Saturday, December 25, 2010

George VI International Mail
Europe: War Period

(POST 5)


Mail service to several European countries continued during the war. Although mail to enemy and occupied nations by normal channels ceased, transportation of mail to non-occupied and neutral countries such as Sweden and Switzerland was maintained.

On May 1, 1940, the surface letter and post card rates were increased:



Air Mail Service

"All-up" service to Europe ended on September 3, 1939. Standard rates for European air mail service to neutral countries or countries not occupied by the enemy (when available) were :

Letter rate.............5d.
Post cards..............2 1/2d.

The standard rates did not apply to all countries. Different air mail rates were introduced for mail to Greece, Malta, Sweden, and Turkey. These are discussed below.

Organization of this Article

Destination countries are listed alphabetically and covers within a destination are shown chronologically.



Belgium

At the onset of war Belgium declared its neutrality. Germany began its invasion of Belgium on May 10, 1940. On May 28, 1940, the King of Belgium surrendered. The King remained in Belgium during the war as a German prisoner while the government went into exile and continued military action in the Allied cause. Belgium was liberated late in 1944 by Allied forces.

a) Pre-Occupation


Bedford to Antwerp, October 8, 1939
4 d. two ounce letter rate : 2 1/2 d. (first ounce) + 1 1/2d. (each additional ounce)



London, Gracechurch Street B.O., to Lodelinsart, Belgium, April 29, 1940
2 1/2d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee



London, Gracechurch Street B.O., to Lodelinsart, Belgium, May 4, 1940
The letter rate had increased from 2 1/2d. to 3d. on May 1, 1940
3d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee


b) Post-Occupation


Derby to Huy, Belgium, March 20, 1945
3d. surface letter rate
Brussels transit, April 3, 1945



Sheffield to Huy, March 28, 1945
3d. surface letter rate


Belgian censor tape


Bulgaria


Bulgaria was neutral until March 1, 1941. Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers in 1942, when German troops preparing to invade Yugoslavia and Greece reached the Bulgarian borders and demanded permission to pass through Bulgarian territory. The alliance continued until September 1944 when Russian troops entered Bulgaria. Bulgaria was then aligned with the Allies until the end of the war.


Cambridge to Sofia, Bulgaria, October 22, 1940
2 1/2d. air mail post card rate
Sofia receiver, January 14, 1941

Denmark
 
Germany invaded neutral Denmark on April 9, 1940. The occupation lasted until May 5, 1945.

a) Pre-Occupation


London to Copenhagen, Denmark, September 22, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate
Gray and Martin Limited (G & M/LD) perfin



London to Copenhagen, Denmark, October 1939
5d. air mail letter rate
Copenhagen receiver October 18, 1939



London to Copenhagen, December 7, 1940
Two ounce registered letter : 7 d.
4 d. letter rate for two ounces + 3 d. registration fee



London to Copenhagen, Denmark, December 22, 1939
1/2d. printed papers rate
Press censorship seal



London to Hellerup, Denmark, January 20, 1940
2 1/2d. surface letter rate



London to Copenhagen, Denmark, February 13, 1940
5d. air mail letter rate
Copenhagen receiver, February 16, 1940



Manchester to Herning, Denmark, April 3, 1940
2 1/2d. letter rate

POSTAL SERVICE SUSPENDED
RETURN TO SENDER


b) Post-Occupation


Edinburgh to Svenborg, Denmark, June 1, 1945
3d. surface letter rate
Danish censor tape and handstamp


Estonia


The Republic of Estonia declared neutrality in the war but was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June, 1941, the German army reached Estonia in July. For the duration of the occupation, Estonia was incorporated into the German province of Ostland.


Bradford to Tatu, Estonia, January 18, 1940
From Reader's Digest:








London to Tallinn, Estonia, February 16, 1940
2 1/2d. letter rate
Shortpaid 1 d.

British Taxation: 20 gold centimes (double deficiency x 10 gold centimes/1d.)
Estonian Taxation : 24 senti ( 20 gold centimes x 30 senti/25 gold centimes)


British marking : T20 (gold centimes) Estonian marking : 24 (senti)


Finland

Finland fought three wars from 1939 to 1945 : the Winter War alone against the Soviet Union, the Continuation War with Germany against the Soviet Union, and the Lapland War against Germany. Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Finland were severed on August 1, 1941, after the British bombed German forces in Finland. The United Kingdom called on Finland to cease its offensive against the Soviet Union, and on December 6, 1941, declared war on Finland.



