(Please cut and paste STAMP ITEM NUMBERS in to the order form)


South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.

This Territory was formed in 1985; previously they were governed as part of the Falkland Islands dependencies. The Territory is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, the South Sandwich Islands. 

There is no native population on any of the islands, and the only present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, the Deputy Postmaster and mainly scientists, as well as museum staff at nearby Grytviken.


Centenary of the Death of Sir Ernest Shackleton

 Due For Release 5th January 2022

The British Antarctic Territory, Falkland Islands and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands have joined together to commemorate the centenary of the death of the great polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922). Shackleton rose to fame in 1915 when his vessel, the Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and sank. Against all the odds, Shackleton succeeded in getting all his men back to safety, a tale of resolve and selfless leadership that is celebrated as one of the greatest stories of human endeavour.

Shackleton led three major expeditions during what is now known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first journey south was in 1901, on the Antarctic expedition ship Discovery. Led by British naval officer Robert Falcon Scott, Shackleton and Edward Wilson trekked towards the pursuit for the South Pole in extremely difficult conditions. They got closer to the Pole than anyone previously.



In 1908, Shackleton returned to the Antarctic as the leader of his own expedition, on the ship Nimrod. They made many important scientific and geographical discoveries and set a new record by getting even closer to the South Pole. He was knighted on his return to Britain. The race for the South Pole ended in 1911 with Amundsen’s conquest and in 1914 Shackleton made his third, now well-known expedition, with the ship Endurance.

In 1921, Shackleton returned to the sub-Antarctic on the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition. More commonly known as the Quest expedition, it was to be Shackleton’s fourth and final expedition. Large crowds gathered as the ship, Quest, left St Katherine Docks in London on 17 September 1921, with a crew comprising eight shipmates from the famous Endurance Expedition, keen to return to southern waters.

After arriving at the quiet waters of King Edward Cove in South Georgia, Shackleton unexpectedly died in the early hours of the morning of the 5th January 1922.

His final diary entry reads:

‘A wonderful evening. In the darkening twilight I saw a lone star hover, gem-like above the bay.’

Shackleton was buried on the 5 of March at the whaling station, Grytviken, a ceremony attended by the managers of the five stations on South Georgia and a hundred whalers and seamen.

A hiatus followed the return of Quest, with no significant expeditions to the Antarctic for another seven years. The Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition is remembered for the untimely death of its leader but also the end of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

South Georgia was a fitting location for the end of a heroic story. Shackleton’s sudden death created a dramatic, if premature, finale. His death caused an outpouring of grief throughout the world with a sense of loss that still resonates today. Many visitors

make the pilgrimage to South Georgia to visit the last resting place of Shackleton and toast “The Boss”.

The Quest ship doctor, Alexander Macklin recorded in his diary, ‘I think this is as the boss would have had it himself, standing lonely on an island far from civilization, surrounded by a stormy tempestuous sea, and in the vicinity of one of his greatest exploits.’

A century after his death his fame continues, yet his popularity is a relatively modern phenomenon. From the 1980s onwards various biographies and historic accounts of the polar expeditions saw Shackleton catapulted to stardom, something that was fleeting in his lifetime.

The events of the Endurance Expedition drew a new generation of followers seeking inspiration from the epic adventure and from Shackleton’s leadership style. Shackleton’s ability to overcome adversity, retain the loyalty of his men, and his extraordinary and ultimately successful efforts to rescue his Endurance crewmates still inspires people today.

The story of the Endurance Expedition has become legendary. His decision-making and guidance under pressure is celebrated in books, management courses, films, television and memorials today. A portrait of him by Reginald Grenville Eves hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Statues and busts of Shackleton can be seen outside of the Royal Geographical Society, London, at Athy, his birthplace in Ireland, and in the Church at Grytviken, South Georgia where he died.

In his own lifetime Sir Ernest Shackleton had won world renown as an intrepid Antarctic explorer. One hundred years later, tales of the explorer still capture the imagination and the enduring qualities that made Shackleton such a revered figure in polar world history ensure his continued appeal. As Apsley Cherry-Garrard, of Scott’s last expedition, wrote shortly after Shackleton’s death:

‘If I am in a devil of a hole and want to get out of it give me Shackleton every time.’

