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from France and the Mediterranean to Gabon and Cameroun – the Vicissitudes and Impact of World War II
Marty Bratzel

Diversions! Oh, those unexpected, annoying, serendipitous diversions! Here is one which proved most enlightening.

The primary focus of 'Les Oblitérations du Cameroun 1914-1960', published in 1990, was the postmarks of Cameroun under French administration. A considerable amount of additional information has been compiled since then, warranting preparation of a revised and expanded version that also addresses the postal history of the territory. One section will focus on Cameroun during World War II – postal censorship in the territory (with Maddocks’ landmark publication as the point of departure), Cameroun’s contributions to the armed forces and the military campaigns, and prisoners of war and internees held there.

The diversion began with the acquisition of a massive file about a young sailor who was aboard the Vichy Aviso Bougainville when it was severely damaged off Gabon then beached in November 1940. This ship caught my interest because of correspondence regarding two other sailors from that ship, both interned in Cameroun, one at Batschenga and another at Mokolo.

The extensive personal correspondence from a loving son to his mother traces his formative years, his joining the navy in 1938, and his service through mid-1940. This is followed by her correspondence with naval authorities, the Red Cross, and others after the fateful Gabon campaign in November 1940. Together, the correspondence provides interesting insight into naval postings immediately prior to and during World War II, allegiance to de Gaulle’s Free French movement, the challenges of communication during the war, and a mother’s frantic concern about the fate of her son and her desire to hold on to his memory.

This study is a blend of politics and postal, military, personal, and social history. Indeed, these cannot be separated. Let’s begin the story in the middle, with the Gabon campaign of October - November 1940 and with the Aviso Bougainville, then expand in both directions...

to read more of this fascinating article see pages 82 - 110 Journal 285)


Welcome to the new look website


SPINK e-Auction of
Stamps and Covers of France and French Colonies
SPINK is delighted to announce their France and French Colonies e-Auction from 10th to 20th May. The many highlights include an incredibly scarce 1852 1fr. carmine tête bêche strip of four, used on cover to London, a lovely 1870 cover to Amiens franked with 25c. consisting of perforated Empire issue 10c. (2) and 10c. bisected vertically, the 1929 20fr. Pont Du Gard, perf 11, unmounted mint and a 2fr. booklet, series 93, containing Pasteur 10c. green, two panes of ten, each overprinted "specimen", along with these more scarce items there is a huge range from 1849 right through to 1977 for collectors at all levels, many lots starting at very attractive prices. Details here

THE WESSEX GROUP will be holding its next meeting on Saturday 6th July at the Scout Hall, Lower Street, Harnham starting at 10.30am where the feature display will be ‘Mandates of Syria and Lebanon WW1’. After lunch, the afternoon will be devoted to members’ displays.

will be holding its next meeting on Saturday 13th July at Broom Methodist Church, 195 Broom Lane, Rotherham, S60 3NW from 10.30am to 4.30pm. The venue is only five minutes from Junction 33 on the M1. It will be the traditional Bastille Day meeting at which the feature display will be ‘Insuffciently paid mail’ with the afternoon being devoted to members’ displays (any topic). Lunch will be at the local pub.

THE LONDON GROUP will be meeting on Saturday August 3rd:  from 11.00am to 4.00pm at the Calthorpe Arms, 252 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8JR The feature display will be ‘Stamp designers of the 1960s’ in the morning and after lunch, members are invited to show their own material (any topic).

It would help if those planning to attend could let the appropriate convenor know - datails for whom are here.

VISITORS are most welcome at all meetings - please check with the appropriate convenor before hand to a) confirm time and address and, b) to introduce yourself.


STOCKHOLMIA 2019 29 May - 2 June
Waterfront Congress Centre, Stockholm

CHINA 2019 11 - 17 June 2019
Wuhan City, Hubei Province, PRC

19 & 20 June
Featuring the Peter Maybury and Derek Richardson collections
Viewing at Stockholmia 2019

MIDPEX 6 July 2019 -10:00am - 4:30pm
Warwickshire Event Centre,
Leamington Spa,
CV31 1XN