by Adam Reynolds, Project Archivist (Stamp Artwork)
In undertaking my work for the Stamp Artwork Project, I came across two items of interest in connection to the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War. On 27th July 1940, just weeks into the occupation, the German commandant, Hauptmann Gussek, instructed that all British postage stamps be overprinted in black with a swastika design and the inscription ”Jersey 1940”.
On the same day, penny stamps to be overprinted with the swastika were approved by Gussek, and a sheet of 30 stamps was submitted on 2nd August.
The stamps were never issued, and of the four sheets printed only two have survived. In the recollection of the Bailiff of Jersey, Sir Alexander Coutanche, the German Commandant could not sanction the use of the stamps “because they contained a reproduction of the Imperial Crown”.
Following protests from Coutanche, the decision to overprint stamps with the swastika was abandoned, reputedly so as not to antagonise the local population.
For further information on this in BPMA archive, the following files may be of interest;