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Isle of Man : Maritime Heritage Stamp Issue

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Isle of Man is issuing a  miniature sheet of four stamps on 1st May 2015 featuring the paintings of artist, mariner and Manxman John Halsall. The issue also marks a number of historic anniversaries from the rich Manx maritime heritage. The Isle of Man has a long and proud tradition as a seafaring nation and for many generations its people have made a living from this. To celebrate this proud tradition, Isle Of Man Post Office has produced a stunning miniature sheet featuring four historic Manx vessels painted by artist, mariner and Manxman John Halsall. The issue also marks the 100th anniversary of HMS Ramsey sinking, the Master Frank RY95, The Wanderer (rescue boat to the Lusitania) and the 75th Anniversary of the loss of Mona’s Queen.

The Master Frank is the Island’s longest-surviving half-decker still afloat and was built around 1896 by Clucas and Duggan, shipwrights, boat and canoe builders and block and spar makers, to cope with the short, sharp seas to the North East of Ramsey where vessels practiced the fishing trade. She was subsequently purchased by the Kinnen family who brought her back to Ramsey and fished mainly for cod using a long line. She remained with them until 1964 when Willie Kinnin sold her. The Kinnins repurchased her again in 1969, keeping her until 1976. After a thorough rebuild she was then relaunched in 1996 and is now a regular sight at traditional boat events.

In May 1915 luxury cruise liner Lusitania which was launched by the Cunard Line in 1906 and holder of the Blue Riband sank in just 18 minutes after she was torpedoed by a German U-boat, causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew. The first vessel to the scene was a small Manx fishing boat from Peel, the PL11 Wanderer. The little boat picked up numerous survivors and took two life boats in tow.

On August 8, 1915 HMS Ramsey, former Steam Packet vessel which served with the Royal Navy was on patrol duty in the North Sea searching for contraband. She stopped a vessel with a Russian flag only to discover that it was in fact a German ship disguised as a Russian tramp steamer and when the Ramsey got closer to the ship the Russian flag was pulled down and the German flag hoisted up, firing machine guns and torpedoes. The Ramsey sank in four minutes. There were forty six survivors. It was one of the darkest single days of the war for Manx people. The year marks the centenary anniversary since its sinking.

Ben my Chree III launched in 1908 for the Liverpool to Douglas route, and at the time was regarded as the fastest steamer in the British coastal waters. With the outbreak of war in 1914 she and other civilian vessels were seized by the Royal Navy and converted into seaplane carriers. Ben My Chree took part in the operations at Gallipoli in 1915 and her place in history was secured when she assisted in the sinking of the first vessel to be destroyed by a torpedo launched for aircraft. Her life proved short when she was hit by Turkish gunfire in 1917.

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