Birmingham to Helingsfors, Finland, November 18, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate

British censor tape Finnish bilingual censor handstamp


"Censored according to Order No. 348 of 20.10.39


France

On September 3, 1939, France declared war on Germany following its invasion of Poland. The Germans successfully invaded France in May 1940 resulting in France's surrender to Germany and Italy in June, 1940. The armistice divided France into occupied and unoccupied zones: northern and western France including the entire Atlantic coast were occupied by Germany, and the remaining two-fifths of the country were governed by the French Government with the capital at Vichy under Marechal Philippe P├ętain. Both the unoccupied and the occupied portions of France remained legally under the control of the Vichy government. When the Allies invaded North Africa on 8 November 1942, the Germans and Italians immediately occupied the remaining free part of France.




a) Pre-Occupation



London to LeHavre, France, January 27, 1940
5d. air mail letter rate
French censor tape and handstamp



Winchester to Paris, February 20, 1940
French censor tape and handstamp (WB350)



Glasgow to Pont-du-Leu, February 23, 1940
2 1/2d. letter rate
Shortpaid 1 d.
British taxation 20 gold centimes French due 2 francs






London to Georges P. Vanier, Canadian Legation, Paris, June 3, 1940
5d. air mail letter rate
Legation receiver June 6, 1940


b) Vichy France : Free Zone


Harlemere to Nice, June 8, 1941
2 1/2d. air mail post card rate : Air Mail Via Lisbon
1d. overpayment


Liverpool to Prigorieur, July 31, 1941
3d. surface letter
French censorship seal and handstamp


c) Post-occupation


Manchester to Seine Inferieure, France, March 14, 1945
French censor tape and handstamp


Gibraltar



Greenock to Gibraltar, July 26, 1941
5d. air mail rate
Gibraltar receiver August 12, 1941


Greece


Italy invaded Greece in October 1940 but was defeated and pushed back by Greek forces to Albania. However, in April 1941, Germany successfully invaded Greece. The occupation lasted until the German withdrawal from the mainland in October 1944.

a) Pre-Occupation


Altrincham to Athens, Greece, September 24, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate
Shortpaid 1d. and taxed 20 gold centimes (No Greek tax marking)



Liverpool to Athens, May 2, 1940
3d. surface letter rate + 3d. registration fee
British censor and Greek Currency Control tapes
Athens receiver, May 8, 1940


Airmail : August 21 1940 - May 3, 1941

The air mail rate was increased from 5d. to 1/3d. This will be discussed in a future article.


Victoria Docks to Athens, Greece, November 13, 1940
1/3d. air mail rate

British and Greek censor tapes
Egyptian and Greek censor handstamps


Egypt censor


Greek censor


b) Post-Occupation


Claygate to Athens, Greece, February 25, 1945
2d. surface post card rate
British and Greek censor handstamps


Hungary


In 1940, Hungary joined the Axis. In 1941, Hungarian forces participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and the invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1944, German forces occupied Hungary. In 1945 Hungarian and German forces in Hungary were defeated by invading Soviet armies.



Liverpool Paquebot to Budapest, Hungary, July 23, 1940
3d. surface letter rate



Mailed by passenger on board Cunard White Star Line ship


Budapest receiver October 28, 1940 (mailed from Liverpool, July 23, 1940)


All postal services to Hungary suspended April 9, 1941.


London to Budapest, March 13, 1941
3d. surface letter rate

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER

London receiver April 22, 1941


Detained in France

The letter below was in transit when France was occupied by German forces and was detained in France during the occupation.


Kensington to Magyartelek, Baranya, Hungary, 1940
The letter was returned to the sender in May, 1945



DETAINED IN FRANCE
DURING GERMAN
OCCUPATION


Italy

Although one of the Axis powers, Italy remained neutral until June 10, 1940 when it declared war on Britain and France. On 10 July 1943, a combined force of American and British Commonwealth troops invaded Sicily. On 25 July 1943, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was ousted and a new Italian government took over in Italy. The new Italian government immediately began secret negotiations with the Allies to end the fighting and to come over to the Allied side. On 3 September, a secret armistice was signed with the Allies. German troops, once they had discovered that the Italians had signed an armistice, moved quickly to disarm the Italian forces and to take over critical defensive positions.

About two months after he was removed from power, Mussolini was rescued by the Germans. Mussolini was re-located to northern Italy where he set up a new Fascist state, the Italian Social Republic. The final Allied victory over the Axis in Italy came in the spring of 1945.

a) Neutral Italy (to June 10, 1940)


Southampton to Novara, Italy, September 20, 1939
Express delivery surface letter
2 1/2 d. letter rate + 6d. express delivery fee


RETURNED TO THE SENDER BY THE SENDER

Memoranda explaining why the letter was returned:


Letters were to be short and clearly written


Letters to foreign countries were to be brief and legible.