Fittingly the Shackleton family’s motto reads ‘Fortitudine vincimus’. By endurance we conquer.

Text provided by Jayne Pierce, South Georgia Museum.


Technical Details

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 x 13 ¼ per 2cms

Stamp size 30.6 x 38mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 5 January, 2022

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012340    100th Anniv death of Shackleton   Mint Set
ST012341    100th Anniv death of Shackleton     CTO Set
ST012342    100th Anniv death of Shackleton      FDC


Released 9th November 2021

South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands: The Blue Belt Programme

The UK Overseas Territories (OTs) are home to globally significant biodiversity. The UK Blue Belt Programme recognises this, and since 2016 has worked with the Governments of these Territories to enhance the protection and management of these precious marine environments.


The Blue Belt enhances marine protection by supporting work in five key areas:

● understanding and protecting biodiversity

● strengthening governance

● managing human impacts

● supporting sustainable fisheries management

● supporting compliance and enforcement



The Blue Belt Programme helps UK OTs and the UK work together to improve understanding of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and how to improve them. This work is supported by two world leading organisations – the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area (SGSSI-MPA) is one of the world’s largest MPAs, covering an area of 1.24 million km2. The MPA aims to conserve the rich marine biodiversity within the Territory’s maritime zone and provides a framework for our marine environmental management and research needs. To help protect the marine environment all trawl fishing on the seafloor is prohibited throughout the MPA. Longline fishing for toothfish is limited to depths between 700 - 2250 m covering less than 6% of the MPA area to conserve biodiverse seafloor habitats. The longline fishery is also restricted to just four months a year in winter at South Georgia, which has helped to eliminate albatross bycatch. The South Georgia krill fishery is also confined to winter months when most species of krill feeding predators including penguins, seals and whales are absent or at much lower densities. No commercial krill fishing has taken place at the South Sandwich Islands for over 30 years when very small research catches were taken.

These stamps highlight and celebrate some of the key elements of the SGSSI MPA.


70p - Toothfish

Patagonian toothfish are large, long-lived, deep-water species, belonging to the Nototheniidae family. Today the SGSSI toothfish fishery is recognised by the Marine Stewardship Council as being one of the most sustainably managed in the world. The fishery has strict protocols in place to ensure that the environment is not harmed due

to fishing activities. The fishery also generates revenue that is used to fund research into marine management including albatross conservation and efforts to further protect them.


80p - Pharos SG

Pharos SG is the dedicated SGSSI fisheries patrol vessel and helps ensure licensed vessels are compliant with fishery regulations and is instrumental in the fight against Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activity, which could seriously damage the marine environment.


£1.05 - Gentoo penguin

Krill is an important food source for gentoo penguins and so as part of the management of the MPA, their population status and foraging habits are continually monitored and management steps taken to reduce competition. As part of their higher predator monitoring programme, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) monitor breeding success of gentoo penguins at Bird Island and Maiviken and have recently undertaken work to equip birds with satellite transmitters so as to better understand overlap between where the birds feed and licensed fishing activities.


£1.25 - Benthos

Although the biodiversity of the seabed is generally poorly understood, sampling around SGSSI indicates that there is a huge diversity and many species that are not found anywhere else. To protect this precious resource a number of special protection measures are in place within the MPA including no-take zones close to the coastline and specific benthic closed areas in areas where research has shown there is particularly high biodiversity. Cameras have been deployed across the MPA to assess the distribution and abundance of seafloor organisms.

Technical Details:
Design Andrew Robinson
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Souvenir Sheet size 110 x 80mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 9 November, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
ST012304    Blue Belt Programme     Mint Set
ST012305    Blue Belt Programme     Mint S/S
ST012306    Blue Belt Programme     CTO Set
ST012307    Blue Belt Programme     CTO S/S
ST012308    Blue Belt Programme     FDC
ST012309    Blue Belt Programme     FDC S/S
For further information, please contact Juliet Warner at
Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818101, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199

Recent Releases

Island Series Part 1 Southern Thule

The South Sandwich Islands are a string of eleven volcanic islands and rocks located approximately 500 km to the south east of South Georgia. The island chain stretches for over 400 km in a north to south direction. From north to south they are Zavodovski, Leskov, Visokoi, Candlemas, Vindication, Saunders, Montagu, Bristol, Bellingshausen, Cook and Thule. The South Sandwich Islands range in size from the largest, Montague, at 110 km2 to the smallest, Leskov, at 0.3 km2. To the east of the islands lies the South Sandwich Trench, which plummets to a depth of more than 8000 m and is the deepest point in the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic.

