In January 1942, the month after Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong, an internment facility was created for non-Chinese enemy nationals. Stanley Camp housed about 2,800 people, among them the Head Postmaster of Hong Kong, Edward Wynne-Jones.
Wynne-Jones later recalled: ‘As may be imagined, time hung heavily on our hands during those long years, though hope never died. In 1943, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to have a commemorative stamp issued when Hong Kong was finally liberated, and I set about designing one’. This would turn out to be more than just idle wishful thinking on his part. His design would become one of Hong Kong’s best-loved issues.
From his rough pencil sketch in the camp, Wynne-Jones asked a fellow internee to produce a finished drawing of it. W. E. Jones (no relation), who had been the Chief Draughtsman of the Hong Kong Public Works Department, did so using colored crayons.
After his release at the end of the war in 1945, Wynne-Jones brought this artwork back to Britain with him, and sent it to the Colonial Office for consideration. A design for the crown colonies’ planned Victory omnibus issue, showing the Houses of Parliament, had already been agreed with the Colonial Office.
However, because of the exceptional background to Wynne-Jones’ design, special permission was given by King George VI for it to be used in Hong Kong instead of the universal one. Two values, recess-printed by De La Rue, were issued on August 29, 1946: a 30c intended for domestic letters and a $1 for airmail use.
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