Brown urged: put faces of war dead on stamps

BRITAIN’S official war artist is to ask the prime minister to intervene after the Royal Mail refused to issue stamps commemorating British soldiers killed in Iraq.

Steve McQueen, a Turner prize winner, offered his portraits of more than 100 dead troops - commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to form a record of the conflict - for use on the stamps. He was backed by most of the families of the soldiers.

However, he was rebuffed for reasons that he described last night as “rubbish”. The Royal Mail claimed it normally took two or three years to produce a range of stamps. But McQueen has pointed to the fact that it took only two months to produce an issue featuring Diana, Princess of Wales after her death.

McQueen said he will invite Gordon Brown to an exhibition of the pictures that will open at the museum on September 25 and will ask him to put pressure on the Royal Mail. “The stamps would be a very public way of commemorating the lives of the people who served their country but then, sadly, were killed,” McQueen said The issue is becoming a cause celebre both for McQueen and the soldiers’ families. Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed in Basra two years ago, said he was “very supportive” of the artist’s stand.

The commemoration issue follows calls for a medal to recognise the bravery of those killed or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brown said last week he was sympathetic to the idea.
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