The South Sandwich Islands were first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1775. Thick fog and snow storms made exploration difficult but out of the gloom Cook noted eight rocky masses he thought could be islands or headlands on a distant continent. The conditions made navigation extremely dangerous and so Cook did not explore in detail or land on the islands. The region was next visited in 1819 by the Russian explorer Fabian von Bellingshausen who was able to explore more thoroughly and confirm the rocky masses seen by Cook were indeed islands and there were three further to the north making 11 in total.
In winter, the islands are enveloped by sea ice and remain difficult to access in summer due to the mountainous seas which surround them. As such they are rarely visited by humans and remain in pristine isolation.
The island chain can be divided up into four island groups, each of which will be celebrated in this series of stamps. Each island will be represented with a pair of stamps; one features an example of the wildlife that occurs there and the other a striking landscape feature of the island.
This first set features the most southerly island group, Southern Thule, which consists of the islands of Bellingshausen, Cook and Thule.
70p – Bellingshausen Island
Named after its discoverer the explorer Fabian von Bellingshausen, this is a low-lying island with the highest point being Basilisk Peak at a height of 225m. Described as a basaltic andesite stratovolcano it has a crater 150m across and 60m deep and was last known to erupt sometime between 1968 and 1984.
Antarctic skua are found throughout the South Sandwich Islands archipelago and are mostly associated with penguin colonies that provide a food source. In summer, the ground on Bellingshausen is littered with empty penguin egg shells providing evidence of a healthy and voracious skua population.
80p - Cook Island
Named for Captain James Cook, who discovered the archipelago in 1775, Cook Island is small and heavily glaciated. Mount Harmer dominates the topography rising to 1,115m. Its most southerly point, Longton Point, is on a similar latitude to the most southerly point on Thule, Herd Point, and was once considered by some to be the southernmost point in the archipelago. However, modern mapping techniques confirm Herd Point on Thule is fractionally more southerly.
Snow petrels are the most southerly nesting of all bird species and are often seen feeding on small fish, cephalopods and krill in and around the pack ice. They are known to breed throughout the South Sandwich archipelago, but are most numerous in the south of the chain including on Cook Island.
£1.25 – Thule Island


South-western most island of the South Sandwich archipelago, the island is named after the mythical land of Thule, which in ancient lore was said to lie at the extreme of the earth. More typically associated with northern lands, this is a southern twist on the classical tale. The highest point is Mount Larsen at 710m. and to the south west of this is a long low-lying peninsula called Hewison Point. This is the site of the former Argentine station Corbeta Uruguay, which was destroyed by British forces in 1982.
Cape petrels are found in low numbers throughout the SSI but are found in relative abundance on the west coast of Thule Island where several thousand birds nest. Like the snow petrel, they have a diet featuring small fish and krill but are also often seen following the ships and will feed on any discarded food.
Technical Details:-
Design Bee Design
Photography: 70p Antarctic Skua Andy Black
70p Bellingshausen Tom Hart/Penguin Watch
80p Snow Petrel Andy Black
80p Cook Island Gemma Clucas
£1.25 Cape Petrel Andy Black
£1.25 Thule Island Tom Hart/Penguin Watch
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 28 October, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


ST012292    Island Series Part 1 Southern Thule   Mint Set
ST012293    Island Series Part 1 Southern Thule   CTO Set
ST012294    Island Series Part 1 Southern Thule   FDC

New release 1st September 2021

Ecosystems in Recovery – Whales

The waters around South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands are safeguarded through a 1.24 million square kilometre Marine Protected Area (MPA). Biodiversity great and small is celebrated and conserved. However, this has not always been the case. During the 20th century over 170,000 whales were killed in South Georgia waters having an untold impact on the ecosystem as a whole. Whaling ended in South Georgia in the 1960s, but whales were rarely seen on this important feeding ground for the next 40 years.

