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Ascension Naturalist Robin Hannay

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The FMF Local Post (FMFLP) of Fort Myers Florida, saluted naturalist Robin Hannay for his work on Ascension Island by issuing a special commemorative local post first day cover in 1978. Many years ago I had seen a series of philatelic articles called "Flowers for the Living", whereby it had write ups about people still alive and showed stamps honoring them. It seemed such a nice way to honor someone and give them recognition while they were alive. That was the purpose of issuing this special commemorative cover. I knew Mr. Hannay personally when I worked on Ascension in 1971-2. He did enjoy being honored this way, and little did anyone know that within a years time he would die on his beloved island of a heart attack.

With the announcement of the September 1978 issuance of postage stamps from Ascension Island showing volcanoes, particularly that of the Three Sisters (also known as "Sisters" or "Sisters Peak"), I decided then that this would be an appropriate postage stamp to have applied to my covers, as Mr. Hannay was directly involved with a Sisters project.

He was the individual who built the path to Sisters Peak in 1967 to make the walk to the top less demanding. Organized walks to prominent land areas are a favorite pastime on Ascension and are conducted by the Ascension Historical Society. This path as well as a beach on the island were later named after Mr. Hannay in recognition of his island works and studies of the creatures and plant life on Ascension.

FMFLP Ascension/Hannay Cover

The above cover has a FMF Local Post imperforated stamp printed in black on goldenrod gummed paper depicting an Ascension Island scene of "Two Boats Village" in the center with the "Three Sisters" volcano peaks to the right side of the stamp, with inscriptions "Two Boats Village" and "Three Sisters" on the bottom of 10c (cent) stamp.

This local post stamp has a local cancel in red showing crossed british and U.S.A. flags with the inscription "First Day, FMF Travel L.P." (when my local post covers are serviced elsewhere I usually have a special "Travel" cancel as was used on this cover). The cover also has a three line black word rubber stamp cachet reading: "FMFLP Salutes Robin Hannay and Hannays Path to Sisters".

The cover received a new 3 pence Ascension postage stamp and it received the first day of issue Ascension postmark of 4 Sept. 1978 depicting an Ascension turtle. This first day postmark is one that has been used on previous occasions but has special significance to Mr. Hannay as he has made a serious study on Ascension turtles also. This 3 pence postage stamp appropriately features the flank of Sister and is so marked on the stamp.

Also of note is that the local post stamp on the above cover is tied to the envelope by the Ascension postmark, which signifies that these covers were prepared ahead of time and sent to the island to receive the 3 pence stamp and first day of issue cancel.

two boat village/Hannay path picture.

The photograph above, taken by Chris Turton in 1999, is an almost identical picture of the Three Sisters peaks and Two Boats Village as shown on the FMF Local Post stamp. Chris has added descriptions for me with an outline of Hannay's Path to the top of Sisters Peak as well as other prominent features in the photograph such as Two Boats Village, its school, the TTR Radar and the BBC fuel tanks.

Hannay's Beach picture.

The photograph above is a picture of Hannay's beach on Ascension Island, also taken by Chris Turton. Chris says some people call it pebbly beach, which is just behind the blow hole (the blow hole is just right of center of the picture).

I would like to thank and acknowledge the assistance of the Ascension Island Postmaster and postoffice staff in their help in processing these first day covers; Chris Turton, who worked on Ascension for the BBC and provided the photographs shown here; the editor of "The Islander" newspaper on Ascension for publishing news and availability of these new FMF Local Post covers in their Jan. 26, 1979 edition.

Details of the FMF Local Post:
  • OPERATOR: Joe Frasketi, Jr.
  • EMAIL ADDRESS:Send Email to Joe
  • LOCATION: Fort Myers FL, USA.
  • START OF OPERATION: December 07, 1972
  • STILL IN OPERATION, with occasional covers being issued now.

A detailed article about the FMF Local Post and how it got started was published in the Nov/Dec. 1983 (Vol. 11, Issue No.6) of The Poster, the official journal of the
Local Post Collectors Society.
NOTE: this is the NEW official website of the LPCS as of Nov. 2008, please bookmark it and delete the old bookmark.
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