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1940 Issues

King George VI Definitive Issue Listings
The first King George VI definitive issue is huge, we have the standard issue in 2 Parts with 4 issues (1937-41), then the Zoological issue in 3 Parts with 8 Issues (1937-56) followed by the Robes Design issue in 3 Issues(1938-49), then the King George VI Surcharges in 1 Issue (1941), followed by the additional King George VI Definitives in 5 Issues (1942-49), then the Additional Zoological release in 3 Issues (1948-56), I have separated all of these for convenience, numbering them by part &/or issue, then adding links to each of the sections where they appear, this list is printed at the start of each year where they exist.  

Australian Armed Forces
Watermark 47 (C of A)
Designer: Virgil Reilly - Engraver: Frank D. Manley - Printer: John Ash until April, 1940, then W.C.G. McCracken
This release is referred to as the Australian Imperial Forces issue, it has had many articles written and much information passed around, a large amount of it completely wrong.   In December 2012, I received an email from Professor Cameron Hazelhurst (Australian National University), who requested my aid on this 1940 issue as he was researching into Squadron Leader A. N. Hicks and his link to this issue as the model for the airman.
I replied with these basic details as I knew them:
The basic design was from a Sydney Women's Weekly Cover produced by the Sydney artist Virgil Reilly, but the Note Printing Branch designer/engraver F.D. Manley made a number of basic alterations to the design and in the case of the service men he used photographs of three servicemen as models for the three service figures for the end stamp design. The people in Virgil Reilly's picture are known and they are Gavin Reilly (soldier), Charles Bruce (sailor), Arthur Ride (airman) and the nurse was Virgil Reilly's wife.
Further research came up with details that stated the soldier was Gavan (spelling error) Reilly, the son of the artist, who was killed at Buna Mission, Papua on the north coast of what is now New Guinea in 1941.
The airman was Squadron Leader Arthur Norman Ride R.A.A.F. who was killed in the skies over England in 1941.
The sailor was Leading Seaman Charles Henry Bruce R.A.N. of the British ship Ceramic, who was killed in the Atlantic in 1942.
Professor Hazelhurst responded with; In S/L Hick's file (NAA: A9300 Hick A.N.) there are some pencilled notes that listed Reilly and Bruce but name the airman as `A. N. Wright R.A.A.F. killed 1941 over England.
It appears that the original information came from the Collas Stamp Monthly in 1944. As the information may have been gathered by phone I suppose it is possible that `Wright' became `Ride'. As there is no A.N. Ride in the R.A.A.F. personnel records. There is an Arthur Norman Wright and he was an airman which seems more likely than an officer since the others in the picture are not officers. Service Details: WRIGHT, ARTHUR NORMAN: Service Number - 62893 : Date of birth - 11 Mar 1907 : Place of birth - MARRICKVILLE N.S.W. : Place of enlistment - SYDNEY : Next of Kin - WRIGHT DOROTHY.
I then made an inquiry with AusPost (over another matter) and they were not only forthcoming on my inquiry, but also with a transcript from the archives dealing with this matter and I quote;
`I suggest you consult the booklet "Australian Commemorative and Air Mail Stamps 1927 to 1951", published by the Australian Post Office in the early 1970s. Under the 1940 A.I.F. issue it is stated:
The design prepared by the Note Printing Branch followed the same general theme (i.e. of the Virgil Reilly illustration) but was much changed in detail. Photographs of servicemen were used (two - the soldier and airmen - were actually members of the Note Printing Branch staff) . . . It has sometimes been stated that the three men depicted on the stamp were all killed in action. However, the figures in the design were not intended to portray particular persons but were representative of the resolve and integrity of the services.
It may be remarked that the three men who posed for the photographs used by the Note Printing Branch all survived the war. I could add that the booklet was written (but not acknowledged) by Kevin McKay, head of the Philatelic Group at the time and the information based on the Postmaster-General's Department files, now in the custody of National Archives of Australia. Although I do not have any way of proving the point I suspect the information about the source of the stamp design might have been obtained directly from the designer and engraver, Frank Manley.' unquote
What I now believe is that Virgil Reilly did the original design based on portrait's of the servicemen (including his son as the soldier, his wife as the nurse, C.H. Bruce as the sailor & A.N. Wright as the airman), then Frank D. Manley, (the Designer/Engraver at the time) took that cover and reworked it using three servicemen from his department, that would explain both sets of notes (Squadron Leader R.A. Hicks service record & the booklet).  I have on file two copies of the original Women's Weekly cover, a copy of the Australian Commemorative and Air Mail Stamps 1927 to 1951, along with two preliminary designs that were produced before the final stamps were produced, showing the evolution of this design, the two preliminary designs can be found here, listed under 1940.
A special thank you to both; Dr Cameron Hazlehurst FRSL FRHistS, Adjunct Professor, Research School of Humanities & the Arts, Australian National University and also Richard Breckon, Philatelic Group, Australia Post for their invaluable help in this matter.
Issued 15 July with perforation 13¾ x 13¼

34-1-1 1d Green Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Nurse;
34-2-1 2d Red Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Nurse;
34-3-1 3d Blue Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Nurse;
34-4-1 6d Brown Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Nurse

King George VI Definitive Issues
Part 2, Issue 1
Watermark 47 (C of A)
Designers: Frank D. Manley & R. A. Harrison - Engraver: Frank D. Manley - Printer: John Ash until April, 1940, then W.C.G. McCracken
This issue has 2 Parts with 4 Issues, Part 1, Issue 1, 1937; Part 1, Issue 2, 1938; Part 2, Issue 1, 1940 (below) & Part 2, Issue 2, 1941; the designs are of both King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (who became the much loved Queen Mother) there were quite a number of die lots & corrections made during all parts of the issue.
Issued November with perforation 14¾ x 14
23-6-1 3d Blue, (long Epaulette)