General Telegraph 6d

Telegraph stamps of Great Britain.

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General Telegraph 6d Electric Telegraph Submarine British English & Irish British & Irish LDTC UK Electric South Eastern Railway London, Chatham and Dover Railway
General Telegraph Electric Telegraph Submarine British Telegraph English & Irish British & Irish London District UK Electric S.E.R. L.C. & D.R.
 
Bonelli Universal Private Telegraph Company National Telephone Company Army Telegraphs-1 Army Telegraphs-2 Railway Telegraph cancel on 10s Post Office Telegraphs Unusual Unexpected Contributions
Bonelli's Universal Tel. National Telephone Army Telegraphs 1 Army Telegraphs 2 Railway Post Office Unusual Unexpected Contributions

 


Prices have been brought up to date, and are for stamps in 'average' condition.  
The currency is now selectable, the default is British Currency (£).
  I have revised Hiscocks' original listing, though leaving references to the original designations. 
The new designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion.
CheckList         Setup

 

Shortcuts to different sections:
Military Tel. Unapproriated Suakin Expedition
1885
COGH 1884 codes 1885 Provisional 1886 Provisional 1887 Overprints Army Tel. 1900 Prov. Ashanti 1895-6. Manœuvres 1896-9
Boer War 1899-1902. Unknown Overprint flaw. Forgeries. Bisects. Cancels. Army Signals. WWI. WWII. 1895 codes Stationery. References.

Military and Army Telegraphs.

Steve Hiscocks wrote:
Special telegraph stamps for military use were first ordered by Col. Webber for use by the British Army in Egypt. The 'Military Telegraphs' set was
received and presumably issued, in mid-September 1884. A further consignment was sent in late November 1884 to Capt. Jelf, commanding the
Telegraph Corps, for use in the Bechuanaland Expedition and yet more were sent in February 1885 for use in Suakin (Sudan). In March 1885 permanent
plates of the 'Military Telegraphs' overprint were made to replace the printer's type used up until then. The two versions are said to be identical
but with the later (plate) version a little 'clearer'. Being unaware of any sure means of distinguishing the two types I have not listed them separately.
In 1885 a temporary shortage of 6d & 1/- values led to the issue of hand written provisionals in Bechuanaland,

In 1886 the difficulty of equating the British currency of the stamps with the Egyptian currency in which charges were made led to the overprinting of all
stocks of Military Telegraph stamps in Egyptian currency. The dry climate had curled up the stamps such that they could not be overprinted in sheets
and in July 1886 the whole lot were done by hand with a self-inking revolving stamp. To avoid a repeat of that performance further supplies were
overprinted in a different format, before being sent out to Egypt in February 1887. The 'P.T.' of the local overprints stands for Turkish Piastre(s) of which
there were about 97.5 to the £1.

In 1895 the "Military Telegraphs" were replaced by "Army Telegraphs". These (except the ½d, 3d, 8d and £5) were used in Ashantee (Gold Coast)
in 1895 and (plus the ½d vermilion, 3d and 8d) on manoeuvres in England in 1896. The £5 was introduced in South Africa in 1899 and the ½d (green)
and two provisionals also in South Africa, in 1900—1901.

I have included under Great Britain the two "Military Telegraphs" overprints on Cape of Good Hope postage stamps since these were produced for
British Military use in Bechuanaland just after Sir Charles Warren entered Vryburg on 7 February 1885 and were not for public use. Logically I should
also include those of Orange River Colony overprinted "AT" but it seems less confusing to have them with the rest of the OFS and ORC.

Apart from the two Cape of Good Hope provisionals and the three halfpenny postage stamp provisionals, all military telegraph stamps were produced by
the addition of suitable wording, "MILITARY TELEGRAPHS" or "ARMY TELEGRAPHS", to the ordinary British 'unappropriated die' stamps which
were used for all manner of fiscal purposes at that time. These 'blank' stamps were available for many different values with empty tablets for the
insertion of words denoting the purpose for which they would be used. Penny, shilling and pound values were of different basic types, sizes and
colours and within those basic types each value was different in detail of ornamentation from all the others although superficially very similar.
Only one representative of each basic type has been illustrated below.

Military telegraph stamps used in Bechuanaland were cancelled with the same type of FIELD TELEGRAPH double ring cancellation as was used in
the Sudan. Ring diameters are 31 and 22mm (approx). Both the code letters above the date in the centre and the No. between the rings at the base differ
from station to station. Those known include: TS (Field Telegraph No. 44)-Taungs, VR (F.T. No. 32) and VR (F.T. No. 71)-Vryburg, GL-Barkly West
(Cape Colony), ML-Muller's Store (Cape Colony?), GU-Gunning's Store (Cape Colony?), BK-Bank's Drift, DH-Dry Hartz, BR-Brussels Farm, LP-
Leeuw Pan, GC-Groot Choing, SH-Sitlagoli, MZ-Maritzani, SA-Sanies, and MF-Mafeking. Field Telegraph Nos. are known only where given. The
above were reportedly in use in January-April 1885. Other offices were opened in June to July when the line was extended from Mafeking to
Molepolole but the code letters and numbers are not known.


My notes:
Hiscocks included the Cape of Good Hope stamps under Britain, but for consistency, I have moved these to Army Telegraphs 2 page
where I list other stamps used by the British Army that were not valid for use in the British Isles.

The Langmead & Huggins book covers the use of these quite well and mentions that two Cape of Good Hope stamps and a series
of Sudan stamps(page 110) were also used by the British Army Telegraphs units.

A Major A. B. Bagnold appears to have been involved in the production of these stamps and subsequent overprints.
His initials "aBB" are known on what presumably were specimens.

 

There is a book 'TELEGRAPH and TELEPHONE Stamps of the World, a Priced and Annotated Catalogue' by S.E.R Hiscocks (1982)
that I have used for information and catalogue designations, copies are in short supply.
He catalogues stamps intended for telegraph and telephone use without regard of the cancel used.
I on the other hand, want to identify items used with British Army cancellations (though sometimes this may have been postally).

Where I am reasonably certain that a stamp exists with Army Telegraph cancellations but cannot illustrate one,
I will illustrate with a mint or otherwise cancelled copy, giving Hiscocks designations.

 

First series - Military Telegraphs.
Be aware that the purple and green inks used to print these stamps were fugitive inks designed to change colour with soaking to avoid re-use of stamps after cleaning.
Avoid getting them wet.

Military Telegraph 1d Military Telegraph 3d Military Telegraph 6d Military Telegraph 1s
GB-H1 (Suakin) GB-H2 (Quarantine Island)
courtesy of Mark Gibson
GB-H3 (Suakin) GB-H4 (Suakin)
courtesy of Mark Gibson

 

Military Telegraph 2s Military Telegraph 5s Military Telegraph 10s Military Telegraph £1
GB-H5 (Suakin) GB-H6 GB-H7 GB-H8
Images courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Perf.14

RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used Specimen
RH1 H1 1d reddish lilac and black, Wmk Orb R1 40.00 55.00 35.00
RH2 H2 3d reddish lilac and brown, Wmk Orb R1 40.00 55.00 35.00
RH3 H3 6d reddish lilac and green, Wmk Orb R1 45.00 65.00 40.00
RH4 H4 1s dull green and black, Wmk Script VR R1 45.00 60.00 40.00
RH5 H5 2s dull green and blue, Wmk Script VR R1 65.00 75.00 55.00
RH6 H6 5s dull green and violet, Wmk Script VR R1 70.00 100.00 60.00
RH7 H7 10s dull green and carmine, Wmk Script VR R1 90.00 140.00 80.00
RH8 H8 £1 reddish lilac and black, Wmk Orb R2 180.00 270.00 160.00

Look here for an explanation of the table.

 

H9 and H10 are shown below under Cape of Good Hope.



More Unapproriated blanks
Examples of the Unappropriated stamps used to produce the Military and later Army Telegraph stamps - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Unapproriated 2s6d green Unapproriated 20s purple Unapproriated 6d green Unapproriated 5s blue Military Telegraph - Bechuanaland 1s Military Telegraph - Bechuanaland 2s
Unapproriated stamps - remaining values Unapproriated stamps could be produced in other colours for other uses. GB-H4 (Vryburg) GB-H5 (Taungs)
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. Courtesy of Mike-Holt.com Courtesy of Spink and Son. Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Suakin Expedition 1885.

 

A selection of Military Telegraphs, mostly used in Suakin.
Military Telegraph - Selection
Courtesy of Spink and Son.

A selection of Military Telegraphs, used at Quarantine Island.
Military Telegraph - QI Selection
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

A Military Telegram from Mafeking to Setlagoli, Bechuanaland 14 July 1885, using an "Army Book, 295c." form printed by Harrison & Sons, London.
Military Telegram from Mafeking to Setlagoli
This is illustrated by L & H (Fig171, page 95) - Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

Same type form, but completed in Arabic, since it was used in Egypt.
Like Cairo, the cancel is in black, rather than the usual colour as on the form above.
Military Telegram form in Arabic
The date is said to be "9 MAY" with apparently no year. It is to the Council of Egyptian Decisions.
The code is LL which is thought to be Luxor Legal. - Image courtesy of Andrew Higson.

