Oct 18: FRENCH NORTH AFRICA – Russell Walker

This display included a mix of stamps and social history, his collection stemming from years in France and Algeria in the early 70’s. The whole gamut was covered from cave painting of tropical animals, through Roman colonisation, Islamic culture, to French ‘temporary’ invasion in 1830 and long-term occupation. Without rivers to facilitate penetration into the interior, transport links were poor. The main part of the port of Algiers was built by the Brits on a 99-year lease and was a major coaling port for British shipping. The French built E-W railways from the 1860’s and gradually progressed southwards into the Sahara and the Foreign Legion outposts. Algiers was a popular tourist destination before and after the turn of the 20th Century and a winter residence for those with rheumatics and depression. The Scots built a church and published newspapers. Prior to 1924 French stamps were used (these collected on cover); post 1924 Algeria produced their own or used overprints. There is a history of military conflict with massacres during the 1890’s Islamic troubles. Regimental cachets were used on some mail and PCs were produced quickly from actual photos after skirmishes and battles. The French intruded into Morocco in the early 1900’s and mail was carried by camel – some 25-30,000 of which died during the French campaign. Churchill’s Operation Torch brought the British 8th Army from Egypt & Tunisia into Algeria in 1943 and various covers and aircraft were shown.

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Posted in: 2007-08

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