Hong Kong HRH visit 1971

BLAST FROM THE PAST - PHILATELIC ALLSORTS.

HRH Princess Anne’s visit to Hong Kong 1971 as Colonel in Chief of 14th/20th King’s Hussars.

When we were looking for something else, we opened a box of ‘all-sorts’, and we came across an envelope which was not only interesting in itself, but had surprising contents. The envelope had been given to us by the addressee of this letter, as he was clearing out some of his old philatelic material.

The commemorative stamp 7 ½ p was issued by Royal Mail as one of three marking different anniversaries, this being for the 1900th anniversary of the City of York, plus the definitive 1 ½ p stamp to make up the postage rate. Both stamps show the phosphor lines.The postmark however is FORCES POST OFFICE 198 dated 2 Nov 71. The postmark on the reverse is KOWLOON HONG KONG 7 — AM 3 Nov 71.

We found the seal on this packet fascinating.

Inside there was another envelope (which included a two page letter from the RAF HKPS), two covers and two newspaper clippings. The postmark on that envelope was FIELD POST OFFICE 233 dated A 20 SP 71, and on the reverse the KOWLOON HONG KONG mark dated 6pm 20 SP 71. The stamp was the Machin halfpenny issued by Britain, and that seems a very small amount for a letter — perhaps it was a Forces rate?

The letter inside was acknowledgement of an order of 2 of the covers, and an explanation as to why the cover was produced. It was written by the secretary of the R.A.F.H.P.S. and was addressed to this friend of ours who was one of the Rats of Tobruk in WWII.

First page of the letter, note the reference to “our Princess”.

Second page of letter


The covers were the same, but had consecutive numbers of 868 and 869 out of the 5000 which were printed.

This included a printed insert giving information about the Regiment.


The first news clipping concerned the cover, noting that it was a philatelic first for two reasons.


The second was a report from the South China Morning Post of September 1971 headed

Ghurkhas prepare to stand guard at Buckingham palace,

with a photo of the Gurkhas demonstrating ceremonial procedures at Casino Camp in the New Territories.


This was such a surprise to us, as in 1971 we were in England and have no recollection of the attention that was being paid to the Gurkhas becoming the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

Before we put this onto our website, we checked online and can find no reference to the R.A.F. Hong Kong Philatelic Society, or their donation to the Gurkha Welfare Fund. Did they make their target of HK$20,000 we wonder?

Any information would be most welcome.



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