More recently, anecdotal accounts indicated that whale populations were increasing and the ecosystem was recovering. Running from 2017-2021, a project to estimate the recovery status, abundance, diversity, health and habitat use of whales on their South Georgia feeding grounds was established. The South Georgia Wild Water Whales project was led by the British Antarctic Survey in collaboration with research experts around the world.
The project used a range of scientific approaches, including conducting visual and acoustic surveys of whales, collecting photo-identifications and skin samples for genetic identification, deploying transmitters on whales to track their movements, collecting samples of whale breath by drone, and measuring whale body condition using overhead images. The project also benefitted from the many citizen scientists who took photo-identifications of whales at South Georgia and submitted them to, a global repository of whale photographs which are regularly matched with researcher catalogues.

This series of stamps celebrates the recovery of whale populations around South Georgia and showcases some of the fantastic scientific research which is helping us to better understand, and further protect them.

55p - Southern right whale

South Georgia is thought to be a key summer feeding ground for the southern right whale. To examine how they use this feeding habitat, two southern right whales were tagged with transmitters in austral summer 2020, and their movements tracked by satellite for the following months. While one whale (a female, blue track) travelled to the ice edge during summer and autumn, the second animal (a male, green track) remained in South Georgia coastal waters for six months, mostly at the western edge of the island, migrating north from South Georgia towards warm waters in winter (July). These patterns help to highlight which areas are particularly important for feeding right whales and show individual contrasts between whales and their use of high latitude habitat over summer and autumn.

70p - Humpback whale

Over six hundred humpback whales were seen during a whale survey around South Georgia in 2020. These sightings are shown as red dots on the map, with the size of the dot indicating the size of the group. This information was used to predict areas of high humpback whale density around the island. High intensity purple shading indicates high densities of whales. Understanding the density and distribution of whales is important to enable us to manage human activities such as shipping that may pose a risk to whales.

80p - Antarctic blue whale

The underwater vocalisations of blue whales were recorded using sonobuoys: acoustic devices which enable whale calls to be detected and the direction they come from to be measured. These data were collected during expeditions to South Georgia in 2017, 2018 and 2020. The calls and their bearings were analysed to determine the likely locations of the whales, and these were plotted on a map. In 2017, vocalising blue whales were all detected in deep water, both to the southwest of the island and to the north of the island (shown in yellow). In 2018, blue whales were detected on the continental shelf off the northern coast (shown in green). In 2020, sonobuoys were deployed around the entire island of South Georgia. In this year, blue whales were detected to the west of South Georgia, near to Shag Rocks (shown in red), along the northern shelf, and to the southeast of the island. These acoustic data show blue whale detections around the island are increasing, this pattern is also reflected in the number of visual sightings of blue whales, which have been rising in recent years as populations recover from industrial whaling. 

First Day Cover - Humpback whale key feeding habitats

Satellite-based tracking of humpback whales feeding in South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands waters was used to model their likely distribution within the MPA. By examining whale distribution between October and July over a 17-year period, these models show that humpback whales have particular hotspots over the South Sandwich Trench, to the west of the South Sandwich Islands, and immediately over the shelf of mainland South Georgia (yellow areas of high habitat use probability). Encouragingly, this shows that the current footprint of the MPA and its management measures afford a significant degree of protection of the feeding grounds of migratory humpback whales.

The Wild Water Whales project was funded by EU BEST, Darwin PLUS, South Georgia Heritage Trust, the Friends of South Georgia Island and the World Wildlife Fund, with logistical support from the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. More project information can be found here:


Technical Details
Design Andrew Robinson
Printer Cartor
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 1 September, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012280     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales   Mint Set 

ST012281     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales   CTO Set 

ST012282     Ecosystems in Recovery - Whales    FDC


For further information, please contact Juliet Warner at

Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818101, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199




Recent Releases

95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands takes great pleasure in releasing a set of six stamps in celebration of The Queen’s 95th birthday.

