Special Notice – Derek Pocock

It is always difficult writing any Vale, even more so for Dr Derek Pocock, as he was a very close personal and philatelic friend.

Derek arrived in WA in January 1972 to become the forensic pathologist for the Western Australian Government. He played a significant role, to the extent that Derek and his wife Carol were included in a recently published book that tells the story of pioneering WA medical doctors in the 70s and 80s – ‘Right for Rape Left for Murder, a medical memoir’.  The book’s title is a reference to Derek’s tendency of carrying two pagers in his jacket pockets on social outings in the evenings.  If the right one buzzed, Carol was needed to assess a rape victim; if the left one went off, Derek was called to the scene of a murder.

Carol set up the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre in the country and one of the first world-wide. Derek’s work as a forensic pathologist led him to establish training for mortuary attendants and to begin teaching Criminology at UWA.

I met Derek for the first time in 2000 as a new delegate for the Western Australian Philatelic Council (WAPC). He was an executive member at that time.  I had purchased some Nicaraguan Airmail stamps from an auction in PSWA, which happened to be Derek’s lots.

Later on, Derek invited me to his house, where he introduced me to his wife Carol and shared with me his massive interest in Nicaraguan philately. He then generously gave me some more Airmail items and encouraged me to start exhibiting, as a way to learn more about my new collecting interest and the hobby in general.  Derek encouraged me to attend the exhibiting workshops that he and Ross Duberal ran on behalf of the WAPC.

In 2004, by design or luck, he asked me to billet two members of the Nicaraguan Study Group (NSG): the President Neal West (USA) and Mike Birks (UK) for the Swan River Stamp Show 2004 (a full National exhibition with Accord countries). It was during this exhibition that I joined the NSG.  Derek continued to encourage and mentor me in Nicaraguan philately over the following 14 years.

Along with Ross Duberal, Derek also developed my interest with organised philately in Australia. Derek provided outstanding services to organised philately in both Western Australia and nationally.  Some, but not all of his philatelic achievements include the following:

  • Derek and Ross formed the Western Australia Study Group in 1974, still going strong today. They also formed the WA Philatelic Association (later to become the Western Australian Philatelic Council – WAPC). For numerous decades Derek was on the Western Australian Philatelic Council in the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and other executive positions.
  • In 1996 he started and was continually involved with the Day time Stamp Club.
  • He served six Years (1987- 1992) with the Australian Philatelic Federation (APF) in the positions of President, Vice President and Immediate Past President.
  • He was on the organising committees and was a major driver for the following National exhibitions held in Western Australia: WAPEX 79, Cuppex 87, WAPEX 93, Fremantle 97 and Swan River Stamp Show 2004. He also was often Jury Chair or held a senior jury position.
  • He was on numerous state exhibition organising committees from Swanpex 1979 to Swan River Stamp Show 2010.
  • He pioneered the concept of one frame exhibits (now Cygnet Class) and Picture Postcards exhibiting at the State level. These concepts developed to national and finally international levels.
  • He became an International Judge (3 FIP classes) and National Judge (5 classes). He ran philatelic exhibiting workshops at both State and National levels.
  • He recently donated his extensive philatelic library to the Royal Philatelic Society of London.

At National exhibitions he was a prolific exhibitor with over 25 different exhibits entered over a 40 year period.

Derek also enjoyed entering international exhibitions. Here are a few of his exhibits that got accepted at international level:

  • Aerophilately The First Five Years of Nicaraguan Airmails – Espana 1997
  • One Frame 100 Years of Gribskovbanen (1880-1980) – Malaga 2014
  • Forgeries & Fakes of WA Swans – China 2003
  • Nicaragua – The Postal Use of Fiscal Stamps in the 1920s – China 2003
  • Open Nicaragua – Philatelic Crimes over 65 Years – Espana 2004
  • Postal History Nepal Prior to Membership of the UPU – Germany 1999
  • British North Borneo – London 1980
  • The Postal Stationery of Nicaragua – China 2003
  • The Post Seebeck Issues Postal Stationery of Nicaragua – Finland 1995, Hong Kong 2004, USA 1997 & Brasilia 1993

In 1997, Derek’s contributions to philately were awarded the highest honour that Australian Organised Philately can give with an APF Fellow of the Australian Philatelic Order (FAP).

Derek, you will be remembered and sadly missed by me and the whole philatelic community. I hope you now discover the final Nicaraguan Philatelic mysteries.  Rest in Peace Derek.

Glen Stafford APF IPP