Friday, April 29, 2011

Canada Post's Royal Wedding Postmark

On April 29, 2011, Prince William, the great-grandson of George VI, was married. Canada Post made available a Royal Wedding postmark featuring Westminster Abbey at over 140 Post Offices so that collectors could have their "collectibles stamped with a special postmark in honour of the Royal Couple's big day." Canada Post announced that the postmark would be available in participating Post Offices between April 29 and July 8.

The Brampton cancellation is shown below:

Royal Wedding First Day Cover : Brampton, Ontario

Se-tenant stamps are from the souvenir sheet.
Auxiliary Territorial Service

(Post 62)

The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was the women's branch of the British Army during WWII. It was formed on September 9 1938, initially as a women's voluntary service. The ATS served in most theatres of war, as well as in locations such as Washington and the Caribbean. The variety of work also became much greater – as well as domestic and clerical trades, more technical work became available, and many women served with Anti-Aircraft Command. At its peak in June 1943, 210,308 officers and auxiliaries were serving with the ATS. The ATS existed until 1 February 1949, when it was merged into the Women's Royal Army Corps.

Princess Elizabeth in the ATS

In early 1945 the Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth was made a Subaltern in the ATS.

By the end of the war she had reached the rank of Junior Commander, having completed her course at No. 1 Mechanical Training Centre of the ATS and passed out as a fully qualified driver.

Recruiting Poster

Mail from an ATS member

A letter written by Private Dorothy Gower stationed at Aldershot, dated March 1, 1945, to a Canadian soldier with the British Liberation Army in Europe.

Aldershot to Canadian Army Overseas, B.L.A., March 6, 1945
1 1/2d. military concession rate

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tonga : Niauaf'ou Island Tin Can Mail 

(Post 61)

Tonga is an  archipelago in in the South Pacific Ocean comprising 176 islands,  Since the tiny volcanic island of Niauaf'ou lacked a beach and a harbour, mail was originally transferred from passing ships via tin cans to swimmers who brought the mail ashore. In the 1930s, a swimmer was killed by a shark and the mail was then collected by outrigger canoe. Walter Quesnell of Tonga arranged to provide "Tin Can Mail" covers to passing ships and philatelists world-wide. It is reported that over one-half million letters were mailed during Quesnell's 27 years on Niuafo'ou. A volcanic eruption brought Quesnell's enterprise to an end in 1947. The island was completely evacuated and only re-populated in 1957.

Newport to Niuafo'ou, Tonga, March 8, 1944
2 1/2d. Imperial surface letter rate

Walter Quesnell applied several cachets to incoming mail

The writer of the enclosed letter requested price lists for philatelic items as well as novelties, shells, etc.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Censorship Memoranda
(Post No. 60)

As a result of war conditions, correspondence to foreign destinations was subject to the conditions laid down by the Censorship authorities. Items which did not comply with censorship regulations were returned to the senders with enclosed memoranda explaining why the item had not been despatched.
A few such censorship memoranda are shown in this post.

Memorandum P.C. 2 : Letters to be Short and Clearly Written
Memorandum P.C. 8 : Letters to Foreign Destinations to be Brief and Legible

Two memoranda were enclosed in the cover below mailed to Italy on September 29, 1939 and returned to the sender. The memoranda indicate that the letter, written in French, was too lengthy and not clearly written.

Southampton to Novara, Italy, September 29, 1932

Enclosed Memoranda

P.C. 2 (English and French text)

Letters are more likely to pass the Censor expeditiously if they are short and clearly written. La brievete et la lisibilite des lettres permetront a la Censure d'en assurer le controle minimum de retard.

P.C. 8

This letter is returned to the sender in accordance with the notice published in the Press that letters to foreign countries mus be brief and legible.

Memorandum P.C. 9 : Despatch of Picture Postcards

The despatch of illustrated items to certain countries was prohibited.

Enclosed Memorandum

P.C. 9

The despatch of snapshots, drawings and picture postcards, to certain countries is prohibited. The term 'picture postcards' includes cards bearing illustrations of localities or works, card photographs of persons or places, illustrated Christmas cards, and every kind of card which bears a pictorial illustration.

Memorandum P.C. 12 : Missing Enclosure

The first day cover below only contained a cardboard stuffer.

London to New York, March 9, 1942
First day cover, 2s. 6d. stamp
Cardboard stuffer was the only enclosure

The cover was examined by a censor who only found a plain piece of cardboard inside the envelope. In order to avoid charges of pilfering, memorandum P.C. 12 was enclosed in the envelope advising the addressee of the lack of contents. Additional instructions were provided such as contacting the sender to determine if the article had been enclosed.

P.C. 12

Enclosure mentioned...................................was missing when the letter was opened. Before making enquiries of the Post Office, please ascertain definitely from the sender of the letter whether the article in question was actually enclosed. If so, the sender should make enquiry at the Postal Administration of the country in which the letter was posted, mentioning that the enclosure was missing when the letter reached the British Censor. The cover of the letter, and if possible, such of its contents as were received, should accompany any communication to the Postal Administration. No compensation is given for the loss of the contents for or from a foreign country, unless the letter was insured (not merely registered) with the Post Office.

