What could be more traumatic than being on the most remote inhabited island in the world and finding that its volcano is erupting? Faced with this situation, island Administrator Peter Wheeler organised the evacuation of Tristan da Cunha in 1961.
It is little surprise that the experience was such that Tristan issued a series of four sets of stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the eruption, evacuation and resettlement of the island. Series three issued currently covers the resettlement of the island in 1963.
A Resettlement Survey was conducted in 1962, when 6 islanders returned to the island to assess conditions. In April 1963 the first group of 51 islanders returned to the island on board MV Boissevain The final party of islanders returned safely to their homes the same year on 10th November on board MV Bornholm.
The 25p value shows islanders sitting amongst their possessions, resting, drinking tea.
The 35p value shows islanders making their way amongst the unloaded stores to locate their own possessions.
The 95p value shows Islanders on shore waiting to land stores and personal possessions from the MV Boissevain. The MV Frances Repetto, which can be seen in the background, was one of the two vessels fishing in Tristan waters.
The £1.10p value shows the returning islanders being transported back to their homes using a tractor and trailer.
The souvenir sheet background shows islanders gathering at the landing beach, with the £2 stamp showing islanders hauling a traditional canvas longboat up the beach to safety well above the shore line. The MV Boissevain which brought the islanders back to Tristan in April 1963 can be seen on the left of the stamp, with the fishing vessel MV Tristania.
MV Tristania also assisted in the landing of the passengers and some 60 tons of baggage.