 

The cancellations used on this series was double-ring and generally included a two letter code for the office of use, and a number at the bottom.
Around the top was either 'ARMY TELEGRAPHS' or 'FIELD TELEGRAPH'. Codes known on these are :

Field Telegraph cancel on Military Telegraph

Quarantine Island (No.3), 20th March 1885 (first day).
The form is of the Eastern Telegraph Company
whose office on Quarantine Island was shared by
the Army telegraph, base of operations.

This illustration is courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
Click on it for a larger image.
Bechuanaland 1884-85shown
BKBank's DriftL
BLBarklyL
BRBrussels FarmL
DHDry HartzL
GCGroot ChoingL
GUGunning's StoreL
LPLeeuw PanL
MFMafekingL
MLMuller's StoreL
MZMaritzaniL
SASaaniesL
SH Setlagoli   (No.92) (14.7.1885) Tick
TSTaungs   (No.44 and No.3?)Tick
VRVryburg   (No.32 and No.71)Tick
Cape Colony   Jan to April 1885shown
GLBarkly Westx
Sudan   20.03 to 15.05  1885shown
HL(Wadi) Halfa   (No.4)   (10.2.1885)X
HQHeadquartersx
QI Quarantine Island   (No.3)  (20.3.1885) Tick
SK Suakin   (No.16)  (19.3.1885) Tick
WRWestern Redoubtx
ZANo.1 Post, and later, 2nd Brigade HQx
Egypt     1884 - 1886shown
--CairoTick
LL Luxor Legal ?   (No.25) ? (9.5.1885) Tick

As can be seen from the table above, quite a few stations have been reported/recorded, though most are rare.
The codes marked with L are listed by Langmead & Huggins on page 94, though it would be nice to verify them.
only about a quarter are common enough for me to be able to illustrate them currently.


L & H (page 83) mention four 'principal offices' in Sudan: Suakin, Quarantine Island, Handub and the Headquarter Camp.
On the next page they say Handub and the Headquarter Camp are not recorded.
On page 81 they give an account of a known example of HL (see X on the table).
I would like to be able to illustrate examples of all of the known cancels.
If anyone can supply images that would help with that, I would be more than happy to give due credit.

 

As an exception, Cairo had 'CAIRO' inscribed between the
rings around the bottom where the others had a number.
Military Telegraph Cairo overprints   Strange Telegraph cancel.   Patent cancel.
I first thought the Army Telegraph stamp in the middle, had a forged cancellation since it more resembled the earlier type on the left, but with serifs.
Then I saw the cancel on the Patent stamp on the right (courtesy of ibredguy.co.uk).
Now I think it may be a fiscal cancellation. Any ideas?

Military Telegraph Cairo overprints
Here are another couple of examples of the Cairo cancel.
Ex. Andrew Higson, courtesy of Spink & Son.
More information on this cancel can be found in this article.

 

The Cairo cancel came from this presentation sheet.
Military Telegraph - Selection
This is the only recorded usage of the bisected 1d value. Courtesy of Spink and Son.

"aBB" on (presumably) specimens   Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
ABB Monogram 3a.
ABB Monogram 3b.
The initials are those of Major A. B. Bagnold.


 

The earliest known date for Telegraph stamps used on the Suakin Expedition is now 19 March 1885.

Suakin (No.16) 2s pair dated 19/3/1885







Suakin (No.16) Field Telegraph cancel on Military Telegraph 1s pair
Pair of 2/- stamps dated 19 March 1885 - courtesy of Dr. David Sher. Pair of 1/- stamps dated 20 March 1885 - courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

Suakin (No.16) Field Telegraph cancel on Military Telegraph
Suakin (No.16) Field Telegraph cancel with interesting dates, must have been the first of the next day - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Military Telegraph 2s
Suakin (No.16) Field Telegraph cancel on 2s courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Military Telegraph 2s
Suakin (No.16) Field Telegraph cancel on 1s and 5s courtesy of Mark Gibson.
This is dated May 6th 1885. They are known up until the 15th.


 

Overprinted by hand in Bechuanaland 1885.

These get a brief mention on page 95 of L & H along with illustrations of H13, Hiscocks lists:

Perf.14

Illustrations are half-size and courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions and Spink & Son.

Military Telegraph manuscript overprints

Military Telegraph manuscript overprints


Military Telegraph manuscript overprints
GB-H11
Taungs
GB-H13
Vryburg
GB-H12
Taungs
GB-H14
Taungs ?
GB-H11
Taungs
GB-H13
Taungs
GB-H13
Vryburg
Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions. Courtesy of Spink and Son.

Most if not all of these appear to have been used at Taungs or Vryburg in Bechuanaland.

RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used
RH11 H11 6d manuscript on 1d Unlisted - 120.00
RH12 H12 6d manuscript on 10s Unlisted - 180.00
RH13 H13 1s manuscript on 5s Unlisted - 120.00
RH14 H14 1s manuscript on £1 Unlisted - 280.00

Hiscocks adds the following note:

Note. These were to meet a temporary shortage of 6d and 1s values.
                It is not known how many were altered but they are rare.
                Mint copies of these stamps have not been reported and they
                were probably surcharged as required. Beware of forgeries!

 

Military Telegraph manuscript overprints This is like the Spink & Son stamps above
Military Telegraph - Bechuanaland 2s
The one on the left is pen-cancelled and dated 6/9/85 (?)
It has a 1981 RPSL Certificate
(119403, submitted by Peter Langmead)
which gives it the Yvert number of M11.
H13 and H11 images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

1886 Provisional Overprints.

Including CANCELLED and SPECIMENS

Locally overprinted in Cairo.

Perf.14

MT 0.1 PT on 1d  RH15 MT 0.25 PT on 3d  RH16 MT 1 PT on 6d  RH17 MT 5 PT on 1s  RH18
0.1 PT on 1d, GB-RH15 0.25 PT on 3d, GB-RH16 1 PT on 6d, GB-RH17 5 PT on 1s, GB-RH18

MT 10 PT on 2s  RH19 MT 25 PT on 5s  RH20 specimen MT 50 PT on 10s  RH21 specimen MT 100 PT on £1  RH22 specimen
10 PT on 2s, GB-RH19 25 PT on 5s, GB-RH20 50 PT on 10s, GB-RH21 100 PT on £1, GB-RH22

The last three are specimens courtesy of Steve Lawrie.


RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used Specimen
RH15 H15 0.1 PT on 1d reddish lilac and black R3 60.00 60.00 -
RH15a H15a         bisected on piece R3 - 150.00 -
RH16 H16 0.25 PT on 3d reddish lilac and brown R3 60.00 60.00 -
RH16a H16a         bisected on piece R3 - 150.00 -
RH17 H17 1 PT on 6d reddish lilac and green R3 75.00 75.00 -
RH18 H18 5 PT on 1s dull green and black R3 90.00 90.00 -
RH19 H19 10 PT on 2s dull green and blue R3 90.00 90.00 -
RH20 H20 25 PT on 5s dull green and violet R3 120.00 120.00 -
RH21 H21 50 PT on 10s dull green and carmine R3 150.00 150.00 -
RH22 H22 100 PT on £1 reddish lilac and black R3 225.00 225.00 -

Block of 4 x H15 local overprints   Block of 4 x H16 local overprints
H 15 and H16 marginal blocks of four, courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

A requirement for change.

Local overprint sample. In 1885 the Egyptian currency was revised. The para (one 40th of a piastre) together with various Turkish, French, Italian etc. coins were taken out of circulation.
The Egyptian Pound (equal to 100 piastres) became based on the gold standard and the piastre was subdivided into 10 dime.
All this made it convenient to use Egyptian currency for the local payment of telegraphs.

Major Arthur Bagnold who was Director of Army Telegraphs between 1885 and 1887, made arrangements for the local overprinting of his stocks of stamps with Egyptian currency.
Because of the hot, dry climate however, the sheets of stamps did not conveniently lie flat for overprinting and a self-inking revolving stamp was devised to do the job by hand.
This proved expensive however and whilst on leave in England in 1886, Major Bagnold requested in a letter (18/9/86) supplies of stamps to be overprinted in England with Egyptian currency before shipment.
He left them a sample in the form of a tracing of his local overprints, overlaid on samples of overprinted stamps.

His request was eventually referred to De La Rue who on 13/10/86, provided options.
A quick (6 weeks), low-cost option similar to what was already done for the Consular Service involving only straight-line values (shown in 'Appendix A') with horizontal and vertical options for the low-values, and an option for curved values like the local overprints for the high values, which would be expensive and take 5 or 6 months ('Appendix B' shown below).
This expensive option was turned down:

Appendix B.
Appendix B.
Instead, the cheap option was chosen for all values, though with some alterations.
See below.

