Royal Mail slaps a ban on ‘anti-Germanic’ wartime postcards

HISTORIC seaside postcard cartoons poking fun at Hitler, Hermann Goering and The Kaiser have been banned from appearing on a special collection of collectors’ stamps after being branded anti-German by Royal Mail.

The two postcards passed by the censors during both world wars were among 10 put forward by saucy postcard company Bamforth’s to appear on 10 limited edition stamps celebrating the firm’s 140th birthday.

Five of the images were turned down by Royal Mail officials because they featured scantily clad ladies or smutty jokes, while the wartime artwork was said to be “anti-Germanic” – even though Bamforth’s had airbrushed out the swastikas.

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Bamforth’s Leeds-based MD Ian Wallace said the 10 cards had been carefully chosen to mark a particular period in the history of the company, which was started in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, and once sold 30 million cards a year.

One of the 10 showed Hitler poking his head out of a dustbin to ask “Have those naughty bombers gone, Herman?” while Goering cowers in another bin with a medal stuck to his backside.

The First World War card shows a British Tommy chasing the Kaiser with a bayonet with a caption saying: “It’s LEAP year, and we mean to drive the point home to the Germans.”

Mr Wallace said: “We airbrushed the swastikas out the Hitler one and they still turned it down.

“The official at the Royal Mail’s offices in Edinburgh said: ‘You can’t have this one either – it’s anti-Germanic.’

“I said ‘Of course, it’s anti-Germanic. There was a bloody war on’. Are we supposed to airbrush out two world wars as well?

“The Bamforth’s sense of fun is appreciated all over the world but not apparently by a small number of people based in the Edinburgh office.”

The 10 stamps were to appear on 200 Smiler Sheets, produced by the Royal Mail to allow businesses to add a personal touch to mail by combining official stamps with an image of the company’s choice

Each Bamforth’s Smiler sheet would feature 10 legal stamps with a Bamforth’s postcard label.

Philip Parker, head of stamp strategy, said: “Royal Mail has very clear guidelines and policies on what it may accept for reproduction on this product range.

“Royal Mail reserves the right to decline to print a customised sheet if we believe the content could be perceived as inappropriate or incompatible with our stamps.”

The company has protested to David Cameron about the ban but still got nowhere.

Mike Whitehead, shareholder executive with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skill, replied on Mr Cameron’s behalf.

He said: “I have contacted Royal Mail about Bamforth’s case and I understand they do have a number of restrictions on images which can be used in business customised sheets.”