The stamps will be released on Her Majesty’s actual birthday, 21 April. Each of the stamps depict key aspects of Her Majesty’s life, from a young Princess, to her Coronation and Marriage as well as managing to enjoy some Leisure time and Pageantry, out and about fulfilling her Royal Duties.




On her twenty-first birthday, 21 April 1947, Princess Elizabeth was with her parents and younger sister, Princess Margaret, on a tour of South Africa. In a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Princess dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. The theme of the stamp issue, “Devoted to your service”, is taken from that speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

This special issue is a collaboration between 11 postal administrations which sees the three Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, join The Bahamas and seven UK Overseas Territories, Ascension Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, and Tristan da Cunha to mark the birthday of the world’s longest reigning monarch.


  • 40p Princess. Princess Elizabeth in her girl guide uniform in Frogmore, Windsor, England on April 11, 1942. (Photo by Studio Lisa/Getty Images).
  • 55p Coronation. A portrait by Cecil Beaton of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh after the Coronation 1 June 1953.
  • 70p Marriage The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at St Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving held in honour of the Queen's 80th birthday, June 15, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images).
  • 80p Leisure. Princess Elizabeth looking through her stamp collection in the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace, July 1946. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images).
  • £1.05 Pageantry. The Queen and Prince Philip leave after The Order of the Garter Service, at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, on June 14, 2010. The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England) and the spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor. (Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP via Getty Images).
  • £1.25 Royal Duty. The Queen attends the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images).
  • The FDC features two images of Her Majesty; a contemporary picture of the Queen who is fondly known throughout the world and a beautiful portrait, circa 1929, of the young Princess Elizabeth before it was realised that she would be acceding to the throne. (Photos via Getty Images).


Technical details:
Designer Bee Design
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Process Lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ¼ per 2cms
Stamp size 36 x 36mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 21 April, 2021
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd





Royal Navy Ships - December 2020 

As a British Overseas Territory, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands has a close relationship with the Royal Navy. On hand to provide reassurance, protect British sovereignty and support efforts to protect the environment, Royal Navy ships are always a welcome sight.



The Royal Navy’s presence in the South Atlantic region typically is composed of a patrol vessel and a frigate which is supported by tankers from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The patrol vessels are based in the Falkland Islands and visit South Georgia on regular taskings. The officers and crew of these vessels become friends and colleagues for those who live in the Territory. When the moment came to bid farewell to the resident vessel HMS Clyde and welcome its replacement HMS Forth it was both a sombre and celebratory time. 

HMS Clyde 80p, £1.05

Launched in 2006, HMS Clyde is a River Class patrol vessel built by VT Shipbuilding in Portsmouth. After undergoing rigorous sea trials and safety training it was commissioned into active service and was deployed to the South Atlantic to relieve HMS Dumbarton Castle which was based in the Falkland Islands.

At 81.5 m in length and with a beam of 13.5 m, the vessel had a top speed of 21 knots and is capable of staying at sea for 21 days without the need for resupply. The vessel is powered by two Ruston 12RK 270 engines and is equipped with a Pacific 22 RIB and a Rigid Raider which are invaluable in difficult beach landings such as those needed to support personnel on the rugged South Georgia beaches. Although aircraft were not carried as standard, a flight-deck is available and has been invaluable in assisting repatriation of med-evac cases from South Georgia.

After a distinguished career as one of the Royal Navy’s great work horses, HMS Clyde returned to Portsmouth Naval base in December 2019 and shortly after was decommissioned from service.

HMS Forth 70p, £1.25

Launched in 2016, HMS Forth is a Batch 2 River class offshore patrol vessel built by BAE Systems Govan shipyard in Glasgow. The vessel is 90.4 m in length and has a beam of 13.5 m and offers cutting edge technology and efficiency. With a maximum speed of 24 knots and the ability to stay at sea for 35 days without re-supply HMS Forth is well suited to explore and protect the remote and isolated islands of the South Atlantic.