Image courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions. Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

This is the Appendix B
Appendix B.

 

Major Bagnold additionally wanted 2 piastres on 8d and 2 dime on the 2d which were additional to the original Military Telegraph series.

This is where I hit a point of confusion. On 'Appendix A' above, Major Bagnold appears to have initialled his instructions with 'aBB Major'.
Langmead & Huggins refer to him as Major Arthur H. Bagnold ! So why the initials aBB ?
An internet search found an Arthur Henry Bagnold who was born 1854 and died as a Colonel in 1943, but nobody that appeared to match the initials.
The initials do however seem to match the monograms on the stamps below:

ABB Monogram 1.
Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Up to this point, all of, what might be regarded as Specimens of this issue, are done in manuscript.
There were printed specimens of the unoverprinted stamps, as well as the later "Army Telegraphs".

RH3 SPECIMEN. RH40 SPECIMEN. RH7 SPECIMEN. RH43 SPECIMEN.
Some of my Military and Army specimens without overprints. They are very similar, all in black and none have a period at the end.



Derek Harborne has made me aware though that there are also some of the overprinted stamps with printed "SPECIMEN."
£1 SPECIMEN set in red.

£1 SPECIMEN in red.
Unusually, the 'SPECIMEN.' is in red on all of them. They were expertised by Oswald Marsh in 1912 and subsequently purchased from Stanley Gibbons.
Images courtesy of Derek Harborne.

 

 

More information and illustrations of these can be found in
British Military Telegraphs in Egypt 1884-1890 by Dr Andrew Higson FRPSL.

 

Overprinted in London February 1887.

MT 1 dime on 1d RH23 MT 2 dime on 2d RH24 MT 5 dime on 3d RH25 MT 1 piastre on 6d RH26 MT 2 piastre on 8d RH27
1 dime on 1d, GB-RH23 2 dime on 2d, GB-RH24 5 dime on 3d, GB-RH25 1 piastre on 6d, GB-RH26 2 piastre on 8d, GB-RH27

MT 5 piastre on 1s RH28 MT 10 piastre on 2s RH29 MT 25 piastre on 5s RH30 MT 50 piastre on 10s RH31 MT 100 piastre on £1 RH32
5 piastre on 1s, GB-RH28 10 piastre on 2s, GB-RH29 25 piastre on 5s, GB-RH30 50 piastre on 10s, GB-RH31
The GB-H23-31 are mine, but the illustration of the GB-H32 is courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions. 100 PT on £1, GB-RH32

 

RH # Hisc. Perf.14 Description Rarity Mint Used Specimen
RH23 H23 1 dime on 1d R2 30.00 15.00 25.00
RH24 H24 2 dime on 2d R2 30.00 15.00 25.00
RH25 H25 5 dime on 3d R2 40.00 18.00 32.00
RH26 H26 1 piastre on 6d R2 40.00 18.00 32.00
RH27 H27 2 piastre on 8d R2 45.00 18.00 35.00
RH28 H28 5 piastre on 1s R2 25.00 15.00 22.00
RH29 H29 10 piastre on 2s R2 45.00 18.00 35.00
RH30 H30 25 piastre on 5s R2 65.00 30.00 55.00
RH31 H31 50 piastre on 10s R2 80.00 35.00 65.00
RH32 H32 100 piastre on £1 R3 150.00 75.00 125.00

Look here for an explanation of the table.

Comment: the Rarity Guide of Langmead & Huggins would suggest that the first Military series and the first Army series
are of about equal rarity, but my experience tells me that the Army Series is much more common as I have
nearly 2 sets now mint plus several used compared to only two plus a specimen of the Military issues!

Specimens exist showing alternative proposals for these.

Appendix A.
Image courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions. The image shown by L & H (Fig. 163) has "Appendix A Oct 13th 1886" at the top. This has been cut off or folded under.
Note the references to "aBB Major". There are examples with those initials, presumably specimens.


ABB Monogram 2a.
ABB Monogram 2b.
Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.


 

Military Telegraph overprint proofs Military Telegraph overprint specimens

Click on the image for a larger version. More can be seen at the GB Overprints Society
Dated 10 November 1886, courtesy of Spink and Son. Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.

 

Two curious items (1891) .

Military Telegraph 1st overprint dated 20/5/91
Examples of the 1886 overprint (plus an un-overprinted 3d), all with manuscript "20/5/91".

Military Telegraph 2nd overprint dated 20/5/91
Examples of the 1887 overprint, again all with manuscript "20/5/91". I do not know why these were created, or the significance of the date, but would welcome suggestions.
Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

 

Second series - Army Telegraphs December 1895.

Since I am interested in all stamps used for British Telegraphic purposes as well as just the ones intended for such use, I am concentrating here on the used ones
because the used ones can identify telegraphic usage of normal postage stamps (more relevant below).

Be aware that the purple and green inks used to print these stamps were fugitive inks designed to change colour with soaking to prevent re-use of stamps after cleaning.
Avoid getting them wet.

Army Telegraph 1d Army Telegraph 2d Army Telegraph 3d Army Telegraph 6d Army Telegraph 8d
1d   GB-H36 2d   GB-H37 (known bisected) 3d   GB-H38 6d  GB-H39 (known bisected)
courtesy of Mark Gibson
8d   GB-H40
courtesy of Mark Gibson

 

Army Telegraph 1s Army Telegraph 1s Army Telegraph 1s Army Telegraph 2s6d
1s  GB-H41 (known bisected) 1s  GB-H41 (known bisected) 1s  GB-H41 feint -S 22.III.00 -R
Elandslaagte, Natal
2s6d   GB-H42
courtesy of Mark Gibson

Note the yellowing of the 1s stamps. It was common practice in GB at the time to use fugitive ink for green stamps to make it harder to re-use them
Soaking for too long washes away the blue components of the ink (don't do it).

 

Army Telegraph 5s Army Telegraph 10s Army Telegraph £1 Army Telegraph £5
5s   GB-H43 - courtesy of Steve Lawrie. 10s   GB-H44 - courtesy of Mark Gibson. £1   GB-H45 - courtesy of Mark Gibson. £5   GB-H46 - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

H37, H39 and H41 are known bisected (Stanley Gibbons sale Autumn 2005 lots 512-516). I will add those as RH37a, RH39a and RH41a respectively.
See also the article by Jim Buckingham in The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist 2005, pages 88 and 89.

Some more illustrations and information about these can be seen at Tripod.
Also page 67 of GBPS Journal

 

Army Telegraph 1d specimen Army Telegraph 2d specimen Army Telegraph 3d specimen Army Telegraph 6d specimen Army Telegraph 8d specimen
Specimen (Type 9) series of 1d to 8d (RH36s to RH40s) courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Army Telegraph 1s specimen Army Telegraph 2s6d specimen Army Telegraph 5s specimen Army Telegraph 10s specimen
Specimen (Type 9) series of 1s to 10s (RH41s to RH44s) courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Army Telegraph £1 specimen Type 9 Army Telegraph £1 specimen Type 15 Army Telegraph £5 specimen Type 15
£1 Specimen (Type 9) - RH45s-9.
Courtesy of Mark Gibson.
£1 Specimen (Type 15) - RH45s-15.
Courtesy of Mark Gibson.
£5 Specimen (Type 15) - RH46s-15.
Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Perf.14

Army Telegraph ½d block
A large block of halfpenny stamps courtesy of Spink & Son Ltd.
Modder Military cancel.
RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used
RH33 H33 ½d vermilion and black, Wmk Crown 1896 R1 13.00 25.00
RH33s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 9.00 -
RH34 H34 ½d green and black, Wmk Crown 1900 R2 50.00 -
RH34s -         "Specimen". Type ? - 35.00 -
RH35 H35 ½d green and black, Wmk Crown 1901 R2 27.00 50.00
RH35s -         "Specimen". Type 15 - 20.00 -
RH36 H36 1d reddish lilac and black, Wmk Orb R1 13.00 15.00
RH36s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 9.00 -
RH37 H37 2d reddish lilac and blue, Wmk Orb R1 16.00 20.00
RH37a           * bisected on piece Unlisted - 150.00
RH37s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 11.00 -
RH38 H38 3d reddish lilac and brown, Wmk Orb R1 27.00 40.00
RH38s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 20.00 -
RH39 H39 6d reddish lilac and green, Wmk Orb R1 16.00 20.00
RH39a          * bisected on piece Unlisted - 120.00
RH39s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 11.00 -
RH40 H40 8d reddish lilac and carmine, Wmk Orb R2 80.00 110.00
RH40s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 60.00 -
RH41 H41 1s dull green and black, Wmk Script VR R1 20.00 20.00
RH41a          * bisected on piece Unlisted - 150.00
RH41s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 15.00 -
RH42 H42 2s6d dull green and brown, Wmk Script VR R1 40.00 50.00
RH42s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 30.00 -
RH43 H43 5s dull green and purple, Wmk Script VR R1 55.00 60.00
RH43s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 40.00 -
RH44 H44 10s dull green and carmine, Wmk Script VR R1 55.00 60.00
RH44s -         "Specimen". Type 9 - 40.00 -
RH45 H45 £1 reddish lilac and black, Wmk Orb R1 110.00 150.00
RH45s -         "Specimen". Types 9, 16 - 80.00 -
RH46 H46 £5 reddish lilac and green, Wmk Orb R3 150.00 250.00
RH46c -         "Cancelled". Type 14 - 150.00 -
RH46s -         "Specimen". Types 15, 16 - 100.00 -

* These are not listed by Hiscocks
H37, H39 and H41 are known bisected from Stanley Gibbons sale Autumn 2005 lots 512-516).
See also the article by Jim Buckingham in The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist 2005, pages 88 and 89.
Examples of bisects are shown lower down on this page.


