24 October 1995 20c, $1.00,
24 October 1995
Tablet Values: 20c, $1.00, $1.50, $3.00
Artist: Anthony Theobald
Printer: Walsall Security Printers Ltd
Paper: CA Watermark
Stamp Size: 28.45 x 42.58 mm
Perforation Gauge: 14.1 per 20 mm
Pane Format: 50 (2 x 25)
Mint and CTO: $5.70
First Day Cover: $6.20
The stamp in this issue which perhaps holds the greatest significance for Pitcairn is that which features the vessel Royal Fleet Auxiliary Brambleleaf and has a tablet value of $1.00. Initial investigations showed that RFA Brambleleaf had twice visited Pitcairn over the past 24 years, most recently in May 1995. On this occasion, in the company of HMS Monmouth, Brambleleaf provided transport for Mr R J Alston CMG., Governor of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Mrs Alston and two administration officers, from Mangareva to Pitcairn, then on to Wellington, New Zealand.
Brambleleaf also visited Pitcairn on 15 and 18 August 1971. Commissioner Dymond and Pastor and Mrs Webster, were aboard, travelling to Pitcairn from Tahiti. Pastor and Mrs Webster were returning for their second tour of duty as Pastor and Medical Officer on the island. They had previously been there four years earlier. According to the Pitcairn 'Miscellany', Brambleleaf arrived in fairly rough seas and rain. On 18 August Brambleleaf returned and took Commissioner Dymond on board for his return to Tahiti.
RFA Brambleleaf was one of a number of British Naval Vessels in the area during the early seventies, monitoring and acting as observers during the French Nuclear Tests which at that time, were conducted atmospherically. During the testing periods, technicians from the RAF lived on Pitcairn, monitoring levels of radio activity, to ensure, the safety of Pitcairn's inhabitants. They established their headquarters at the school. High on Pawala Valley Ridge, a further monitoring team from the United States were also monitoring levels of fallout. Other vessels of the Royal Navy which called during the "test season" included Sir Percivale, Tarbatness, Tide Spring and later, Plumleaf, Tide Flow and Brown Ranger, all ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The Brambleleaf which visited in May of this year however, was not the same vessel that called in 1971. In fact there appears to have been at least three Naval vessels named Brambleleaf. The first launched in December 1916, saw action in both World Wars before being torpedoed and beached near Port Said in June 1942. The second was launched in 1953 as London Loyalty being renamed Brambleleaf when it was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1959. It was this ship which called at Pitcairn in 1971. The Hudson Cavalier, part of a four ship order cancelled by the Hudson Fuel and Shipping Co, was launched in January 1976 and renamed Brambleleaf upon being commissioned in 1979. The RFA Brambleleaf which visited in 1995 was the third vessel to have this name.