BRITISH OCCUPATION FORMER ITALIAN COLONIES As Great Britain found herself controlling just about all of the former Italian Colonies it became necessary to provide proper stamps reflecting the new status of the occupied territories. Over the course of time British stamps issued between 1937 and 1951 were overprinted for the purpose. On 25 February 1941, Somalia became the first Italian colony to be freed. South African troops captured Mogadishu inflicting no damage, since it had been declared an “open city”. The head post office at Mogadishu was re-opened on 13 April 1942, at which time British stamps overprinted “M.E.F”. (Middle East Forces) began to be used. This remained unchanged until 15 January 1943, when British definitive stamps were overprinted “E.A.F.” (East African Forces). From 27 May 1948 to 1 January 1950, British definitive stamps overprinted B.M.A. SOMALIA were used. B.M.A. stands for British Military Administration. When the civil administration became operative stamps with B.A. SOMALIA overprints were used but this was for a brief period from 2 January to 31 March 1950. From 2 March 1942 to 14 September 1952 overprinted British definitive stamps were used in Eritrea; until 1948 with “M.E.F.” (Middle East Forces) overprints, and thereafter with “B.M.A. ERITREA” (British Military Administration) and “B.A. ERITREA” (British Administration Eritrea) overprints. From 1943 to 1950 British stamps overprinted M.E.F. (Middle East Forces), initially used in Somalia and Eritrea under British occupation, were extended to the northern areas of Libya. They were used in Tripolitania until July 1948 and in Cyrenaica until 15 January 1950. In July 1948, British stamps overprinted “B.M.A. TRIPOLITANIA” (British Military Administration Tripolitania) and surcharged in Military Administration Lire (“M.A.L.”) were introduced. On 9 May 1945, following the May 7th formal surrender, the German defeat in the Dodecanese was ratified in Berlin and a British Military Administration was established at Rhodes. British stamps overprinted “M.E.F.” (Middle East Forces) were placed in use. LITERATURE: A very important, standard reference, monograph on the stamps and postal history of the British Occupation of Former Italian Colonies, by Luigi Sirotti, was published in 2006 (363 pp, color throughout, in Italian. Plus 14 pp commercial value of items). This is a heavy and expensive book, please contact us if you are interested. ALL THE INFORMATION, ILLUSTRATIONS ETC IN THIS WEBSITE ARE UNDER INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT. VIOLATORS WILL BE PURSUED WHEREVER THEY WILL BE AND WILL BE PUNISHED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.

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