Although the commissioning process was not straightforward, HMS Forth arrived in the Falkland Islands in January 2020 and crossed the 850 miles of waters to make her debut patrol to South Georgia in April the same year. HMS Forth has capacity to carry up to 110 personnel and is ideally suited to carry the range of personnel needed to support the Royal Navy and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands in its shared objectives.


Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 8 December, 2020

Ships badges TradeMarks of the Secretary of State

for Defence are used under licence.

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012223    Royal Navy Ships Mint Set

ST012224    Royal Navy Ships CTO Set

ST012225    Royal Navy Ships  FDC



Duty and Sacrifice – Shackleton’s Unsung Heroes - November 2020


The story of Shackleton and his men is the stuff of legend. In 1915, with the loss of his vessel Endurance during the Imperial-Trans Antarctic Expedition there followed a story of survival, bravery and determination famed throughout the world. Shackleton and five of his men undertook an epic open boat journey across the Southern Ocean and the first ever overland crossing of South Georgia in order to raise the alarm and send help to crew members who were left behind battling for survival on Elephant Island. Famously, all of Shackleton’s men survived. Each individual stepped up where they had the skills and strength to do so, but also had the courage to put aside their ego and acknowledge weakness so as not to endanger their crew mates. 



On their return to England in 1917 the First World War was raging. Despite knowing they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, Shackleton’s men did what they considered to be their duty and signed up to help the war effort. Whilst a handful of those men were recognised for specific acts of gallantry, previously recognised on a South Georgia stamp edition in 2019, most simply displayed the same selfless resolve they showed during the Endurance expedition. They were in effect Shackleton’s unsung heroes. 

70p - Timothy McCarthy 1888 - 1917 and SS Narragansett

McCarthy was an able seaman during the Endurance Expedition and due to his skills and resilience was one of the five men who accompanied Shackleton on the rescue mission to South Georgia.

Immediately on return to England, he signed up to the war effort as part of the Royal Navy Reserve and was deployed as a leading seaman on SS Narragansett. On transit between the south-west coast of Ireland and the Scilly Isles the vessel was torpedoed and he, along with all other 45 hands on board were killed. He was the first of the Endurance crew members to die in the war, just three weeks after returning from the expedition. 

80p - Alfred Cheetham 1866 - 1918 and SS Prunelle

Cheetham was already an Antarctic veteran by the time he was serving as third officer on the Endurance having previously served as part of the Discovery and Terra Nova Expeditions. Worsley referred to him as “a pirate to his fingertips” and his cheerful disposition made him an invaluable boost to morale for the men left on Elephant Island. 

On return to England, Cheetham learned that one of his sons had died serving on RMS Adriatic. Despite this personal tragedy, Cheetham enlisted in the Mercantile Marine and served aboard SS Prunelle. Just 2 miles from the safety of port, the vessel was targeted by a German submarine SM UB-112. The ensuing explosion sank the ship, killing 12 of the 16 crew, including Cheetham.

£1.05 - Huberht Taylor Hudson 1886 – 1942 – WWI Mystery Q-ships

Hudson was a navigating officer in the Royal Navy who took part in the Endurance expedition as a mate. Able to turn his hand to many skills, Hudson proved an invaluable team member due to his ability to catch penguins for food whilst the party were trapped in the ice. The trials of the expedition took its toll on Hudson and by the time the party were rescued from Elephant Island he was in poor mental and physical health.

Nevertheless, Hudson also signed up to help the war effort and served on the ‘Mystery Q-ships’. These heavily armed merchant vessels had concealed weaponry and were designed as decoy vessels to lure enemy submarines into making surface attacks. Hudson survived WWI and such was his sense of duty that he later served in WWII as a Royal Navy Reserve Commodore when in 1942 he died when his vessel Pelayo was torpedoed by U-552. 

£1.25 - Charles Green 1888 - 1974 and HMS Wakeful

Son of a master baker, Green ran away from home at 22 to join the Merchant Navy. When in Buenos Aires, after hearing that Shackleton had fired his cook for drunkenness, Green signed up for the Endurance expedition. Working day and night in the galley whilst at sea, he continued to cook for his crew mates when stranded on the pack ice. A few days after arrival on Elephant Island, Green collapsed from exhaustion.

