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Two special sheets of stamps have been released by Bletchley Park Post Office, once the undercover mail room of the Enigma code breakers. In the first offering, they have teamed up with Home Front History UK to produce a unique collector’s sheet of ten Royal Mail stamps. Called “The Home Front Remembered” it is a tribute to those who served “on the Home Front” during World War Two and shows the diversity of Home Front roles as portrayed at 1940s re-enactment events. These ‘living history’ portrayals are increasingly important as the period passes from living memory. The stamp sheet has also been designed to be mounted and framed as a display piece rather than just tucked away in the traditional collector’s album. Artist and designer Natalie Orchard has also linked it to her book jacket design for the John Leete book ‘A re-enactor’s war’, considered by many as the definite guide to Second World War re-enactment.
A second set of stamps has been produced with the National Pigeon Association featuring photographs from the first world war.
For more information stamps can be viewed at www. bletchleycovers.com or by calling 01908 363489.

The Chairman’s View

Welcome fellow Members, Guild Partners, and Supporters to your summer edition of Despatches, the house magazine of the Guild. Well, what a year of battlefield touring we have had so far and there is still more to come. After the recent surge of interest surrounding Gallipoli 100 and Waterloo 200, new information is already circulating for the Lone Pine and Suvla commemorations in Turkey. The ceremonies on the Somme next July are also taking shape. Before you launch into your Despatches I would like to make a couple of serious observations on what is happening on the battlefields at the moment.
The FWW Centenary has seen a significant increase in the number of new Tour Operators, Coach Companies, Sole Traders and local Guides offering battlefield tours to the public. The standard of these tours and their administration varies dramatically. Over the past few months I have heard some real horror stories from members about guides operating without relevant travel insurance, life-changing injuries to clients on tour that were not covered by the guides public liability insurance and a range of other alarming and unprofessional incidents. In the main this can be attributed to overenthusiasm and a lack of a well thought out business plan that considers all of these mundane but wholly necessary requirements. What is evident is that while making private visits to easily accessible sites in Belgium and France many aspirant guides from the UK have become familiar with the ground but pay scant attention to the laws and industry regulations of their chosen area of interest. This over-familiarity is potentially dangerous and leads to the kind of incidents that I referred to earlier. So please if you are about to take the plunge into the battlefield tour industry seek professional advice, talk to fellow members and above all, ensure that you look beyond the history of your chosen battlefield.
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