There was no unappropriated dies for the halfpenny, so in 1896 the existing halfpenny vermilion was overprinted with the same 7mm setting for 'ARMY' as was used for the other low values (1d to 8d) and is relatively common. Printing began 19 August 1896. Later (1900) the halfpenny in green was used, initially in the same 7mm setting but later (1901) in an 8mm setting with the letters of 'ARMY' being noticeably more spaced and thinner.
An easy way to see the difference is that the new type has a horizontal bar added to the 'G' in 'TELEGRAPHS'.

Langmead & Huggins show the first type in Fig.192 and the new types in Figs.194, 195 and 196 with a rather cryptic reference to a 'new overprint' without further explanation.
Their rarity guide does not distinguish between the two but I think the wide setting is scarcer, although Hiscocks pricing is twice as much for the first type. Many of the first type though appear to be forgeries (see below).

See GB Overprints Society for illustrations of these and scarcer items.

Narrow Army Telegraph ½d Narrow Army Telegraph ½d
GB-H34
Wide Army Telegraph ½d
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
GB-H33 GB-H35 Specimen

Beware of forged overprints - see below.
('SPECIMEN' overprints can also be forged)

 

 

1900 Provisional Overprints.
Stamps of the series above are known overprinted:

Mint H47 and H48
Scarce mint examples of each, courtesy of Mark Gibson. (Ex. Langmead collection)

Perf.14

RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used
RH47 H47 "TWO PENCE (vermilion) on 2s6d R4 1400.00 650.00
RH47a          * bisected on piece Unlisted - 3000.00
RH48 H48 "ONE SHILLING" (blue) on 5s R3 1200.00 620.00
RH48a H48a         bisected on piece R4 - 2000.00

* These are not listed by Hiscocks
H37, H39 and H41 are known bisected from Stanley Gibbons sale Autumn 2005 lots 512-516).
See also the article by Jim Buckingham in The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist 2005, pages 88 and 89.
Examples of bisects are shown lower down on this page.

 

Two of the One Shilling on Five Shilling values with code MR   M- dated February 1900.
H48 on piece   H48
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Block of four of the One Shilling on Five Shilling values, also with code MR   M- dated February 1900.
Block of 4
This also shows the form-printers name. Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons

 

 

Three of the One Two Pence on 2/6d values, with code E   NM (Enslin Military) dated 10 February 1900.
Strip of 3
This is the last known date for Enslin Military. Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons

 

H47 H47 and H48
GB-H47 GB-H47   and   GB-H48
This illustration and the ones below are all courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.
H47 and H48 on pieces
H48, H48 and 4 x H36 on piece
GB-47, GB-47a, GB-48 and GB-48a

Hiscocks lists H48 bisected diagonally on piece as H48a. The H48a above cancelled with EN 15.II.00 M  has a 'D' converted to an 'O' on the overprint.
Evidence that these overprints were perhaps typed directly onto the stamps
The H47 bisected above is unfortunately not convincingly tied, however the one below is. Logically this should be referred to as H47a.

H47 bisected on piece
Click on it to see the full width. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

 

Ashanti Expedition 1895-96.

This was in the Gold Coast, using stamps from 25/12/95. Most of the British troops left 8/2/96.
Some use was made after that by the few remaining (until at least July 1898 ? is suggested by L & H).
The list of stamps that L & H imply was initially sent to the Gold Coast, does not include the halfpenny shown below, so presumably there was another delivery.
L & H also say that camps were set up at Akroful, Assinie, Dunkwa, Jaykumba, Mansu, Prahsu, Suta and Yankumassi, with permanent offices at Mansu, Prahsu, Kumasi and Kwissa,
so there may be examples from other offices waiting to be discovered.

Ashanti hand-stamp Jaykumba 1 Jaykumba 2
The code 'JU' is thought by Langmead to be Jaykumba.
Dated 30/6/96. Courtesy of Andrew Higson FRPSL.
This one, courtesy of Steve Lawrie is a halfpenny dated 18/6/97. This looks like another example,
again courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Army Manœuvres 1896-1899.

Shortcuts to different sections:
1896 1897 1898 1899

According to Langmead & Huggins:
The Army Manœuvres of 1896 were held near "in the neighbourhood of Aldershot from 25 August to 11 September inclusive".
For 1897 they say that Summer Exercises were held from 16 to 25 of August, but it is not explicitly stated where.
For 1898 Manœuvres they give the "vicinity of Chilmark, Bulford, Wareham and Salisbury", with
Cavalry exercises 1 July to 27 August.
Drills 15 to 31 August and
Manœuvres from 1 to 8 September.
The Royal Engineers used the telegraphic service as part of the exercises, but since most of the dates on known used copies of stamps fall outside these dates,
it is clear that much use was unrelated to the known Manœuvres. The codes may also be unrelated to the locations of the Manœuvres.
A number of codes were used, but where they were used is largely a matter of conjecture.

Code Known or suggested Location Dates known
A-   -LArundel, South Downs of West Sussex 8/9/1898
G-   W- Great Wishford, Salisbury Plain ? 6/9/1898
GN   B- Glenbuck, East Ayrshire, Scotland ? 21/5/1898
R   H-Rotherham, South Yorkshire ?29/6/1898
S   B- Salisbury ? 6/8/1898
-S   -CStoney Castle, Pirbright, Surrey 8/8/1912
-S   C- Stoney Castle ? (see below) 28/5/96?, 21/5/1898
S-   R-Stourbridge, West Midlands ?21/5/1898
T   -WTunbridge Wells, West Kent ?30/7/1898
-W   -RWorcester, West Midlands ?4/6/1898 and 10/6/98

Army Manouver-Area
The four places indicated as the area of the 1898 Manœuvres are to the left (West) of the map above.
In the middle is Aldershot, the area stated for 1896 and the "Home of the British Army".
To the East are the three closest of the places of known use of the telegraph stamps, the others being some distance to the north.
Presumably they all communicated with each other and HQ in Aldershot, but surprisingly I do not know of any used at Aldershot.

 

1896

Exercises held in the vicinity of Aldershot from 25/8/96 to 11/9/96.

Without knowing the code on the 8d, it cannot be known where it was used. It is early usage though, as these were not printed until 31/8/96.
It is clearly not code JU for Jaykumba above though, as the trip took 17 days.
The code and date on the halfpenny are not so clear. I make it   ?- 30.X.96. B-   but I do not know this code.
It must have been somewhere 'in the vicinity of Aldershot' though.

GB halfpenny   GB early 8d
Used 3/9/96 and 11/9/96 - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

1897

Exercises held from 16/8/97 to 25/8/97.

This is a scarce year. The only one I have seen, S   C  is currently shown below under 1898 with examples of other years.

 

1898

Exercises held in the vicinity of Chilmark(Wiltshire), Bulford(Wiltshire), Wareham(Dorset) and Salisbury(Dorset) from 1/7/98 to 1/9/98.
Telegraph offices open near Wareham from 15/8/98 to 9/9/98.
Telegraph offices open near Salisbury from 24/8/98 to 9/9/98.
Telegraph offices open near Idmiston(Wiltshire) and Bulford from ? to 13/9/98.

Strangely, most of the used examples are from none of those places !

G-   W-   is thought to have been Great Wishford, it is on a railway line at the edge of Salisbury Plain.
they are known used on 6/9/98 on a blank 'Army Book 295 A (i).' form.
GB GW code on form   GB GW code stamps
The canceller appears to be well clogged suggesting a lot of use. However this is the only example that I know of for this code. Ex Andrew Higson, courtesy of Spink & Son.

 

GN   B-   is thought to have been perhaps Glenbuck, they are known used on 21/5/98.

GB GN B GB GN B
Courtesy of Andrew Higson. Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

GB halfpenny GB penny GB penny
Courtesy of  Roger de Lacy-Spencer. One of mine.

The halfpenny above I originally thought to be GN   B- simply because it was the only known one of this period ending with B-.
Then I got the 1d stamp with the same date. In particular the strange '98'. This is clearly not GN   B-.
It looks like   S   B-
S- R- is thought to be Stourbridge, but this could be. Alternatively this could be Salisbury (explaining why Stourbridge was S-   R- rather than S   B-).

