Volcano part IV - Ships of the Volcano Period


Volcano part IV - Ships of the Volcano Period

The final set of stamps in the four part series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the volcanic eruption in 1961 and the resettlement of the island in 1963 features ships of this period.

The 25p stamp shows HMS Puma. After considerable pressure from islanders and their supporters, a Resettlement Survey expedition was mounted to Tristan to consider the viability of repatriating the islanders. The six islander members of the expedition set about repairing and maintaining the homes and infrastructure of the settlement. Government representative, Gerry Stableford, landed with the others on 8th September 1962, to consider conditions on the island, and the potential for a successful repatriation. 

HMS Puma visited Tristan in early October 1962 to provide a passage to Gerry Stableford and the ship’s crew blasted a new access road (still known as “Puma Road”) from Garden Gate Beach to the village.

The 35p stamp shows HMS Jaguar. In early 1962, The Royal Society mounted an expedition to Tristan to study the effects of the volcano on the flora and fauna of the island, as well as to study the volcanology of the island. The expedition had no remit to consider the possibility of the islanders returning. Prior to the expedition HMS Jaguar visited the island on 16th December 1961 to make a preliminary investigation before the main expedition departed.

The 95p stamp shows MV Tristania. The MV Tristania was heavily involved during the entire volcano period. One of  two fishing vessels licensed to fish Tristan waters, she was off-shore at the time of the eruption on 10th October 1961, and was instrumental in evacuating the islanders to nearby Nightingale Island to await further evacuation to safety. On 8th September 1962, she landed the Resettlement Survey team on Tristan and on 9th April 1963, she assisted in the return of the first resettlement party of 51 islanders.

The £1.10p stamp shows the MV Stirling Castle. Once safely evacuated from Tristan, the islanders were taken to Cape Town, where they embarked on the MV Stirling Castle and departed for England on 21st October 1961.

The £2 stamp on the miniature sheet shows the MV Bornholm, which brought the final group of returning islanders from England to Tristan, arriving on 10th November 1963. The background to the sheet shows the SAS Transvaal off the still active volcanic eruption on Tristan on 27th January 1962 when she brought the Royal Society Expedition to the island. The Transvaal also took from the island the first mail from the expedition, and a cover from that mail also appears on the miniature sheet.

Adapted from text by Mike Faulds.

Technical Details:
Designer                                       Andrew Robinson
Printer                                           BDT International
Process                                          Lithography
Stamp Size                                    42.58 x 28.45mm
Sheet Format                                20 (2 x 10)
Souvenir sheet size                       94 x 64mm
Perforation                                    14 per 2cms
Release Date                                 9 December, 2013