Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cash on Delivery Packet
Posted in 1949

(Post 50)

Post Office COD adhesive label

Cash on Delivery (COD) service was available for amounts to be collected up to £40. The amount to be collected (the trade charge) specified by the sender for collection on delivery of a registered packet was collected by the Post Office and remitted to the sender by means of a special order.

The packet required the name of the addressee, name of the sender, and the trade charge. The Post Office provided adhesive labels for this purpose.

Fees varied with the trade charge. The minimum fee was 4d. for 10s. trade charge.

London local C.O.D. packet, August 23, 1949
 Trade Charge : 4s. 7 d. (fraction part of 1d. were not allowed)

Trade Charge Fee : 4d. (Payment not on the packet)
Postage.................2 1/2d.
Registration............4 d.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency

(Post 49)

U.S. president Franklin Rooselvelt proposed the formation of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) in June, 1943, to provide relief to areas liberated from Axis powers after World War II ended. UNRRA headquarters was in Washington, D.C., and the European Regional Office was set up in London. Although the UNRRA was called a "United Nations" agency, it was established prior to the founding of the United Nations. The term "United Nations" was used at the time to refer to the Allies of World War II.

The task of UNRRA was to assist its member governments in giving relief to the victims of war, in assisting them in the rehabilitation of their agriculture and industries, and in returning to their homes those who had been displaced.

UNRRA London (European Regional Office), December 22, 1944

In 1944, when the UNRRA cover shown above was mailed, UNRRA teams had begun rehabilitating refugees and displaced persons in camps all over the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, and Italy.

The UNRRA became part of the United Nations Organization in 1945 and was especially active in 1945 and 1946, and largely shut down operations in 1947.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Indian and British Postal Administrations
George VI Period

(Post 48)

The Persian Gulf state of Bahrain has been governed by the Al Khalifa family since the late 18th century. In 1820, Great Britain and Bahrain entered into the first of many treaties in which Bahrain became a British Protectorate until it became an independent state in 1971.

A postal service was operated in Bahrain by the Indian postal administration in Bombay from 1884. From 1933, Bahrain started using Indian Stamps overprinted "Bahrain". With the independence of India in 1947, the Bahrain Post Office was managed by the Pakistani government in Karachi until March 31, 1948. On April 1, 1948, the British G.P.O took over postal agencies from Pakistan. For this reason the previously overprinted Indian stamps were replaced by overprinted GB stamps in 1948. On 31 December 1965 the GB postal administration was closed and control handed over to the Bahrain postal department on 1 January 1966.

This article shows covers posted from Bahrain during the George VI period.


Bahrain Stamps and Postal History
GB Overprints Society

1. Indian Postal Administration (To 1947)

Stamps of India overprinted "Bahrain" were issued from 1933.

WWII Trans-Pacific Air Mail Service to the United States
February 21, 1940 - December 21, 1940

A trans-Pacific air mail service to the United States was introduced on February 21, 1940 at the first weight step rate of 40 annas ( 2R 8 as.) in addition to the letter rate (3 1/2 as.)

The route went via Karachi and Bangkok, then by land-plane service to Hong Kong with stops at Hanoi and Wai Chao Island (in the Gulf on Tonking) as part of the Horseshoe route. From Hong Kong the route was PanAm Airways Trans-Pacific air service via Manila, Wake Island, Midway, Honolulu to San Francisco.

To Napa, California, July 4, 1940
40 as air mail letter rate + 3 1/2 as surface letter = 2 R 11a 6p


Victoria, Hong Kong transit
July 20, 1940


The cover shown below was also mailed to a California address:

To Richmond, California, May 22, 1940 (Via India-Hong Kong - U.S.A.)
40 as air mail letter rate + 3 1/2 as surface letter = 2 R 11a 6p


Indian Censor Tape

Hong Kong Censor tape

2. British Postal Administration (From 1948)

British stamps overprinted "Bahrain" were first issued in 1948.

Air Mail to Great Britain

Bahrain to Ikley, Engalnd, March 23, 1949
6 annas paying the air mail letter rate to Great Britain

Air Mail to India

Bahrain to Bombay, September 13, 1950
10 annas paying the air mail letter rate + registration fee

Air Mail to Switzerland

Bahrain to Berne, Switzerland, July 30, 1951
6 annas paying the air mail letter rate to Switzerland

Air Mail to France

Bahrain to Paris, France, December 27, 1951
6 annas paying the air mail letter rate to France

Air Mail Post Card to the U.S.A.