That brings us to these.
GB Stoney Castle hand-stamp
-S 8.VIII.12 -C of Stoney Castle camp, Pirbright. (Source: Andrew Higson)


But back in the 1890's, there were codes of   -S   C-   being used, that may, or may not have been the same place:

SC 1896 ? SC 1896 again ?

SC 1897 ?

A very scarce year.
Though this looks like 1896, according to L & H, these were not
printed until 19 August 1896, so presumably this was 1898.
Courtesy of  Ricky Verra.
Another '1896' ?   Courtesy of  Andrew Higson.
This one is very convincing.
1897   Courtesy of  Steve Lawrie.

SC 1898 SC 1899
1898 Courtesy of Andrew and Jack of  jammy123ism on ebay. 1899   Courtesy of  Steve Lawrie.

There is an -S   -C known used at Stoney Castle, Pirbright in 1912 (see above), but these are -S   C- and at least three, used in May which does not fit with the Army Manœuvres dates.
Perhaps there was also a  -S   A-  with them being simply lettered sequentially, or maybe this was Salisbury Cavalry ? We may never know.

 

-W   -R is thought to have been perhaps Worcester, this block used on 4/6/98. In 1900 this code was used for Wepener, OFS.
GB -W -H of 1898   GB -W -H ?
The 8d may also have been used on the same date at the same place.


and this -W   -R block dated 10/6/98.
block of four 8d used
This illustration of a scarce block of GB-H40 and the block above are both courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

R   H is thought to have been perhaps Rotherham, they are known used on 29/6/98.
GB R H
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

GB R H   GB R H   GB R H
Another three almost certainly used at the same place and time, courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
I know no other codes ending in 'H' in use on these stamps at this time.

 

T   W is thought to have been Tunbridge Wells (though could have been Tidworth), they are known used on 30/7/98.
GB T W
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

 

1899

Exercises held on Salisbury plain from 26/6/99 to 29/7/99 and 31/7/99 to 2/9/99.
Do not confuse with the same stamps used during the war in South Africa.

S-   R- is thought to have been Stourbridge, they are known from 23/5/99 to 30/5/99.

GB S- R- GB S- R- GB 1d lilac
A 1d Army Telegraphs, dated 28/5/99 A GB 1d lilac, dated 30/5/99 A GB 1d lilac, dated 30/5/99
Courtesy Steve Lawrie. Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

They appear to have run out of the Army Telegraph stamps and resorted to postage stamps. The handstamp is well clogged, suggesting heavy usage.
Here is another well-clogged example courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
GB S- R- 23/5/99

Be aware that the code -S -R was used during the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa from March 1900.

 

I suspect that this is another example.
AU ? cancel
Code AU     ?   is not in my list for anywhere. It appears to have been used in the 1890's and is also clogged.  
The bottom-left stamp has the 'Y-flaw' shown below.
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

SC 1899

S21. V. 99.C-
This may have been Salisbury Cavalry,
though there is some confusion with the -S 8.VIII.12-C of Stoney Castle.
1899? The last digit of the year is a bit ambiguous on these, see under 1898.
Courtesy of  Steve Lawrie.

 

The 6d and 1s are also known cancelled with 'FIELD POST OFFICE - PERHAM DOWN' used on 12/8/99.
Perham Down
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.




 

 

Anglo-Boer War, 11 October 1899 - 1902.

For an in-depth description of the Telegraph and Telephone operations see History of the Telegraph Operations during the war in South Africa, 1899-1902 by Liet.-Colonel R. L. Hippisley, C.B., R.E.
These stamps were used in Cape Colony, Natal and Transvaal, but by the time they got to the Transvaal and Orange Free State they had just about run out of these stamps.
They then used 'liberated' local stamps which I cover under Army Telegraphs 2

Shortcuts to different sections:
Cape Colony Natal Transvaal Orange Free State Bechuanaland Basutoland

According to Hippisley (page 5):
"On the 15th November [1899] one of the Colonial wires north of De Aar was handed over to the military for use as occasion might suggest for the military offices.
De Aar was made the handing over office between the Civil and Military Administrations. It was agreed that the Army Telegraphs should be treated os one of the signatories of the South African Telegraph Convention of 1886,
retaining as revenue all money received for private telegrams at military offices which were authorised to transmit paid work, and even at those within the Colony where there were no existing postal telegraph offices."
He also said (page 5):
"Subsequently, as the military operations developed, more Colonial wires were lent to the Army Telegraphs. Eventually they had for their own exclusive use four wires between De Aar and Modder River,
three from Modder to Kimberley, three thence to Mafeking, one from De Aar to Naauwpoort, one from Naauwpoort viâ Stormberg to Bethulie, and two from Naauwpoort to Norvals Pont."

Though Hippisley gives a list of offices with opening and closing dates, it makes no mention of the telegraph codes used, or even the stamps.
Associating the codes with office names/locations is sometimes based on hard evidence, but has also been done by guesswork.
The evidence shows that either the list is incomplete, and/or some guesses are wrong.
Keep in mind that Hippisley left in 1902, before many of the offices closed, and probably before some opened.

Cape Colony.

CodeLocationOpenedClosedDates known
-ALNArundel Military 07/12/1899 17/03/1900 15/2/1900 - 21/2/1900
BT   M-Belmont Military 23/11/1899 05/07/1900 15/12/1899
DA   M-De Aar Military 19/11/1899 10/06/1900 4/12/1899
E-   NMEnslin Military 26/11/1899 20/09/1900 22/1/1900 - 10/2/1900
EN   M-Enslin Military ? 26/11/1899?19/11/1900 15/2/1900 - 16/2/1900
MR   M-Modder Military 29/11/1899 04/05/1900 2/12/1899 - 22/2/1900
NP   M-Naauwpoort?   Norvals Pont? - 02/06/1900? 13/3/1900 - 7/5/1900
-P   -RPorters Hill 03/01/1900 02/03/1900 13/1/1900

 

Modder Military Modder Military
E 10.II.00 NM   of Enslin EN 15. II.00 M-   also thought to be Enslin
Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.

 

Modder Military Modder Military
MR 18.XII.99 M-   of Modder Military MR 1- I.00 M-   of Modder Military
image courtesy of Brian Fenemore courtesy of Steve Lawrie

 

Modder Military - 2809 Modder Military - 3435 Modder Military - 3499
MR 10.II.00 M-   of Modder Military #2809 MR 12.II.00 M-   of Modder Military #3435 MR 13.II.00 M-   of Modder Military #3499
Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions. Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.
These 3 snippets provide a rough measure of the numbers of messages being sent.
They are from Modder Military over a 4-day period in February 1900 and show the message number in the top-right corner.
We do not know the times of the messages (though you may be able to decipher two of them), but if
message 2809 was sent on the 10th and message 3499 on the 13th then
it indicates about 230 messages per day. If each needs an average of 2 stamps then this is about 460 stamps per day from this office alone.
This explains why surcharges and bisects were being used by this time to supply more low-value stamps.

 

Modder low-values   Modder low-values   Porters Hill 1d
Modder did start out with low values. The list of printings given by L & H in preparation for the war does not include them,
but clearly left-over stock was available. The last stamp above may have been used at Porters Hill.   Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

This is the latest Modder cancel I have so far seen.
Modder halfpenny pair
Modder Military of 15/2/00 courtesy of Stanley Gibbons
  This is the second overprint type, compare to the one on the left.

Unknown G- A- halfpenny pair
G- 22.VIII.02 A- an unknown location, courtesy of Ricky Verra

 

The block below shows that lower value stamps were sacrificed to replace shilling stamps.

 

Porters Hill
Quantities of low values used to replace shilling stamps.   -P 13. I.00 -R   of Porters Hill
courtesy of Steve Lawrie

 

Natal.

Useful maps can be found on PineTreeWeb and AngloBoerWar.com.

CodeLocationOpenedClosedDates known
C-   HO *Cookhouse ?   Chieveley Hospital ? ? ? 4/5/1900
C-   M- Chieveley Military 5/2/1900 13/11/1900 13/2/1900
F   C-Frere Camp10/1/1900 ? 17/1/1900
F-   E-Frere10/1/1900 01/3/1900 1/2/1900
H-   F-Hydes Farm ? ? 6/5/1900
H   QBuller's HQ (moved about) 10/1/1900 ? ? 16/4/1900 - 19/7/1900
I-   G-Ingogo Hill 19/5/1900 6/6/1900 19/7/1900 - 20/7/1900
L-   D-Ladysmith1/3/1900 31/5/1900 23/4/1900 - 6/5/1900
M-   -SModderspruit5/3/1900 7/5/1900? 31/3/1900 - 12/5/1900
-S   F-Spearmans Farm12/1/1900 10/2/1902? 2/2/1900
-S   -RElandslaagte (Sundays River) 9/3/1900 18/5/1900 23/3/1900 - 7/4/1900
PM   PMPietermaritzburg 3/6/1901 ? 4/6/1901 - 7/6/1901

* Although HO is often an indication of 'Head Office' it was plausibly suggested that this was actually Cookhouse. The suggestion has now been withdrawn. Any ideas ? The date suggests somewhere near Ladysmith.
Perhaps 'HO' was for hospital, there was Clanwilliam Hospital in the Western Cape attached to the blockhouse system, maybe this was Chieveley Hospital.

