Primary school children in Castletown are to be the lucky recipients of a special stamp issue commemorating the First World War thanks to the town’s local authority.
The issue highlights the contribution made by the people of the town to the Great War and will be postmarked with the official date of the start of the conflict, August 4, and also the declaration time, at 11pm.
In addition to stamps, there will also be images of men from the town who lost their lives in the war and details of the town’s involvement. Also, signs designed by the four town schools reading ‘Castletown remembers’ have been reproduced.
The issue reads: ‘Perhaps no other settlement in the Isle of Man was so deeply affected by the First World War as was Castletown.
‘At one end of the spectrum, the response of the town was strongly supportive of the war. Some 55 names are recorded on the Queen Street Roll of Honour, compiled during the conﬂict, and this little street of humble ﬁshermen’s cottages was hailed in the press at the time as the “most patriotic” on the Isle of Man. The Castletown roll of honour was unveiled in December 1916, and was originally located on a wall adjacent to the entrance to Castle Rushen. At that time it contained the names of 316 men who were serving and eighteen of those who had fallen.’
The authority is funding the issue – which is limited to 600 – but any contributions from organisations would be gratefully accepted.
Commissioner Kevin Weir said the idea came about after the authority was contacted about the issue by Isle of Man Post Office. He also sits on a committee set up to commemorate the centenary of the conflict in the town.
‘It will be valuable, they will be real keepsakes, there will not be any more printed or any offered,’ he said. ‘I think they will be something they should keep and cherish, they are a limited edition.’
Isle of Man Post’s general manager, stamps and coins, Maxine Cannon said: ‘We were very conscious that this had to be home grown. I was very impressed by the wealth of material Phil Taubman had gathered for the commemoration. They had really got on board with commemorating the losses Castletown suffered.
‘It’s all credit to the people of Castletown. None of this is possible without having the source material and somebody taking the time to gather it. That’s why the pictures of people are there (on the stamp issue), it says a lot for Castletown that they still want to commemorate the loss and sacrifice their forebears gave to World War One.’