When back in England he enlisted in the Royal Navy and continued to serve his country in the best way he knew how - as a cook. During WWI he served on the Destroyer HMS Wakeful and was injured when the vessel was attacked. He re-joined the Merchant Navy in 1919 and served on a range of ships until retirement in 1931. During WWII he continued to do his duty and worked as a Fire Watcher in Hull. Green died in 1974 at the age of 85. He was one of the last members of the Endurance crew to pass away.

 Lest we forget.


Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 11 November, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd



ST012202   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes Mint Set

ST012203   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes CTO Set

ST012204   Shackleton's Unsung Heroes  FDC


Definitive 2020 - October 2020


South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are set against a backdrop of constant change. Until Captain Cook landed on the island in 1775 and claimed it for King George III, South Georgia was untouched by man. The first sealing expeditions came just a few years later and human driven change began apace. Sealers decimated fur and elephant seal populations and inadvertently introduced rodents which predated native birds and changed the islands immeasurably.



Shortly after the sealers left because their industry was no longer viable, a new wave of change came with the whaling industry. As demand for whale oil grew, large processing facilities and shipyards were built on shore and a host of harmful materials and non-native plant species were introduced to the environment.



Abandoned in the 1960’s, these facilities leave a valuable historic record and a host of environmental challenges in their wake. The oceans around South Georgia were once again exploited beyond their sustainable limit from over fishing in the 1990’s. However, today nature takes the driving seat and SGSSI is a global rarity - an ecosystem in recovery.



More recently, the changes to SGSSI have mostly been in favour of the environment. Since becoming a Territory in its own right in 1985, the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has put the environment at the heart of its policies.


Each of the stamps in the new definitive represents an iconic image for SGSSI and has a story of restoration and hope: 


1p – Native Invert: Native invertebrates, and the habitats they live in, now have the highest level of protection under our Wildlife and Protected Areas legislation. 

2p – Greater Burnet: Once heavily grazed by reindeer which were introduced by Norwegian whalers and outcompeted by non-native plants, burnet is now thriving due to eradication projects to remove the species which harmed it. 

5p – Antarctic Fur Seal: Protected by national and international legislation, fur seals are now abundant on South Georgia’s beaches. Higher predators such as fur seals are used as a barometer for change, and so the thriving seal populations we see today are a good indicator of a balanced marine ecosystem.

10p – Krill: The base of the Antarctic food chain, within the SGSSI Marine Protected Area special measures, such as no take zones and seasonal closures, are in place to maintain its abundance so wildlife can feed on krill whenever they need to; a critical time being when they are feeding their young. 

50p – Grey-headed Albatross: Thousands of these birds were once killed by the fishing industry but new by-catch mitigation measures pioneered in SGSSI means birds are no longer caught in our waters. GSGSSI supports a range of initiatives to better understand global foraging patterns of albatross and in partnership with ACAP, are working to protect them beyond our borders.

70p – Shackleton’s Cross: Perhaps the world’s most famous explorer, the cross at Hope Point was erected by his men shortly after he died. It was fully renovated in 2018/19 austral summer including the secret compartment; will you find it when you visit?

80p – Humpback Whale: Although populations were significantly depleted by the whaling industry, gatherings of dozens of humpback whales feeding on krill swarms are now a common sight in the northern bays of South Georgia. 

£1 – Grytviken Church: Built by Norwegian whalers, the church has been renovated using traditional techniques through a joint initiative between GSGSSI and Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

£1.25 – Pharos SG: A vital tool in protecting the SGSSI Marine Protected Area against illegal, unregulated and unlicensed fishing. Pharos SG also provides vital logistical support to Government, science & monitoring projects and building teams all of which are vital for the sustainable management of the Territory.

£2 – South Georgia Pipit: Endemic to South Georgia these small song bird songs were taken to the brink of extinction by the invasive rodents, but following the rat eradication project, the air is filled with their song once again. 

£3 – Toothfish: Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as one of the world’s most sustainable fisheries, the SGSSI toothfish fishery is a model of how to implement best practice and raise standards across the industry and across the globe.