 

Perhaps Ladysmith L- D-   Perhaps Ladysmith L- D-
L- 5.V.00. D- (probably) and L- 2.VIII.00. D- (probably)   Ladysmith.   Courtesy Steve Lawrie.

 

Elandslaagte Elandslaagte
-S 24.III.00.-R   Elandslaagte (Sundays River), Natal -S 29.III.00.-R   Elandslaagte, Natal
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Naauwpoort? Norvals Pont?   NP   M-   Naauwpoort? Norvals Pont?   NP   M-
NP 24.III.00. M-  Naauwpoort? or perhaps Norvals Pont?   Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Cookhouse
C- 4. V. 00. HO  Cookhouse?  or perhaps Chieveley Hospital?

 

Ingogo hand-stamp Ingogo hand-stamp
I- 19.VII.00.G-   Ingogo Hill, Natal
Courtesy of Andrew Higson.
I- 20.VII.00.G-   Ingogo Hill, Natal
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Pietermaritzburg-2
An example of the use of normal postage stamps.
I am told that the code stands for Pietermaritzburg in Natal and that
only two examples are recorded.
This is numbered 2 at the top and was used 4/6/1901

Image courtesy of Mark Gibson.
Pietermaritzburg-5

Another example, this is numbered 5 at the top and was used 7/6/1901.
That rather suggests that the office was opened 3/6/1901 and was sending one
telegram per day, presumably a report of some kind.

Image courtesy of Ian Paterson.
Anyone know of other examples ?

 

Transvaal.

CodeLocationOpenedClosedDates known
-P   K-Paardekop21/6/1900 ? 2/8/1900 - 4/8/1900
PG   PGPietersburg? ? 20/6/1902
S-   N-Standerton 22/6/1900 ? 1/8/1900 - 28/4/1902
-S   -NStanderton H.Q.25/6/1900 ? 21/7/1900 ? 25/6/1900 - 28/3/1901

 

Army Telegraph P K 3/8/00
Army Telegraph P K 4/8/00
-P 3-VIII.00 K- and -P 4-VIII.00 K-  of Paardekop, courtesy of courtesy of Ian Paterson.

 

Code PG  PG

Army Book, 295 C. Form, message sent from Pretoria to Pietersburg stamped PG 20.VI.02 PG - courtesy if Ian Paterson.

 

Army Telegraph 6d
-S 28.VI.00 -N   of Standerton, courtesy of Mark Gibson.
 
Army Telegraph 4 x 3d
S- 10.VIII.00 N-   of Standerton H.Q. courtesy of Stanley Gibbons
It is interesting that the form was hand-stamped, stamps added, then cancelled.
Notice the 'Y' in 'ARMY' on the bottom 2 stamps, compare to those above.
These are both constant varieties that occur on all the low values of this set.
Army Telegraph 3 x £1
-S 2-VII.00 -N   of Standerton, courtesy of Stanley Gibbons
 
Army Telegraph 2 x 10s
-S -6.VII.00 -N   of Standerton, courtesy of Stanley Gibbons
'-6' for the day, rather than '2-' on the ones above.
 

There are many other offices known in the Transvaal that used stamps of the South African Republic due to a lack of these British Army Telegraph stamps.
This includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. They can be seen on the Army Telegraphs 2 page.

 

 

Orange Free State

As with the later telegrams of the Transvaal, these only seem to have used stamps of the Orange Free State, or later, those of the Orange River Colony.
They can be found on page 2 here.

 

Bechuanaland

Bechuanaland was a British Protectorate, and the only examples that I've seen of Army Telegraph use (so far) in Bechuanaland were used either at Ootsi (Outsi)
on May 15th and 16th of 1900 using stamps of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, or a single example at Mafeking on 7/12/1900 on a cover to England, bearing Cape stamps.
They can be found on page 2 here.

.

 

Basutoland

During this period, Basutoland was a crown colony administered by Britain and supposedly neutral.
It did though happily accept many Boer refugees, together with their livestock to help the war effort, by depriving Boer fighters of the resources.
Additionally, apparently Refugees’ farms were also often exempted from the scorched earth policy of the British forces.
I have not though seen evidence of Army Telegraph Offices being opened there.

 

Some unknowns.

Code -P  D-

This is cancelled  -P 7.VIII.00.D-   and the date suggests somewhere in the Transvaal, but the exact location is unknown.
They appear to have been there long enough to have run out of one shilling stamps.
This image and the one of 9 days later shown below are courtesy of Peter and Marie (bygonesofbridlington on eBay).

Code -P  D-

Though feint, this is cancelled  -P 16.VIII.00.D-   It looks like after 9 days they had run out of 3d stamps too.
This image is half my normal size, click on it for a larger version.

Code -P  D-
Next day they found some 2d stamps.
-P 17.VIII.00.D-   - courtesy of ibredguy.co.uk (click image for listing)

 

 

Missing Army Telegraph 2s6d strip
This image is half size, click it for a full size version.
This item is doubly unknown. This unknown code R- GM is known on another item dated 7/2/1900, the item below (9/2/00) and on this dated 5/1/1900.
In addition, its current whereabouts are unknown, missing or lost.
It was recently purchased from Stanley Gibbons, but was not in the tamperproof package when it arrived in Australia.
It is very distinctive with 11 x 2s6d stamps.

If anyone should see or hear of this item, please contact
either myself (contact details below),

contacts

 

Unknown place R-   GM
R- 9.II.00. GM   Unknown location.   Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons.

 

Unknown place VS   M-
VS 15.III.00. M-   Unknown location.   Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

If it is assumed that the 'unknowns' were used in Natal or Transvaal, an idea of the location may be gained from the date.
However it has to be remembered that short-lived locations in Bechuanaland or the Orange Free State are also possibilities.
In Bechuanaland, the code O- -S (all on the left) is known used at Ootsi on 15/5/00. In OFS, local stamps were being used by then.

 

Army Telegraph 1s Army Telegraph 1s Army Telegraph 2d Army Telegraph 2d
M 27.VII.00 G   of ? 1901 LX   of ? CX 13.?.? ?   of ? JQ or perhaps JO, either way unknown.
courtesy of Steve Lawrie. Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons.

 

 

New evidence from Andrew Higson FRPSL proves that all of the low values from the halfpenny to the 8d used the same forme
to do the overprinting of 'ARMY TELEGRAPHS' (H33 - H44 excluding only H35).

Narrow Army Telegraph ½d
Andrew Higson first found the 'Specimen' 2d shown above with a flaw on the 'Y' and kept an eye open for other examples to see if it was constant.
He subsequently found the same flaw on a halfpenny stamp shown below.
Narrow Army Telegraph halfpenny
for convenience I have added the new 'ARMY TELEGRAPHS' overprint with wider 'ARMY' below for comparison.
Note that in 'TELEGRAPHS' the letters are narrower with wider spaces and the 'G's are different.
Narrow Army Telegraph halfpenny

Wide Army Telegraph 2d

In addition to the obvious 'Y' flaw,
the following characteristics are also shared :

  1. The first leg of the 'M' in 'ARMY' has an indent on the inside.
  2. The 'H' and 'S' of 'TELEGRAPHS' are slightly lopsided.



The fact this is a 'Specimen' stamp may indicate that
the flaw was present from the very beginning.

Army Telegraph ½d I would say that this is very conclusive evidence that
the same forme was used.


Since the unappropriated stamps were in sheets of 120
and the halfpenny in sheets of 240,
I would presume that the latter sheets were each divided
into two sheets of 120 for the overprinting.

It can therefore be expected that this flaw should be on
1 out of every 120 of the stamps on affected sheets.

This means there are two positions on a sheet
of the halfpennies that this can occur on.
Wide Army Telegraph 6d



Finally another example,

this time the flaw on a 6d stamp.

 

Army Telegraph ½d Army Telegraph ½d Army Telegraph ½d Here are another two examples
courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

There seems to be some similar blemishes to the left of the nose on one stamp.
The other does not.
This may help to identify the locations on a sheet.

 

Army Telegraph ½d
Another variety with a broken 'Y'
It is worth looking out for on all the low values.
Image courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
Army Telegraph ½d
Another example with the same broken 'Y' .
Image courtesy of  Ricky Verra.


This 'Y' seems to have had a lot of problems.
Army Telegraph 4 x 3d Army Telegraph 9 x 1d
The bottom two 3d here also have constant varieties.
Compare to the right-hand pair of the bottom row of the 1d block. - These two blocks courtesy of Stanley Gibbons

The pair below shows the same pair of flaws on halfpenny stamps.

