of Communication in Berlin has in its "Treasures of Philately" department, a fine article on Scout philately. Naturally the Mafeking stamps are mentioned and illustrated, together with a striking example from the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, showing the legendary "potato" cancel on a letter from 4th August 1944, quoting the written text "In memory of the fast days of freedom". This is not only an extraordinary historical document, but it is also considered to be one of the greatest rarities of Polish philately. Gottfried would like to ask those few owners of "potato" cancels (types 2a and 2b) to contact him as he wishes to register all known and proved items of these rare postmarks, firstly to protect ourselves from forgeries and secondly to trace the history of these very rare documents. If you can help, please send him a photocopy or scan stating the source and year of acquisition. Also if known, the previous owner and if you are prepared, the price you paid for the item. If you can help, please contact Gottfried Steinmann, Guntherstr 9, D-97342 Marktsteft, Germany, or email .
The story of the Scout Field Post in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 is one of the greatest periods of Scout Philately. Gottfried has already published his book written in German on the subject, and I have a couple of books published in English and one in Polish. However I do not think that an account of the Scout Field Post has been published in our Bulletin, and with the 60th anniversary coming up next year, perhaps we can persuade somebody to write an article.