Isle of Man Post will issue a set of 6 stamps on 10th May 2011 in honour of a former Liverpool telegram boy who became the Island’s most influential cartoonist.Between 1933 and 1962 newspaper cartoons by Harold ‘Dusty’ Miller (1898-1964) captured political and social issues in a way that text alone could not. Some cartoons would remain topical for generations. Occasionally he bordered on morale-raising or conscience pricking propaganda but mostly visualised public sentiment. Miller won a scholarship to Liverpool School of Art when 13. Financially unable to take advantage of it, he became a telegram message boy, at 14, for Liverpool Post Office.
Later, in a World War 1 trench, he designed a 1917 Christmas card which the Postmen’s Federation adopted for sending to postal workers in the armed forces. In 1919 Miller joined Liverpool City Police and designed a police Roll of Honour. Health considerations, however, led to him moving with his Manx wife to the Isle of Man in 1926 and becoming advertising manager and artist for the Isle of Man Times and Examiner newspapers. Cartoons had to be produced to meet the newspapers’ weekly deadlines and were often drawn at home.
In 1953 Dusty’s artistry in oils and water colours led to his being founder chairman of the Isle of Man Art Society. His dream of an annual Easter art exhibition was realised in 1963, one year before his death, aged 66. Ten years later, the founder of Isle of Man Post Office and former work colleague, Victor Kneale, would suggest that, had Dusty been alive, he could have designed commercial postage stamps. In fact, he had produced two designs in about 1938 and 1953 when there were public campaigns for them.