When US philatelist Eric Carlson found an unusual stamp on EBay, he ‘stumbled upon the remnants of a forgotten bit of world history, about a stranded convoy that built a community at the center of a war.’
Eric had discovered the Great Bitter Lake Association.
99% Invisible in the USA have produced an excellent podcast about the ships stranded in the Suez Canal during the Six-Day War. Indeed, the USA was involved in the episode. The American ship, African Glen, was one of the trapped vessels.
Vivian Le interviewed former seafarers Peter Flack and George Wharton about their first-hand experiences for the show. I provided some background information.
Listen to the podcast but look at the transcript too. There are some wonderful photos of GBLA ‘Cinderella’ stamps. Why Cinderella stamps? Because they were unofficial, not attached to any nation. Yet they sometimes made it through the postage service, as genuine stamps.
As Vivian reports, ‘The GBLA is mostly a footnote in the complicated history of the Six-Day War.’ But you can still see traces of it in stamps and other memorabilia. And new broadcasts and documentaries are bringing the story to new audiences worldwide.