This is a special edition, released in addition to our usual four standard issues a year to mark 100 years since the sinking of two ships off the coast of Islay - the SS Tuscania and the HMS Otranto.
The SS Tuscania was carrying American soldiers to the battlefields of France when she was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 5th February 1918. About 210 of the troops and crew were lost, with many being rescued by two Royal Navy destroyers, Mosquito and Pigeon. There were several acts of heroism from local people, who not only supported the rescue operation but also helped to bury the dead.
Another troopship transporting American soldiers, the HMS Otranto, was caught in a strong storm on 6th October 1918 during which it collided with the HMS Kashmir a short distance from Machir Bay. Of the nearly 500 men on board, only 19 survived.
The American Red Cross erected the 80 foot tall lighthouse-shaped American Monument on the Mull of Oa in 1920 to mark the two tragedies.
Usually we only use our own photography on our stamps. Exceptionally, we have used historic photographs of the ships on this occasion combined with our own image depicting the American Monument. Such is the significance of this centenary to the island that we wish to join with the Remembrance commemorations in a way which is not only respectful but furthers awareness of the tragic losses that occurred off our coastline 100 years ago.
Stamps can be bought either mint or cancelled to order with our commemorative postmark.
Unfortunately we have now sold out of these mini sheets and will not be printing any more. We have a few first day covers remaining but once they're gone, they're gone.