Army Telegraph Y flaws
Image courtesy of  Ricky Verra

Army Telegraph ½d
Similar to the one above but the
stem of the 'Y' is different.
Army Telegraph ½d
Similar to the last one but the
left arm of the 'Y' is truncated.
Army Telegraph ½d
This has a broken 'P' and a bite out of
the 'L'.  I don't know if it is constant.
Anyone have another example ?
Images courtesy of  Ricky Verra.

 

 

Beware Forgeries !

Whilst on the subject of these overprints, Mark Gibson remarked that he thought that a lot of these were fakes.
I had a look at mine. At the top is a presumed genuine unappropriated die 1d and below that is a halfpenny vermilion.
If you look closely, the letters (which are formed by impact) have a pale edge surrounded by a darker 'splash zone'.
If you look at the halfpenny green there is no sign of that and the edges are very ragged. I would take this to be a fake.
detecting fakes.1
detecting fakes.2
detecting fakes.3
detecting fakes.4
Additionally the same is true with these as with the GB Official overprints. Look at the back.
On the vermilion the overprint can be seen clearly from the back.
There may be better fakes around, but this at least can be looked for
It has recently been pointed out to me that the forged overprints tend to be slightly slanted.
I am actually finding it hard to get a good image of H34 when looked at closely.
Can anyone send me a good(600dpi+), convincing image of H34 ?

Army Telegraph ½d Fournier fake
Here is an example of Fournier's work. The small 'G' and slanted 'Y' are a giveaway. He also forged the GB Official overprints.
Image courtesy of James Bendon who has many more Fournier examples for sale.
(Click on image to see source).

 

 

detecting fakes.6

Army Telegraph ½d fake 1   Army Telegraph ½d genuine   Army Telegraph ½d fake 2
Apart from being in the wrong place, these two are very rough compared to the genuine stamp in the centre.
There seems also to be a short hyphen after the 'L' of 'TELEGRAPHS'.
Images courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

Army Telegraph ½d genuine
A giveaway on this one is that 'ARMY' is the later overprint type, although 'TELEGRAPHS' has
letter width/spacing like the early type, with a bar added to the 'G'. It also looks rather rough.
Courtesy of Andrew Higson.

 

Note: Anyone familiar with the Langmead and Huggins book may have recognised some of the illustrations above (though perhaps in black and white).
Grosvenor Auctions have handled many of those items. Steve Lawrie bought many of them, including many that they did not illustrate.

One item illustrated (1/10d !?) was actually sold by Grosvenor Auctions at least 3 times !   with the last price about 45 times the first price.
Anyone interested can look at some of their previous sales.

They were kind enough to allow me to reproduce some of their illustrations.

 

Some examples of Bisects:

All recorded types are illustrated. Anyone have any new types ?

Here is a couple of 6d bisects, they all seem to have the code NP   M-   February or March 1900.

6d bisected on piece 6d bisected on piece
6d bisected - RH39a   -   NP   M- dated 24/3/00, Message number 3413. 6d whole and bisected   -   NP   M- dated 29/3/00, Message number 3632.
Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons.

These two are used in the same place 5 days apart. The difference in message number of 219 suggests about 44 messages per day.

 

RH37a on piece RH41a on piece
2d bisected   -   RH37a 1s whole and bisected   GB-H41 and H41a
Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

H48 and H48a on pieces H48 and H48a on piece
2s6d   -   GB-H42     and     'TWO PENCE' on 2s6d bisected   -   RH47a "ONE SHILLING" on 5s GB-H48   and   bisected   GB-H48a
Source: Andrew Higson. Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.

 

Cancellations.

The cancellers used for these were manufactured by the small Swiss firm of Güller and Sons in Hüttikon.
This was due to the success of J.J. Güller in providing the Swiss Post Office with a new type of canceller having revolving wheels in place of date plugs.
In 1887 the British Army placed their first order with Güller, who continued to receive orders until 1915.

In that time Güller supplied a total of 1515 cancellers, 475 of which were supplied in 1915 after which supplies from them ceased, no doubt due to WWI.
Subsequent cancellers were inscribed 'Army / Signals' reflecting a change of name that happened officially in 1910.
Initially these were the same diameter steel, but shortly after (end of 1916) a 10mm larger diameter type, seemingly of rubber was used.

The Swiss 'Army Telegraphs' type continued to be used until at least 1941. The new 'Army Signals' type was used until at least 1946.

Lt. Col. R.L. Hippisley reports that during the South African campaign (second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902) 1,047 telegraph offices
were operational at one time or another, but that only 147 of these were ‘permanent’.

This information is from an article written by Andrew Higson FRPSL and Michael Rutherfoord. It appeared in the London Philatelist of May 2011.

 

Güller record book entries
Early impressions from the Güller record book. Courtesy of Andrew Higson FRPSL.

There appears to have been some variability, here are some 1898, 1899, 1917 and 1918 examples:

Army Telegraph Cancel variations.Army Telegraph Cancel variations.

There were 9 steel wheels on these dating stamps.

Wheel12345 6789
-
M
L
K
J
I
H
G
F
E
D
C
B
A
-
Z
Y
X
W
V
U
T
S
R
Q
P
O
N
-
0
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
-
0
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
-
XII
XI
X
IX
VIII
VII
VI
V
IV
III
II
I
-
0
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
-
0
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
-
M
L
K
J
I
H
G
F
E
D
C
B
A
-
Z
Y
X
W
V
U
T
S
R
Q
P
O
N
Height (mm)55333 3355

Because no wheel had the whole alphabet, there were restrictions on the codes that could easily be used.
However it is clear that the engineers could rearrange the order of the wheels to get what they wanted.

Army Telegraph Cancel variations.Army Telegraph Cancel variations.

The letters could all be put on one side. It was also possible to put them back upside-down.

 

Army Signals

Shown here are examples to scale of 1916, 1921 and 1945.
Army Signals Cancel variations.
The first were larger and appeared about 1916 in magenta, and at least some had a space for a number. These seem to have become violet or blue.
Later ones are in black and the same size as the Army Telegraph ones.

 


World War I   1914-1918.

 

GB HQ 1915 GB HQ 1915
GB HQ 1915
GB HQ 1915
Posted from Worksop 4.30pm on 24/9/15 and stamped the same day with 2 strikes of
Army Telegraphs   H 24.IX.15 Q-   of Headquarters, presumably still in GB.
After enquiries it receives an Army Post Office stamp 'R.B' on 3/10/15
Somewhere along the line it has a manuscript 'wounded' and boxed '35' applied to the front.
Images courtesy of Peter Arnett of (bygonesofbridlington) on ebay.

 

Army Signals and Army Telegraph on same cover
December 1916 cover with Army Telegraphs code 'CR E-' and red Army Signals coded 'CY D-'
It was sent to the 'Canadians' at Bramshott, so 'CR E-' could stand for Canadian Regiment - Erie (Camp).
but perhaps not. (Source: Andrew Higson)

 

D.R.L.S. (Despatch Rider Letter Service) dated 16/8/1917.
Army Signals and Army Telegraph on same cover - Front
Army Signals and Army Telegraph on same cover - Front
Army Signals and Army Telegraph on same cover - Back
Images courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

D.R.L.S. (Despatch Rider Letter Service) dated 2/11/1918.
Despatch Rider Letter Service
Image courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

PH-19.III.18.-  

PH-19.III.18.-

Thought to be Popinghe in Belgium.
Now spelt without the 'h'.


Cancel closeup, front and back.
Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Front
PH-19.III.18.-  Front
Back
PH-19.III.18.-  Back

 


 

ZJI code hand-stamp  

ZJI 11.XI.18 -
Cessation of hostilities notice.

This illustrates a code that was sometimes used :

'A' to 'J' = 1 to 10 respectively
'Y' = Divisional HQ.
'Z' = Brigade.

This was sent to 101 Brigade.
(in Northern France)

Source: Andrew Higson.

 


 

 

 

Gallipoli Attack   1915-16.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is part of Turkey and protrudes into the Aegean Sea.
In an attempt to gain access to Constantinople (Istanbul), the allied forces planned an attack on Gallipoli.
Bases in Alexandria and the Island of Lemnos (Greek) were used to plan and support the operation.

 

West Mundros cover - 1916

 

This cover of December 1916 is addressed to Colonel Bridges at West Mudros.
This would seem to be Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Doveton Bridges, RMLI (Royal Marines Light Infantry).
The code MW MW has previously been attributed to Gallipoli, but by this date the allied troops had been withdrawn.
Instead it seems likely that the code is for "Mudros West". - Image courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Coincidentally, another Colonel Bridges was commander of the Australian Imperial Force and
was shot by a sniper in Gallipoli on 15 May 1915, dying 3 days later on a hospital ship bound for Alexandria.

 

 

The cover below of May 1917 is simply addressed to 'The Commanding Officer'.

West Mundros cover - 1916

 

 

 

World War II   1939-1945.

