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British Commonwealth Postal History
Shipwreck & Train Crash Mail
Unusual Postal Incidents
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1939 India - 1939 censored picture post card (Calcutta street scene) sent air mail to Holland franked with a 4As cancelled CALCUTTA G.P.O. 4 SEP 39. A good strike of the Morenweiser Type 4 censor handstamp 14 PASSED / FOR /  TRANSMISSION in violet is on the front of the card, that has a red crayon censors initials at the upper left. Fine and a very early censor as War had only been declared three days earlier.
1939 India
1939 censored picture post card (Calcutta street scene) sent air mail to Holland franked with a 4As cancelled CALCUTTA G.P.O. 4 SEP 39. A good strike of the Morenweiser Type 4 censor handstamp '14' PASSED / FOR / TRANSMISSION in violet is on the front of the card, that has a red crayon censors initials at the upper left. Fine and a very early censor as War had only been declared three days earlier.
£120.00
Reference: K3110

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1941 India - Tibet - 1941 censored envelope to the USA bearing a 3A6ps cancelled YATUNG – TIBET VIA SILIGURI 22 AU 41. Brown censor tape is on the left of the cover. Yatung is near the head of the Chumbi Valley on the main route between Lhasa and India. An uncommon canceller.
1941 India - Tibet
1941 censored envelope to the USA bearing a 3A6ps cancelled YATUNG – TIBET VIA SILIGURI 22 AU 41. Brown censor tape is on the left of the cover. Yatung is near the head of the Chumbi Valley on the main route between Lhasa and India. An uncommon canceller.
£150.00
Reference: K2960

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1915 India ship Incident - 1915 envelope to London franked with a pair of ½ Annas, cancelled NAINI-TAL 22 JLY 15. A boxed violet two line cachet DAMAGED BY IMMERSION / IN SEA WATER has been applied to the front of the cover. On the back is a London AUG 12 15 arrival datestamp. This is one of two covers known from this incident, both being from India. The cachet would have been applied in England on arrival, but nothing is known as to what happened to warrant this cachet, particularly as it was a wartime incident. A scarce cover.
1915 India ship Incident
1915 envelope to London franked with a pair of ½ Annas, cancelled NAINI-TAL 22 JLY 15. A boxed violet two line cachet 'DAMAGED BY IMMERSION / IN SEA WATER' has been applied to the front of the cover. On the back is a London AUG 12 15 arrival datestamp. This is one of two covers known from this incident, both being from India. The cachet would have been applied in England on arrival, but nothing is known as to what happened to warrant this cachet, particularly as it was a wartime incident. A scarce cover.
£395.00
Reference: K2889

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1874 India - 1874 “Finlay, Scott and Cos East India Price Current” folded entire to Holland, endorsed Via Brindisi, franked with a 2a and an 8p, which would have paid the unsealed letter rate to a non Commonwealth country, cancelled by BOMBAY 9 FE 74 duplex cancellers. An Amsterdam arrival c.d.s. is on the back. This entire would have travelled on the P&O “Hindustan” from Bombay to Suez and then on the P&O “Simla” from Alexandria to Brindisi. Fine and uncommon.
1874 India
1874 “Finlay, Scott and Co's East India Price Current” folded entire to Holland, endorsed 'Via Brindisi', franked with a 2a and an 8p, which would have paid the unsealed letter rate to a non Commonwealth country, cancelled by BOMBAY 9 FE 74 duplex cancellers. An Amsterdam arrival c.d.s. is on the back. This entire would have travelled on the P&O “Hindustan” from Bombay to Suez and then on the P&O “Simla” from Alexandria to Brindisi. Fine and uncommon.
£250.00
Reference: K2811

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 1895 India - 1895 2A registered envelope, insured to Bombay, additionally franked with an 8A, a pair of 1R and a 1A cancelled SAUGOR 26 JU 95. A Bombay 28 JU is on the back of the cover. A partial manuscript marking indicates the letter was insured, which would account for the high franking.
1895 India
1895 2A registered envelope, insured to Bombay, additionally franked with an 8A, a pair of 1R and a 1A cancelled SAUGOR 26 JU 95. A Bombay 28 JU is on the back of the cover. A partial manuscript marking indicates the letter was insured, which would account for the high franking.
£190.00
Reference: K2734

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1855 India - 1855 envelope to Bombay franked with a 1 Anna dull red, Die II, (S.G. 14) tied by a barred diamond 17 numeral canceller. On the back is a red boxed SURAT 1855 DEC 22 Paid handstamp and a Bombay DE 31 arrival c.d.s. Very fine.
1855 India
1855 envelope to Bombay franked with a 1 Anna dull red, Die II, (S.G. 14) tied by a barred diamond '17' numeral canceller. On the back is a red boxed' SURAT 1855 DEC 22 Paid' handstamp and a Bombay DE 31 arrival c.d.s. Very fine.
£390.00
Reference: K2725

