ANZAC memorials commemorated by Isle of Man Post Office stamp collection

The collection of six stamps features the ANZAC war memorials in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia, where the local artist's work is featured.
Hoff was born on the Isle of Man in 1894 and some of his work can still be seen in Douglas; in Derby Square, Market Place and St Matthew's Church. His childhood interest in Manx folklore went on to inspire him in his craft.

At the outbreak of World War I, he joined the British Army where he first went into the trenches. After the war he received an ex-service award which enabled him to attend London's Royal College of Art, where he honed his skills as a sculptor. After a fantastic career in Europe, Hoff moved to Australia in 1923 and began working on the war memorials, which was heavily inspired by his time in the trenches.His best known works are the figures on the exterior of the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney, the central group in the interior, and the bronze reliefs.

Each stamp includes a detail from the Sydney or Adelaide memorial and an image of a Manx-born or Isle of Man-descended soldier.
Manx Aviation and Military Museum director Ivor Ramsden has detailed the lives of the Manx ANZAC soldiers who feature on the stamps.
They include John Joseph Corteen, a painter who emigrated to Australia from Castletown. Only a few days after signing up with the Australian Infantry he left for Egypt.

John Gell, also of Castletown, was in the 4th Australian Infantry and lost his life in the Suvla Bay landings at Gallipoli.
The story of two friends from Ballaugh is also highlighted. Thomas Sayle Corlett and Robert Joseph Caley emigrated to Western Australia and took up farming before enlisting together in the 3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion in February 1916.

Tom was killed by shell fire in the Third Battle of Passchendaele; Robert was wounded but survived the war. Also featured are Lance Corporal George Roberts who was killed just a month after being awarded the Military Medal for bravery and Charles Stanley Nicholson who emigrated to New Zealand from Douglas in 1907 and worked as a cheesemaker. He vanished without trace in September 1916 and a subsequent army enquiry concluded his body was probably destroyed by an exploding shell.

The stamps are released as Australia marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, during which time the Australian Government is enhancing the Anzac Memorial. The 'Centenary Project' will realise the vision of the original architect, Bruce Dellit, and the artists who worked on the project, as well as introducing new spaces.

Maxine Cannon, General Manager at Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, said: 'The sacrifices made by the brave men who fought in the Great War should never be forgotten, which is why we felt it important and are honoured to commemorate the centenary of the end of the war through Rayner Hoff's work. 'It's always exciting to work on a project which shows how successful Manx people have been around the world and we're delighted to be showcasing some of his work from Australia.'

The release coincides with the visit to the Island this September of historian, writer and artist Deborah Beck. An archivist and collections manager at the National Art School in Sydney, Australia, she will present a lecture in association with Manx National Heritage.

Last year, she curated an exhibition of over 75 works by Hoff and his students to accompany the launch of her new book charting the life of the sculptor.

'Having spent four years researching the life of Rayner Hoff, I was delighted to hear that the Isle of Man Post Office was keen to produce a set of stamps to commemorate his work on War Memorials in Australia,' she added.

'As part of my research, I visited many of the places where he lived, studied and worked. I could certainly see why he still felt an attachment to the island long after he had left.

'I hope stamp issue will alert many more people to his birthplace and to his exceptional career as a sculptor.'

The collection is now available to buy online at:


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