 

Army Telegraph coded GZA
Army Telegraphs coded 'GZA-12.XI.40' (Gaza ?) Palestine.
A.I.F. is probably (Second) 'Australian Imperial Force' (Source: Andrew Higson).


Code HCD on OHMS cover - front
An O.H.M.S. envelope with "ARMY SIGNALS" cancel HCD-22.V.41.     Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
The reverse, shown below shows the previous use covered by an 'economy label'.
Reverse with code AE-
Reverse showing code AE-

 

These next two O.H.M.S. envelopes are mine at least :)
Army Signals and Polish CDS on same cover
The back of an O.H.M.S. envelope (containing contents typed in Polish) of February 1945 showing "ARMY SIGNALS" cancel

 

Army Signals on OHMS
The front of a different but similar O.H.M.S. envelope with the (address?) label torn off the back leaving no clue of location.

 

 

TAK-15.X.46. Army Signals Cancel with Cachet of 26 Demob Centre, Takoradi and Takoradi, Gold Coast CDS - courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.
Army Signals on Takoradi, Gold Coast cover   Army Signals on Takoradi, Gold Coast cover

 


 

 

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Comments

Pink highlighting indicates a possible date conflict.
You can mark a row by clicking on it and 'un-mark' it by clicking on it again.
You can see images by clicking the number under the 'Qty' heading.

This listing is based on the work of Peter Langmead (who built on the work of Commander Brown) and has been updated by Richard Stroud, Alan Drysdall and Andrew Higson.

I have added a column for 'Earliest' because I think it is important.
In most cases at the moment it is the same date as 'Last-known' because I only know one example.
There is therefore plenty of opportunity to extend the known range if anyone wants to send me a scan (300+dpi).
I will happily update the record, display the item and give credit for it.

 

Cape of Good Hope stamps for Bechuanaland 1884-85.

COGH Military Telegraph COGH Military Telegraph
GB-H9GB-H10

Langmead & Huggins (page 95) mentions the 6d (Wmk: Cabled Anchor) and 1s (Wmk: Crown over CC) of Cape of Good Hope
being used after September 1885 in Bechuanaland by British forces.

RH # Hisc. Description Rarity Mint Used
RH9 H9 RESERVED (see under Bechuanaland)      
RH10 H10 RESERVED (see under Bechuanaland)      

For consistency, I have moved these to Army Telegraphs 2 page where I also list other stamps
used by the British Army that were not valid for use in the British Isles.

 

 


 

Stationery.

Army Telegraphs & Signals Form C2121, courtesy of Steve Lawrie. (Printed by Eyre & Spottiswoode, London)
Army Telegraphs & Signals Form C2121 - Front Army Telegraphs & Signals Form C2121 - Back

 

-W 25.VII.02 D-   of Wolmaransstad on O.H.M.S. Army Telegraph envelope C377 - courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.
Transvaal 1d for Xmas cards

 

References to publications relating to Military Telegraphs and Army Telegraphs.

This list is kindly provided by Dr Andrew Higson FRPSL

Adams, R.M. (1970) Through to 1970: Royal Signals Golden Jubilee. Royal Signals Institution.

Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, The (2005) “For the Record: The use of unappropriated die Army Telegraph duties in South Africa (from Jim Buckingham)”, Vol.48, No.4, December, pp.88-89.

Austin, B. (2004) “Wireless In The Boer War”, The Journal of the Royal Signals Institution, Vol.XXV, No., Spring, pp.23-29.

Brown, A.J. (1967) “East African Campaign 1914-1918 (continued)”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter No.87, Vol.IX, No.7, pp61-67.

Brown, E.G. (1960) “Army Telegraph Cancellations”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.3, No.2, pp25-27.

Cairnes, Captain W.E. (1899) “The British Army Manoeuvres”, Scribner’s Magazine, January, pp.61-76.

Coles, C.W.E. (1970) “Army Signals ‘NR’ 1917”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter No. 101, January-February, p.10.

Creeke, Jr, A.B. (1891) “Military Telegraphs”, Philatelic Record, Vol.XIII, No.48, pp.83-88.

Daniel, F. (1986) “Khartoum? Or not Known? That was the Question”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter No.187, Spring, pp.125-126.

Daniel, F. (1987) “Handstamps of the Royal Engineers Signals in Mesopotamia and Egypt, 1917-1918”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter No.194, Vol.XX, No.4, Winter, pp.58-66.

Dobbs, M. (1986) “Fake Army Signals Covers From Austria”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter, No.187, Spring, pp.118-122.

Dobbs, M. (1990) “JER – A Jersey Code or Not?”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter, No.205, Autumn, p.88.

Drysdall, A.R. (1995) Transvaal: Revenue and Telegraph Stamps.  James Bendon Ltd in association with the Transvaal Study Circle: Limassol, Cyprus.

Drysdall, A.R. and Langmead, P. (1996) “Telegraph stamps – an update”, The Transvaal Philatelist, Vol.31, No.2 (118), pp.70-73.

Drysdall, A.R. and Penycuick, K. (1986) “The East Africa Campaign 1914-18: Cancellations on N.F.F. mail”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter, No.188, Summer, pp.128-131.

Forces Postal History Society Newsletter (1983), “Doubtful Lundy Covers”, No.175, Spring, pp.64-65.

Hippisley, Lt-Col. R.E. (1902) History of the Telegraph operations during the War in South Africa 1899-1902.  HMSO: London.
This can be read online at the National Library of Australia.

Hiscocks, S.E.R. (1982) Telegraph and telephone stamps of the world: a priced and annotated catalogue: published by the author.

Hisey, R.W. and Bartshe, R.T. (2004) Orange Free State Philately, Vol.2 The Telegraphs.  The Philatelic Society for Greater Southern Africa and The OSSEWA Press: Sebring, FL.

Jagger, A. (1962) “Army Signals Express Letter Services”, Forces Postal History Society Newsletter, No.58 (Vol.VI, No.8), November-December, pp.71-72.

Langmead, P. (1975) “Early Army Telegraph Cancellations”, The London Philatelist, Vol.84, January, p.15.

Langmead, P. (1980) “Great Britain Telegraphs”, The London Philatelist, May-June, pp.86-95.

Langmead, P. (1986) “British Army telegraph stamps used in South Africa 1899-1900: A plea for help”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.29, pp.19-22.

Langmead, P. (1988) “Army Telegraph Cancellations” The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.31, pp.34-37.

Langmead, P. (1995) “British Army Telegraphs in the Boer War”, The London Philatelist, Vol.104, p.21.

Langmead, P. (2003) “Army Telegraph Cancellations of the Anglo-Boer War”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.46, No.4, December, pp.89-92.

Langmead, P. and Huggins, A. (2003) The Telegraph Stamps and Stationery of Great Britain 1851-1954.  GB Philatelic Publications Ltd: London.

Lucking, Tony (2002) “Telephony in the Anglo-Boer War”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.45, No.3, September, pp.58-62.

Millineaux, Lt-Col. (Ret.) D.S. (2004) “Young Harry’s War”, The Journal of the Royal Signals Institution, Vol.XXV, No.1, Spring, pp.18-22.

Nalder, R.F.H. (1953) History of British Army Signals in the Second World War.  Royal Signals Institution.

Stagg, E.C.W. (Maj.) (1974) Sudan. The Postal Markings 1867-1970.  London: RPSL.

Stanford, Tony (2002) “The Half-Penny QV Jubilee Army Telegraphs Overprints”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.45, No.1, March, pp.17-18.

Stroud, R. (2004) “Army Telegraph cancellations of the Anglo-Boer War”, The Anglo-Boer War Philatelist, Vol.47, No.3, September, pp.74-76.

Tamsen, E. (1902a) “The fiscal and telegraph stamps of the Orange Free State”, Morley’s Philatelic Journal, Vol.3, No.10, pp.73-75.

Tamsen, E. (1902b) “The telegraph stamps of the Transvaal”, Morley’s Philatelic Journal, Vol.3, No.11, pp.81-83.

The Sphere (1900) “How the telegraph is worked in the field”, March 31, p.314.

Stamps (circa 1985) “More on Fake Army Signals Covers”, p.45.

Ward, G (1953) “Army Signals Service”, Philatelic Magazine, November 6th, p.911.

 


 

This page has given me a steep learning curve

A am obliged to the following for helping me with this web-page :

Peter Langmead & Alan Huggins for "The Telegraph Stamps and Stationery of Great Britain 1851-1954" the book that got me started on this.
S.E.R. Hiscocks for the book that filled in many of the gaps: 'TELEGRAPH and TELEPHONE Stamps of the World, a Priced and Annotated Catalogue'.

GB Overprints Society

Many illustrations provided by Dr Andrew Higson FRPSL

Many illustrations provided by Dr. Mark Gibson
Many illustrations provided by Grosvenor Auctions

 

 

Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.
Contact:   Emale
Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.

 

Last updated 2nd. September 2021

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20/21 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.

 

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