Issue Date: 08/11/2007
Issue Name: Lest We Forget 2007 Single Stamp Doubled Cover
Producer: Buckingham Covers
This tribute to the Great War of 1914-1918 is an unusual doubled first day cover. One stamp comes from the Lest We Forget miniature sheet, issued by Royal Mail on 8th November 2007 and postmarked on that day. The other is the Tommy stamp from the Army Uniforms set, postmarked on the day of issue (20th September 2007). A limited number were personally signed by Earl Haig. He is the direct descendent of Earl Haig, Commander in chief of the British forces in France during most of World War One.
The Battle of Passchendaele
The battle of Passchendaele, fought July/November 1917, is sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres. The attack of Passchendaele was Sir Douglas Haig's attempt to break through Flanders. Haig had thought about a similar attack in 1916, but the Battle of the Somme occupied his time in that year. However, one year later, Haig felt able to launch such an attack. His main aim was a breakthrough to the coast of Belguim so that German submarine pens could be destroyed. Admiral Jellicoe had already advised both Haig and the British government that the loss of shipping could not be sustained and that Britain would face severe problems in 1918 if such losses continued.
Haig could not have known that the weather would have played such a major part in the battke. Nor that German troops from the Eastern Front had been sent to strengthen German lines. This was not part of Haig's planning and nor could it have been. The dangers of German submarine activity had to be eliminated whatever the risk. A British success would have gone soneway to improving the morale of the French army, that had mutinied in that year - an ally supporting an ally. Passchendaele was a very costly battle, both for the allies and the Germans. However, it kept the French in the war and paved the way for victories in 1918.
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Earl Haig is a direct descendent of the 1st Earl Haig.