London to Rome, March 18, 1940
2 1/2d. surface letter rate
Rome receiver March 24, 1940


b) Allied Occupied Italy

On June 4, 1944, the Allies captured Rome.


London to Rome, January 31, 1945
3d. surface letter rate


Latvia


On October 5, 1939, Latvia was forced to accept a "mutual assistance" pact with the Soviet Union, granting the Soviets the right to station 25 000 troops on Latvian territory. On June 17, the Red Army occupied Latvia. Germany offensive against the Soviet Union began on June 22, 1941. By July 10, 1941, German armed forces had completed the occupation of Latvia. Latvia was incorporated into the German province of Ostland.



Greenock to Riga, Latvia, December 11, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate


Luxembourg

German troops invaded neutral Luxembourg on May 10, 1940. In 1942, Germany annexed Luxembourg. Luxembourg was liberated by Allied forces in September 1944.


Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham) to Kayl, Luxembourg, March 23, 1940
2 1/2d. surface letter rate




Mitcham to Kayl, Luxembourg, March 14, 1940
2 1/2d. surface letter rate + 3 d. registration fee


Netherlands

Germany invaded neutral Netherlands on May 10, 1940. In September 1944, the Allies began the liberation of the Netherlands, but some of the Northern provinces were occupied until May, 1945.



Rochdale to Cuyk, Netherlands, September 12, 1939
An early censored cover in which the envelope was opened at the bottom. During WWII, covers were opened and sealed on the sides of the envelope.



London to Amsterdam, October 9, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate + 6d. express delivery fee ( 1/2 d. convenience overpayment)
British Sales Ltd. perfins (B S/Ltd on 6d. and BS on 1 1/2d. stamps)



Birmingham to Groningen, Netherlands, March 29, 1940
4d. two ounce rate
Incorrectly considered to be shortpaid because the meter tape was folded on the back of the envelope.
Taxed 20 cents by Dutch post office


The meter strip had two impressions of the 2d. value




Weston-sur-Mare to Amsterdam, May 8, 1940
3d. surface letter rate

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER

London backstamp May 29, 1940



Aldershot to Hillegom, May 11, 1940
3 d. surface letter rate

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER

London backstamp May 24, 1940


Norway

The occupation of Norway by Germany started with the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940 and ended on May 8, 1945 after the capitulation of German forces in Europe.



Luten to Borre, Norway, September 5, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate
An early censored cover


"First censured [sic] letter I received in the 2nd great war. 12/9.39"


London to Oslo, Norway, November 30, 1939

  • Shortpaid 1 d. and taxed 24 ore
  • Addressee refused
  • Letter returned to London (receiver December 14, 1939)
  • Sender to pay 2d (double the deficiency)

Norwegian tax was 24 ore


REFUSED handstamp


RETURN handstamp


London receiver, December 14, 1939


2d. to Pay




London to Halden, Norway, March 28, 1940

The cover was censored by British authorities but could not be delivered because Germany had invaded Norway on April 9, 1940. Postal service was suspended and the letter was to be returned to the sender, but there was no return address on the envelope. The cover was opened and sealed a second time in order to determine the sender's address.


British Censor tape


POSTAL SERVICE SUSPENDED RETURN TO SENDER


No return address in red ink



The envelope was opened and resealed by the post office.


Sender's address


Portugal

In September 1939, Portugal proclaimed its neutrality which was respected by the Axis and Allies.



West Bromwich to Lisbon, Portugal, July 11, 1940
3d. surface letter rate
Shortpaid 1/2d. and taxed 75 centavos


Lisbon receiver, July 20, 1940
60 c due (1921-27 series)
10c and 5 c dues ( 1932-33 series)

Dues analysis:





London to Lisbon, January 29, 1942
3 d. surface letter rate



Ryde to Lisbon, Portugal, December 23, 1943
2 1/2d. air mail rate
British octagonal censor handstamp
Diagonal acid strip to detect secret ink



London to Oporto, Portugal, February 14, 1944
5d air mail


San Marino

Throughout the war, San Marino maintained its neutrality.



London to San Marino, November 1, 1939
1 1/2d. surface post card rate
RELEASED BY CENSOR handstamp


Spain

Spain under General Franco was officially non-belligerent during the war. This status, although not recognized by international law, was intended to express the regime's sympathy and material support for the Axis Powers, to which Spain offered considerable material, economic, and military assistance.


Towchester to Malaga, September 26, 1939
2 1/2d. surface letter rate

MALAGA CENSURA MILITAR tape

The letter was returned to the sender.



Torquay to Cala, November 7, 1941
5d. air mail rate
Via Lisbon
British and Spanish (Seville) censor tapes


Sweden

Sweden maintained neutrality throughout the war.