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1951 India train fire - Train Fire. 1951 incoming envelope from Dundee, Scotland, that has scorch marks at the edges and a magenta boxed cachet “SALVAGED FGN MAILS. / FIRE ACCIDENT – GALUDIH R. S. / 10. 12. 51.” on the front. A railway wagon carrying foreign mails for Calcutta and Dacca that had arrived at Bombay on the S.S. Corfu on December 3 was destroyed by fire at Galudih railway station on December 10. The majority of the mails were destroyed in the fire. A Calcutta 21 DEC 51 arrival datestamp is on the back of the cover. This cover, which is illustrated in Hoggarth and Gwynns Railway Disaster Mail book, is believed one of only three known from this incident. A very rare India train incident cover.
1951 India train fire
Train Fire. 1951 incoming envelope from Dundee, Scotland, that has scorch marks at the edges and a magenta boxed cachet “SALVAGED FGN MAILS. / FIRE ACCIDENT – GALUDIH R. S. / 10. 12. 51.” on the front. A railway wagon carrying foreign mails for Calcutta and Dacca that had arrived at Bombay on the S.S. Corfu on December 3 was destroyed by fire at Galudih railway station on December 10. The majority of the mails were destroyed in the fire. A Calcutta 21 DEC 51 arrival datestamp is on the back of the cover. This cover, which is illustrated in Hoggarth and Gwynn's 'Railway Disaster Mail' book, is believed one of only three known from this incident. A very rare India train incident cover.
£675.00
Reference: K2694

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1935 Quetta Earthquake - 1935 QUETTA EARTHQUAKE.  1935 unfranked envelope to Yorkshire, endorsed at the lower left corner Earthquake Area and with a fine strike of the scarce violet two line QUETTA EARTHQUAKE, / POSTAGE FREE. cachet. A Quetta backstamp 11 JU is on the back of the cover. The earthquake occurred on 31 May 1935 between 2:33 am and 3:40 am at Quetta, Balochistan, India, (now part of Pakistan). The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale and anywhere between 30,000 and 60,000 people died from the impact. A good strike of this scarce canceller.
1935 Quetta Earthquake
1935 QUETTA EARTHQUAKE. 1935 unfranked envelope to Yorkshire, endorsed at the lower left corner 'Earthquake Area' and with a fine strike of the scarce violet two line 'QUETTA EARTHQUAKE, / POSTAGE FREE.' cachet. A Quetta backstamp 11 JU is on the back of the cover. The earthquake occurred on 31 May 1935 between 2:33 am and 3:40 am at Quetta, Balochistan, India, (now part of Pakistan). The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale and anywhere between 30,000 and 60,000 people died from the impact. A good strike of this scarce canceller.
£390.00
Reference: K2605

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1902 Boer War - 902 envelope to the Wentworth Burgher Camp, Natal, bearing an O.H.M.S.1 Anna cancelled SHAHJAHANPUR 27 OC 02. Even though the War had been over for some time, it still received a violet PASSED CENSOR cachet from the Shahjahanpur P.O.W. Camp. An “UNKNOWN” handstamp is on the front of the cover, on the back are Johannesburg NO 14, Durban NO 18 and a number of 1903 Returned or Dead Letter Office cancels.
1902 Boer War - 902 envelope to the Wentworth Burgher Camp, Natal, bearing an O.H.M.S.1 Anna cancelled SHAHJAHANPUR 27 OC 02. Even though the War had been over for some time, it still received a violet PASSED CENSOR cachet from the Shahjahanpur P.O.W. Camp. An “UNKNOWN” handstamp is on the front of the cover, on the back are Johannesburg NO 14, Durban NO 18 and a number of 1903 Returned or Dead Letter Office cancels.
1902 Boer War
902 envelope to the Wentworth Burgher Camp, Natal, bearing an O.H.M.S.1 Anna cancelled SHAHJAHANPUR 27 OC 02. Even though the War had been over for some time, it still received a violet PASSED CENSOR cachet from the Shahjahanpur P.O.W. Camp. An “UNKNOWN” handstamp is on the front of the cover, on the back are Johannesburg NO 14, Durban NO 18 and a number of 1903 Returned or Dead Letter Office cancels.
£650.00
Reference: K2602

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1902 Boer War - 1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India” No. II (large lettering in the No. II, but curved first I and wider spacing between the lines under No.)  illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 15 MY 02.  Two oval triple ring CENSORS STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachets are on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Weingartner 31 MAI 02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. It would appear as though there were at least three printings of this No. II card. Besides the differences mentioned regarding the No. II, it is also in a deeper purple colour than the others and there is different P in Prisoner, W in War and U in Umballa . A scarce card.
1902 Boer War - 1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India” No. II (large lettering in the No. II, but curved first I and wider spacing between the lines under No.)  illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 15 MY 02.  Two oval triple ring CENSORS STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachets are on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Weingartner 31 MAI 02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. It would appear as though there were at least three printings of this No. II card. Besides the differences mentioned regarding the No. II, it is also in a deeper purple colour than the others and there is different P in Prisoner, W in War and U in Umballa . A scarce card.
1902 Boer War
1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India” 'No. II' (large lettering in the No. II, but curved first 'I' and wider spacing between the lines under 'No.') illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 15 MY 02. Two oval triple ring CENSOR'S STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachets are on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Weingartner 31 MAI 02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. It would appear as though there were at least three printings of this 'No. II' card. Besides the differences mentioned regarding the 'No. II', it is also in a deeper purple colour than the others and there is different 'P' in 'Prisoner', 'W' in 'War' and 'U' in 'Umballa' . A scarce card.
£475.00
Reference: K2575

