Belgium released a set of five non-denominated stamps celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. It is a part of an annual series that began on 16th October 2014. A Pane of five stamps has been released every year since the introduction of this series. A souvenir sheet of two stamps with the message “We Shall Never Forget” was also released this year.
Kris Demey used photographs from the Army Museum and other sources to design the 2018 pane. All five panes in the series have been designed by him. The photos highlight events like the liberation of Belgium, soldiers returning home, reconstruction, war monuments, and disabled veterans. The final design features a soldier reading braille and six other soldiers are playing musical instruments.
The selvage of the pane features a large photo of an army parade in Brussels, newspapers cuttings, war propaganda and a train ticket. The “We Shall Never Forget” souvenir sheet is in the shape of two poppies. An excerpt from the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae is written around the poppies. The first two lines of the poem read as “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row on row." Poppy became a universal symbol of remembrance ever since then.
Pictures of British soldiers in the trenches, war memorials, and the ruins of Ypres are featured on the stamps in the souvenir sheet. Stamps in the pane of five pay the basic letter rate to European countries, which is €1.30 currently, while those in the souvenir sheet pay an international rate.
Image Courtesy: Belgium Post