Liverpool to Stockholm, January 3, 1940
2 ounce surface registered letter
4 d. (two ounce letter rate) + 3 d. registration fee

"War Office Permit" sticker affixed and
RELEASED BY CENSOR handstamp applied



Braunton to Sweden, March 23, 1940
1 1/2d. surface post card rate
British octagonal censor handstamp



Aberdeen to Stockholm, May 23, 1941
3d. surface letter rate

Service to Sweden temporally suspended:

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER




Pinner to Stockholm, June 5, 1941
1 1/2d. paying the 6 oz. printed papers rate

Service to Sweden temporally suspended:

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER

Pencil notation indicating that the cover was returned on October 11, 1941




Cleckheaton to Stockholm, Sweden, June 19, 1945
3 d. surface letter rate
Returned because there was no service to Sweden except by air


The letter was opened by the Returned Letter Section, London Postal Region, because there was no return address on the envelope. The cover would have been mailed to the sender in an ambulance envelope.




1) To March 17, 1942 : 5d. Letter Rate


Slough to Hagalund, Sweden, November 30, 1939
5d. air mail rate + 3 d. registration fee




Horlichs Limited Perfins (H)







London to Huskavana, Sweden, May 21, 1940
The air mail rate was 5d. for the first ounce and 3d. for each additional ounce
8d. two ounce air mail letter rate


2. March 18, 1942- March 30, 1943 : 1s. 3d. letter rate


The airmail rate to Sweden was 1/3d. per 1/2 ounce.


London to Kilafors, Sweden, April 30, 1942
1/3d. air mail letter rate
"Swedish Permit No. B*1206" typed at the top of the envelope



Teatherhead to Stockholm, Sweden, January 2, 1943
7d. air mail rate


3. March 31, 1943 - February 14, 1945 : 8d. letter rate


Aldershot to Stockholm, Sweden, May 15, 1943
8d. air mail rate



Manchester to Gothenburg, Sweden, November 27, 1944
8d. air mail rate
Shortpaid 3d.
Swedish Tax : 60 ore



Birkenhead to Stockholm, November 16, 1943
8d. air mail rate
"PBL" perfin : Price Bronborouh Limited


4. From February 15, 1945: 5d. letter rate


London to Stockholm, May 30, 1945
5d. air mail rate


Switzerland

Switzerland maintained a state of armed neutrality during the war.



Wet Byfleet to Berne, Switzerland, May 8, 1940
3d. surface letter rate + 3 d. registration fee
Berne receiver May 13, 1940



Southwick to St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 21, 1940
3d. surface letter rate

NO SERVICE
RETURN TO SENDER

A period during which postal service to Switzerland was suspended.




London to Lugano, Switzerland, August 29, 1940
21/2d. air mail post card rate
"Via Lisbon"
Rome censor handstamp



London to Zurich, May 15, 1941
5d. air mail rate
P/D perfins : Parke, Davis & Company



London to Winterthur, Switzerland, September 8, 1941
5d. air mail rate
Returned by Censor
POSTAGE REFUNDED handstamp across the stamp


POSTAGE REFUNDED







Censored cancellation (Blackout) to Red Cross, Geneva Switzerland, September 13, 1941
3d. surface letter rate



London to Geneva, March 26, 1943
14 ounce registered air mail letter
47d. = 44d. postage + 3 d. registration fee
British and German censor tapes
Lisbon transit : April/43
Geneva receiver: April 6, 1943

Air mail rate was 5d. for the first ounce and 3 d. for each additional ounce.
44d. paid the 11 ounce rate : 5d.(first ounce) + next 13 ounces x 3d./ounce= 44d.



London ( G A Co perfin) to the Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich, March 24, 1944
3d. surface letter rate
Shortpaid 1/2d.
British tax : 8 gold centimes
Swiss tax: 10 Swiss centimes








German censor Paris (X at bottom of handstamp)


Turkey

Turkey was neutral until several months before the end of the war, at which point it joined the Allies.



Pitlochry to Istanbul, October 13, 1944
1/3d. air mail letter rate to Turkey



London to Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 1944
3 d. surface letter rate
Shortpaid 1/2d.
British charge : 8 gold centimes
Turkish Due : 3 kurush


3 kurush definitive stamp paying the postage due



Edinburgh to Istanbul, Turkey, July 2, 1942
3d. surface letter rate



London to Adana, Turkey, March 6, 1942
3d. surface letter rate
Ottoman Bank ( O B ) perfin


Yugoslavia

In April 1941, the Axis forces successfully invaded Yugoslavia. The country was partitioned between Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and client regimes in Croatia and Serbia.



Bristol to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, May 27, 1940
3d. surface letter rate

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