£5 - Macaroni Penguin: It is thought more than 1 million pairs of macaroni penguin breed on South Georgia. The species is classed as threatened by the IUCN and so on SGSSI their feeding grounds and breeding sites are highly protected.

Airmail Postcard Rate - Elephant Seal: Once again the master of the beach, these huge creatures are thriving and captured only by camera lenses of visitors and film-makers  

Even against the backdrop of environmental policies and efforts made by GSGSSI and its stakeholders to restore and protect the SGSSI environment, there is still the threat of global climate change. This has the potential to affect the Territory in an irreversible and profound way. Looking ahead, it will be a priority for GSGSSI to contribute toglobal efforts to understand and tackle this unprecedented challenge and safeguard SGSSI for the future.


Technical Details:

Design Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Booklet size 146 x 76mm

Booklet contents 10 Airmail Postcard stamps plus shape cut labels

Release date 15 October, 2020

Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd




       ST012197   Definitive Mint Set

       ST012198   Definitive CTO Set

ST012199   Definitive  FDC

           ST012200   Airmail Booklet Mint*

             ST012201   Airmail Booklet CTO*  

*The bonus labels in the airmail booklets feature various images drawn from the definitive set and will be allocated at random. The label shown is for illustration purposes only and is not guaranteed.



From the Air - August 2020


In recent years small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have become increasingly popular. UAVs come in a range of sizes but the devices used on South Georgia are typically less than 7 kg and powered by battery. The advanced computer systems and sensors mean that they can be programmed to fly detailed flight paths, keep steady in turbulent winds and even return to their home station when batteries run low. These safety features are vital to make sure that the South Georgia environment and wildlife is not damaged during flights.

In South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands use of UAVs is restricted to projects authorised by the Government. However, they offer a different view on the world and have huge potential to collect valuable data in less time and cause less intrusion than multiple people in the field so in recent years a number of projects have been supported to use them.



As many of South Georgia’s coastal areas are crowded with wildlife, particularly during the breeding season, an early application was to use UAVs to conduct surveys. By flying at a safe height above the beaches and bays, operators were able to get a unique bird’s eye view. This meant it was possible to accurately count the number of animals without having to cause disturbance by walking on the beach or approaching in a boat. Being able to quickly assess the number of animals in an area has meant it is possible to closely track how wildlife changes through the seasons. In the future the information we get from this data will form part of our visitor management plans. 

Closely linked to surveys of wildlife are surveys of the environment that they inhabit. Programming UAVs to fly in a grid pattern over the coastline has meant it is possible to create detailed maps not just of land and sea but also the amount and type of vegetation cover. This information can help track how species are recovering after the removal of invasive species and how ground in front of glaciers is colonised after the ice retreats. Whilst some ground-truthing of data in these newly exposed and pristine pieces of land is still required, UAV methodology largely removes the need for physical transects to be completed.

As well as getting a new perspective on current activities on South Georgia, UAVs can be used to get an insight to the past. The rich cultural heritage of the island from early sealing expeditions through to the whaling industry of the 1900’s has left its mark. Although some artefacts are visible from the ground, by taking to the sky it is possible to see a new level of detail and reveal structures not seen for hundreds of years. As nature reclaims these spaces this record is all the more important.

Of course, the incredible footage of the South Georgia landscape and its wildlife is too good not to share and so another key use of UAVs has been for outreach and media projects. Use of UAVs allows filmmakers to show wildlife like we have never seen it before. As animals are unaware of the UAVs flying many meters above them they behave naturally whilst we, as custodians of this environment gain insight to their world. 

This series of stamps celebrates some of the unique perspectives gained through these projects. 


Technical Details:


70p Bird Island SAERI/Neil Golding

70p Elephant Seals John Dickens

80p King Edward Point John Dickens

80p Penguins & Seals Tom Hart

£1.25 Whaling Station George Lemann

£1.25 Bayard Tom Hart

FDC John Dickens

Design Bee Design

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet layout 10

Release date 5 August, 2020

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


                 H                   H
        ST012179   From the Air Mint Set
    ST012180   From the Air CTO Set
ST012181   From the Air  FDC




3D Grytviken


Habitats Restored 

Centenary of Scott Polar Research