Exactly 100 Years ago today, Austro-Hungarian archduke and heir apparent Franz-Ferdinand arrived at the station in Sarajevo for an official visit. The first activity on the programme was an inspection of the military barracks. At around 10:00 am the motorcade left the barracks and made way for the town hall. Along the route, a gang of revolutionairies, led by Danilo Ilić, had positioned six men with the aim of assassinating the archduke.
The motorcade passed the first two men unnoticed, both of them failed to act. Further along the route the third man, Nedeljko Čabrinović, did act and threw a bomb at the archduke’s car. Unfortunately for Čabrinović, the bomb bounced off and exploded underneath the next car.
To escape the alarmed police Čabrinović swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the river Miljacka. This suicide attempt failed miserably, as the cyanide only caused Čabrinović to start vomiting and the mere 13 cm of water in the river Miljacka weren’t enough to drown him.
Meanwhile, the motorcade had sped away and the three other men had no chance to act, due to the high speed with which the archduke passed them.
After a meeting at the Town Hall the company decided to visit the wounded from the bombed car at the Sarajevo hospital. On the way there the driver of the car carrying the archduke was not informed about the route change and took a wrong turn. He stopped and wanted to back up, but ended up right in front of one of the revolutionairies, Gavrilo Princip. He shot twice and killed the archduke and his wife, duchess Sophie. This assassination sparked unrest between Serbia and Austria and eventually caused the outbreak of the First World War.
This year, many countries have issued stamps to remember this war. Below, you can see a few examples.
Australia issued this block of five stamps depicting the Australian troops. The first campaign that Australians were involved in was in German New Guinea.
During World War I over 421,809 Australians served in the military with 331,781 serving overseas. Over 60,000 Australians lost their lives and 137,000 were wounded.
Gibraltar issued this stampset of six with images of the soldiers from drafting to their departure to the battlefiield.
Gambia issued two blocks with war-propaganda posters.
Guyana issued two blocks with stamps displaying tanks that were used on the WWI battlefield.
Jersey issued a set of six stamps with the poppy. Following the trench warfare which took place in the poppy fields of Flanders, during the First World War, red poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.
This block from Isle of Man is about trench art, made during World War I.
Montserrat issued six stamps about women in World War I. This British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean, had minor involvement in the First World War. At the time of the conflict, the territory was administered as part of the federal crown colony of the British Leeward Islands, and thus went to war on 4 August alongside the rest of the British Empire.
Nevis issued eight stamps with with War propaganda posters.
These stamps were issued by Tuvalu.
Saint-Vincent has issued stamps depicting the war horses.
We expect to see a lot more issues in the following five years, up untill the centenary of the Versailles treaty in 1919, which was signed exactly five years after the fatal shots by Gavrilo Princip.