Censored and Military Postal History

World War II - Civil Censorship - British Empire

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Gambia - 1941

Gambia's violet 'PASSED / CENSOR' censor handstamp Type 1 is first handstamp. EKD: 4 MR 41, just 9 days before this cover.

According to John Little's British Empire Civil Censorship Devices WWII: Section 1 - Africa all Gambia censorship is scarce

Airmail cover from Bathurst March 13, 1941 to New York. Cancelled with unusual triple-ring advertising cancel 'SEND YOUR TELEGRAMS / VIA IMPERIAL'.

'BATHURST / GAMBIA' cds also applied to left of adhesive is same as center of cancel on the stamp.

Image courtesy: Stewart Duncan

Trinidad - 1940

Bremen, Germany '16 September 1940', to Columbia.

Flown by Lufthansa to Rome via Frankfurt (German, Frankfurt censor on reverse) and then by LATI to Brazil. From Brazil by PAA, Pan American Airways, FAM 10, to Trinidad where it was censored.

Trinidad handstamp TR CH 4b tying plain brown resealing tape. See CCSG Publications.

Then transferred to PAA FAM 6 to Barranquilla, thence to destination with Buenaventura arrival cds dated '5 November 1940' on reverse.

Ex: Wike

1940 Trinidad cenrorship on Germany to Columbia

Burma - 1941

Airmail cover from 'DUNMURRY / 3 MR 41 / BELFAST' Northern Ireland to CHENGTU, China.

Violet triangle 'PASSED / X / CENSOR / 12' applied in Rangoon. British PC90 OBC censor label used by censor '1745'.

Most liikely carried by CNAC, China National Aviation Corp., route from Rangoon to Chengtu. Adhesives for 1/6 affixed for airmail to China by 'Horseshoe Route' by Imperial Airways.

Any comments or corrections on route & rate?

Burma censored all transit mail.

Hong Kong - 1941

Two-ocean cover intended for PAA, Pan-American Airways, flight over Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Airmail rated cover from Indo-China to France via Hong Kong with variety of adhesives cancelled by HANGAY, Tonkin datestamp '2 Dec 41'.

Boxed blue censor handstamp '47' tying black Hong Kong OPENED BY CENSOR label.

Image courtesy: Simon Andrews

1941 Hong Kong Label to France

1944 Northern Rhodesia to Ireland

Northern Rhodesia - 1944

Posted in 'NARNWALA / 15 NOV 44 / N.R.' to Dublin, Ireland.

Northern Rhodesian censor affixed his P.C.90 label 'OPENED BY EXAMINER / O/3' and also used his octagonal '(crown) / PASSED / O/3' blue censor mark: most likely applied at Lusaka.

The Air Mail Letter Card was introduced, at a rate of 6d, to provide a more cost effective method of corresponding rather than the letter rate of 1/3 per 0.5 oz.

Comments on routing please

Seychelles - 1945

Seychelles, 'VICTORIA / MR 13 / 45' cds to U.S.A.

The rate covered onward carriage from the UK to the USA but not by air and so the air mail etiquette was cancelled in London with the two parallel red bars.

This had been recognised earlier as the cover passed through Kenya; there it attracted the unboxed two-line cachet in violet: 'BY AIR TO LONDON / PAR AVION A LONDRES' on lower right.

This is a rare mark on mail from Kenya and much scarcer on mail from elsewhere passing through Kenya in transit.

We also have the censor mark - type H.Vl - '(crown) / PASSED / LL/1' in a single line octagonal box. There are only three recorded examples of type H.Vl - one with LL/1 and two with LL/3.

Ex: Fitton

1945 Seychelles to USA

The 56 cents rate was the correct inclusive rate for a letter of up to 10 grams to the UK by air between December 1944 and May 1947. It was also (apart from the brief period of the Empire Air Mail Scheme) the only inclusive rate ever published prior to 1975; all other rates were a combination of the surface rate plus an air mail surcharge.

It also represented the first serious reduction in air mail charges since the punitive introduction of the 1 rupee (later 82 cents) air mail surcharge at the beginning of the war. But the cover is addressed to USA!

Updated: 11 July 2005
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