Memorandum P.C. 82 : Dispatch of Printed Matter and Postage Stamps by Private Individuals

Printed matter and postage stamps to certain countries could be dispatched only by those possessing the necessary Permit.

Cheltenham to Cove, Ireland, January 22, 1941
Returned because a permit was required to dispatch the letter

Enclosed Memorandum:

P.C. 82 (Original Version)

Postage by individuals of Christmas Cards, Greeting Cards of all kinds, Calendars, printed matter, literature for the blind, used or unused Postage Stamps addressed to certain Neutral countries is forbidden.
Such articles may be dispatched only by newsagents, stationers, dealers or booksellers possessing the necessary Permit. Individuals wishing to dispatch any of the above should therefore place their order with their newsagent, stationer, dealer or bookseller, together with a list of the names and addresses of those to whom the articles are to be sent.
Note: The censor struck out 'Neutral'

Memorandum P.C. 110 : Despatch of Adapted Re-Used Envelope

Re-used envelopes could not be used for despatch to certain countries.

Woodford to Kennebunk, U.S.A., August 5, 1942
Returned from Liverpool, August 8, 1942

Enclosed Memorandum

P.C. 110

This letter is returned to sender because no envelope which has already been used may be adapted for re-use for the despatch of a postal packet destined for the country to which this letter is addressed.

The censor may have objected to the use of the 'Officially Secure' tape to reinforce the re-used envelope.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WWII : Masonic Covers

(Post 59)

Two masonic covers mailed during World War II are the subject of this post.

1. Mourning Cover

The cover below was mailed on September 18, 1942 from the United Grand Lodge of England, London to the Grand Secretary of the Masonic Temple in Boston. The black border is characteristic of mourning covers, either announcing a death or offering condolences.

The stamp has the perforated initials U G / L for United Grand Lodge :

U G /L

2. The Masonic Service Association of U.S.A.

The Masonic Services Center opened in London, October 11, 1943. The center was a "home away from home" to build morale and perform special services for Masons and their families.

The cover below was mailed on March 7, 1945  from The Masonic Service Association of U.S.A. to the Grand Secretary of the Concord, New Hampshire Masonic lodge.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Royal Route

(Post 58)

In August 1847, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert holidayed in the West Highlands of Scotland. On their way to the Highlands, the Royal couple sailed on a barge from Ardrishaig on Loch Fyne to Crinan on Loch Linnhe via the 9 mile long Crinan Canal.

Loch Fyne

The Royal Barge Sunbeam towed on the Crinan Canal

Queen Victory was greeted at Ardrishaig pier with a floral arch with the words "Queen of Highland Hearts Welcome". The Royal party was taken through the village and boarded the Royal Barge Sunbeam for the two hour passage. At Crinan, the Queen boarded the Royal Yacht Victoria.

The Argyllshire Advertiser reported: "It was a beautiful morning when the Royal party came through-regular Queen's weather. When the Royal barge turned the first corner a throng of thousands saw it towed by six gaily caparisoned horses. Their riders, proud men ever after, were conspicuous in velvet caps, scarlet coats and white corduroy breeches, a dress in which they were allowed to disport themselves all season."

David MacBrayne Ltd. " The Royal Route"

David MacBrayne Ltd. , a Scottish steamer company formed in 1851, called its main service from Glasgow to Inverness " The Royal Route", following Queen Vicotria's patronage, because it included passage through the Crinan Canal which had been traversed by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1847.

The service was still called "The Royal Route" in 1937 when the cover below was mailed.

Glasgow & Highland Steamers David MacBrayne Ltd. corner card
Inverness to Washington, September 8, 1937

Saturday, April 23, 2011

WWII Correspondence to Sir Ernest Clark
Governor of Tasmania

(Post No. 57)

Sir Ernest Clark(1864 –1951) was a British civil servant who was Governor of Tasmania from 1933 to 1945. ( A detailed biography of Sir Ernest Clark has been posted at the online Australian Dictionary of Biography.)

Clark was enormously popular in Tasmania, especially because of his untiring visits to all parts of the state, encouraging morale during the war. Clark returned to England in 1945, and died there on August 26 1951. His remains were shipped to Tasmania for interment at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.

The cover below was mailed to Sir Ernest Clark, Government House, Tasmania from Carmarthen on November 5, 1941. The 1s. 3d. rate provided transmission by sea from Great Britain to South Africa, then by air to Australia. According to the docket written and signed in red ink by Ernest Clark, the letter was postmarked November 5, 1941 and received at Hobart on May 30, 1942.

Government House

Carmathan to Government House, Tasmania, November 5, 1941
1s.3d. air mail letter rate by sea to South Africa then Onward Air Transmission

Docket written and signed by Sir Ernest Clark

E. Clark Signature


Constitution Act 1934 signed by Sir Ernest Clark