La seconde série de timbres de Guernesey émise le 9 mars 1973 présente quatre bateaux postaux du XXe siècle. Les deux premiers mettent en exergue la rivalité (amicale) de deux compagnies de chemins de fer anglaises, Great Western Railway (avec le paquebot St Julien) et Southern Railway (Isle of Guernsey) sur la ligne des îles anglo-normandes.
St. Julien. In the early 1920's the Great Western Railway began to experience falling traffic on its Weymouth-Channel Islands route; expansion, it was realised, was being prevented, in part, by out-dated steamers (the latest had been built in 1897). In March, 1924, the company placed an order with John Brown and Company Limited of Clydebank for a pair of vessels of greater tonnage. On 4 May, 1925, the first of these, St. Julien, arrived at Weymouth. Of 1885 tons gross, she was capable of carrying 1000 passengers; her steam turbines operated on oil fuel and gave the ship a speed of 18 knots. Named after a saint with supposedly Guernsey connections, she originally had two funnels; the after funnel (a dummy) was removed shortly after her entry into service to assist manoeuvring in a high wind. After many years regular service with her sister ship, St. Helier, the vessel was withdrawn when the Weymouth-Channel Islands service was suspended on the outbreak of war in September, 1939, leaving only the Southampton route serving the Islands. The St. Julien was first used as a troopship between England and France. She then figured in the Dunkirk withdrawal, having been converted to a hospital ship and performed a similar role in northern waters until 1943 and subsequently for some 10 months in the Mediterranean. Finally she figured among the ships used in the invasion of France. The war over, the St. Julien returned to Weymouth and resumed the Channel Islands service. With the advent of nationalisation of the railways in 1948, she came within the jurisdiction of the Southern Region. This made for better organisation and co-ordination of the services. Her last sailing was on September 27, 1960; in the following year she was broken up in Belgium.
Isle of Guernsey. The Southern Railway, given its established association with the shipbuilding firm of William Oenny and Bros. of Dumbarton, not surprisingly commissioned this company to build two new vessels for its Southampton-Channel Islands route. The Isle of Guernsey was completed in 1930 and enjoyed great popularity in the islands. Of 2144 tons gross, she could carry 800 1st class and 600 2nd class passengers. Her speed was 19,5 knots and she was driven by oil-fired steam turbines. She was one of the first ships to be fitted with echo depth-finding apparatus. The Isle of Guernsey travelled regularly across Channel until the outbreak of war in September, 1939, when she was converted into a hospital ship. She served at the evacuation of Dunkirk where she was attacked by German aircraft and damaged by shrapnel, shells and bullets but successfully avoided the bombs which were aimed at her. Later in the war she was engaged in Scottish waters and elsewhere. In 1944, the Isle of Guernsey was fitted up as a Landing Ship Infantry and used in the D Day operations. She carried Canadians to France on D Day and immediately afterwards returned to England to transport troops for service in France. In January, 1945, the first civilian cross-channel service was restored from Newhaven to Dieppe, this being the only French port available. The Isle of Guernsey was employed on this route for a short time. On June 25, 1945, she became the first mail steamer to resume the service between Southampton and the Channel Islands. She continued so to operate until May 12, 1961 when she was the last Southampton mail steamer to leave Guernsey. The Isle of Guernsey was retained as a Channel Islands relief vessel for a short period until being sold to a firm of Belgian shipbreakers.