The Royal Mail, together with the independent philatelic offices of territories affiliated with the UK, commemorates this year the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) by issuing stamp sets with famous fighting machines, including, of course, the legendary Spitfire and Hurricane.
Interestingly, the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha was the only one brave enough to break out of this pattern and presented four seaplanes, of which two were almost - almost! - forgotten.
The islanders have a close bond with the RAF. After the 1961 volcanic eruption, the entire population of Tristan, 264 people, was evacuated to the UK and settled for two years in the married airmen quarters of the just emptied RAF flying boats base called Calshot. The stamps depict historical aircrafts from this coastal village in Hampshire, including aeroplanes also actively involved in civilian aviation duties.
The four Supermarine Southamptons (£0.55) mapped the whole coastline of Australia; the Supermarine S.6b (£1.60) won in 1931 the Schneider Trophy for being the fastest seaplane on floats (529 km/h); while two squadrons of Short Sunderlands (£2.0) took part in 1949 in the Berlin Airlift.
Oh, in case you've forgotten, Tristan da Cunha has no airport and is directly accessible by shiponly…