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Commonwealth & World

Ascension Island: The 1975 Red Overprint

Covering just 34 square miles, Ascension Island is a small volcanic island in the South Atlantic, about 1000 miles from the coast of Africa, and 1400 miles from the coast of Brazil. It is governed as part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Georgetown is the capital and the only town on the island. The island is named after the day of its recorded discovery, Ascension Day on 21 May 1503. It played a role as an important safe haven and coaling station to mariners, and for commercial airliners during the days of international air travel by flying boats. During World War II it was an important naval and air station, especially providing antisubmarine warfare bases in the Battle of the Atlantic.

From around 1850, GB stamps were used on Ascension Island, although the use of an actual Ascension postmark is not recorded before 1862. Ascension Island did not issue its own stamps until 1922, when St Helena stamps were overprinted ‘ASCENSION’ (1/9), and this was followed in 1924 by an issue identical to the then current issue of St Helena showing the badge of St Helena, but inscribed ‘ASCENSION’ (10/20).

To find out more, see the latest GSM.

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