03:38PM, Wednesday 04 May 2022
Richard Poad, former Maidenhead Heritage Centre chairman
The former chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre has helped the Royal Mail produce a new set of stamps which pay tribute to the role of women during the Second World War.
Richard Poad, who stepped down from his position at the Park Street museum earlier this year, collaborated with the postal service on the creation of the 14 stamps.
Entitled Unsung Heroes: Women of World War II, a main set of 10 stamps illustrate the range of work women undertook during the war years.
A further four stamps, presented in a miniature sheet, showcase the work of the Ferry Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary – also known as the ‘Spitfire Women’ – a group of female pilots who operated out of headquarters at White Waltham Airfield.
As well as Mr Poad, who is also from the Air Transport Auxiliary Museum, the Royal Mail worked with other history experts across the UK, including university professors, to design the stamps.
By the middle of 1943, the majority of women in wartime employment were working in industry, agriculture and the women’s services.
One of the 14 new stamps produced by the Royal Mail. Photo: Royal Mail.
The women’s auxiliary services were established at the outset of the war: the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1938, and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1939.
To begin with, roles in the ATS were limited to cooks, cleaners, orderlies, store-women, and drivers, but as the war went on these were expanded to include other duties.
More roles were open to women in the WAAF and the WRNS, while the ‘Spitfire women’ of the civilian Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) delivered planes to airfields around the country.
David Gold, director of external affairs and policy at the Royal Mail, said: “These stamps are a tribute to the millions of women who contributed to the war effort and the allied victory.
“Their bravery and sacrifice is often overlooked, but their work helped to drive some of the post-war social changes that eventually saw equal opportunities and equal pay legislation.
“We must also remember the women who supported the war effort at home, managing households despite the unceasing demands of total war.”
The new stamps go on general sale today (Thursday), with a presentation pack containing all the stamps priced at £16.
For more information, visit www.royalmail.com/unsungheroes
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