A History Footnote

As many of you will know, I collect Irish stamps.

Take a look at this envelope and stamp I bought today….very cheaply. A few pence.

image This is an envelope posted in Cork on 8th May 1941. The stamp is a temporary issue because of war-time shortages. The overprint commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Easter Rising. A “proper” commemorative stamp was issued later in 1941.

The address is interesting. “The War Office, Arnside Street, Walworth, London”. So a letter sent to the War Office but no censorship markings in either Ireland or England (I need to get more information on war time regulations). But the letter is forwarded to “SW1”.

Walworth is well known to me. My sister lived there in the 1980s. It is a long way from “Whitehall”. In fact “Arnside Street” is notorious in military history circles. It was a warehouse, storing military records, widows pension, orphan allowances from World War One. It was destroyed in a German air raid during the Blitz (Battle of Britain) in 1940. Notwithstanding the unprecedented scale of the bombing, the records should have been moved to safer ground.

I am not sure if there were fatalities but I would assume that people died.

But the legacy is not inconvenience to military historians. There was actual human tragedy in disrupting the lives of many widows and children, trying to make their way thru even more difficulty.

I would assume that the person in Cork had a British Army connexion to World War One. And there is an irony that a stamp commemorating the 1916 Rising is used on the correspondence.

The Footnotes in History are as interesting as “The Big Picture”.

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