Awali, Bahrain to Tulsa, August 27, 1953
9 annas paying the air mail post card rate to the U.S.A.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Box 111
Bletchley Park

(Post 47)

Undercover addresses were used during WWII to conceal the identity and purpose of an establishment. Bletchley Park, an estate in the town of Bletchley, in Buckinghanshire, was the site of Britain's main code breaking establishments, the Government Code and Cypher School. Bletchley Park was allocated undercover address  P.O. Box 111, Bletchley.

The covers shown below were mailed from India to Box 111, Bletchley.

Security handstamp 410, February 14, 1944
2 1/2 as. concession surface letter rate to England

July 4, 1945 to P.O. Box 111
8 as. forces air mail rate

1942 Mail to Bletchley 
Not Addressed to Box 111

The cover below mailed from Alexandria, Egypt, October 11, 1942, was addressed to L/Cpl. E Kirkman, "Rhonnda House", Bletchley, and not to Box 111, Bletchley. According to Bletchley Park records, L/Cpl. Kirkman was stationed at Bletchley and worked in Hut 5, Hut 7, Block C, and Hut 16 (Intelligence Centre) (Cover Management Team).

Mailed from H.M. Ship, October 9, 1942 to "Rhonnda House", Bletchley
Egypt Postage Prepaid 6 handstamp (Alexandria), October 11, 1942

Monday, February 14, 2011

Empire Exhibition Scotland 1938

(Post 46)

The Empire Exhibition of 1938 was held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow from May to October, 1938. The Exhibition was created to provide manufacturers in Scotland an opportunity to find new markets in the Empire as well as to showcase British industries.

The Exhibition attracted over 12 million visitors. A large pavilion was allocated to British exhibits, two to Scotland, and one to each of the leading Dominions, Malaysia and the West Indies. Private industrial firms occupied 50 pavilions, and other exhibits included the palace of arts, industry, and engineering.

The Digital Design Studio of the Glasgow School of Art has created an amazing 3D digital model of the Exhibition on its website.

Pre-Exhibition Correspondence

Address label from Empire Exhibition Scotland 1938 to The Tourists' Hotel, Glasgow
Prepaid 6d., December 16, 1937

Edward VIII meter indicia

Season Ticket

Opening Day

The Exhibition was opened on May 3, 1938, by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. A British Pathe newsreel of the King's speech can be seen at their website.

The above recording of the Empire Exhibition opening was viewed by  Tom Hooper, director of the film "The King's Speech" and Colin Firth who played George VI in the film. It has been reported that the King's address was so poignant, and the King looked so distressed and sad, that it made Mr. Firth and Mr. Hooper cry.

In his speech, the King paid tribute to the enterprise and initiative of Scots, both in their contribution to establishing the British Empire and in setting up the Exhibition.

The actual opening ceremony was held at nearby Ibrox Park, home of Rangers Football, allowing a larger crowd to witness the occasion.

Opening Day Souvenir Cover

Exhibition Post Office cancellation
May 3, 1938

Post Card Watercolour Views

Souvenir lettercards featuring water colours by Brian Gerald were published by Valentine & Sons, Ltd.

Lettercard No. 2A mailed from the Exhibition P.O. June 16, 1938

South Cascade and Tower

The Clachan

Atlantic Restaurant and Tower

South Cascade & Tower by Night

The Tower

Cascade and Laje, Dominions Avenue

The Clachan

A clachan (highland village) was re-created at the Exhibition and included a post office.

Post Office, The Clachan

Mailed from the 1938 Empire Exhibition, Glasgow
Exhibition P.O. to Taunton, July 16, 1938

Post Office and Tower at The Clachan

Clachan Post Office label

Mailed from the 1938 Empire Exhibition, Glasgow
Exhibition P.O. to Brookline, Mass, August 8, 1938

Closing Day

G.P.O. Pavillion souvenir card

Postmarked closing day, October 29, 1938


1. Exhibition Post Office

Various postmarks were in use at the Exhibition Post Office.

Exhibition Post Office circular date stamp
September 11, 1938

Exhibition Post Office Glasgow 2

2. Slogan Cancellations

Exhibition P.O. machine cancellation
Exhibition slogan

Glasgow, May 2, 1938

London, August 25, 1938

London, Foreign Section to Canada
Canadian duty handstamp September 7, 1938

Plymouth and Devon, July 8, 1938

Southampton Paquebot, April 26, 1938

3. Meter Cancellations

Derby, October 12, 1938