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1902 Boer War - 1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India”No. II (large lettering in the No. II)  illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 5 MY 02.  An oval triple ring CENSORS STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachet is on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Hanover 31.5.02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
1902 Boer War - 1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India”No. II (large lettering in the No. II)  illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 5 MY 02.  An oval triple ring CENSORS STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachet is on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Hanover 31.5.02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
1902 Boer War
1902 “Greetings from the Boer – Prisoner of War Camp, Umballa, India”'No. II' (large lettering in the No. II) illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled DAGSHAI 5 MY 02. An oval triple ring CENSOR'S STAMP / PASSED CENSOR / BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON. cachet is on the front of the cover, along with a Sea Post Office MY 17 and Hanover 31.5.02 transit and arrival cancels. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
£475.00
Reference: K2590

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1902 Boer War - 1902 “Umballa” Boer Prisoners of War Camp No. II (No. II in small lettering) illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled UMBALLA 12 MR 02. A triangular UMBALLA, PASSED CENSOR, C van der Spuy cachet is on the front of the card. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
1902 Boer War - 1902 “Umballa” Boer Prisoners of War Camp No. II (No. II in small lettering) illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled UMBALLA 12 MR 02. A triangular UMBALLA, PASSED CENSOR, C van der Spuy cachet is on the front of the card. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
1902 Boer War
1902 “Umballa” Boer Prisoners of War Camp 'No. II' (No. II in small lettering) illustrated post card to Germany, franked with a ½Anna and two 1Annas cancelled UMBALLA 12 MR 02. A triangular 'UMBALLA, PASSED CENSOR, C van der Spuy' cachet is on the front of the card. Although these cards depicted Umballa camp scenes, they were actually produced at Topa. A very fine example of this card.
£475.00
Reference: K2589

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1902 Boer War - 1902 Boer picture post card No.3 depicting life in the camp at Umballa, sent to Germany,franked with two different 3 Pies and a ½ Anna cancelled DAGSHAI 21 MY 02. A triple oval CENSORS STAMP PASSED CENSOR, BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON cachet is on the front of the card along with a Woerrstadt arrival c.d.s. These postcards were produced by the Boers at Topa.
1902 Boer War - 1902 Boer picture post card No.3 depicting life in the camp at Umballa, sent to Germany,franked with two different 3 Pies and a ½ Anna cancelled DAGSHAI 21 MY 02. A triple oval CENSORS STAMP PASSED CENSOR, BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON cachet is on the front of the card along with a Woerrstadt arrival c.d.s. These postcards were produced by the Boers at Topa.
1902 Boer War
1902 Boer picture post card 'No.3' depicting life in the camp at Umballa, sent to Germany,franked with two different 3 Pies and a ½ Anna cancelled DAGSHAI 21 MY 02. A triple oval 'CENSOR'S STAMP PASSED CENSOR, BOER CAMP, DAGSHAI & SOLON' cachet is on the front of the card along with a Woerrstadt arrival c.d.s. These postcards were produced by the Boers at Topa.
£475.00
Reference: K2579

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India 1892 - 1892 O. H. M. S. envelope to Holland franked with a 4A and 1A officials cancelled PARK STREET CALCUTTA 22 FEB 92. On the back are Sea Post Office B and Sgravenhage transit and arrival cancels.
India 1892
1892 O. H. M. S. envelope to Holland franked with a 4A and 1A officials cancelled PARK STREET CALCUTTA 22 FEB 92. On the back are Sea Post Office 'B' and Sgravenhage transit and arrival cancels.
£75.00
Reference: K2435

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1941 India - 1941 registered and censored parcel label bearing a 2 Rs, a pair of 2 As and a ½ Anna. Tied KARACHI CITY 13 NO 41. On the reverse is a Karachi City registration label and an OPENED BY CENSOR tape, that has been tied by a triangular censor strike. A most unusual item !
1941 India - 1941 registered and censored parcel label bearing a 2 Rs, a pair of 2 As and a ½ Anna. Tied KARACHI CITY 13 NO 41. On the reverse is a Karachi City registration label and an OPENED BY CENSOR tape, that has been tied by a triangular censor strike. A most unusual item !
1941 India
1941 registered and censored parcel label bearing a 2 Rs, a pair of 2 As and a ½ Anna. Tied KARACHI CITY 13 NO 41. On the reverse is a Karachi City registration label and an 'OPENED BY CENSOR' tape, that has been tied by a triangular censor strike. A most unusual item !
£95.00
Reference: K1784

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1943 India - 1943 air letter to England bearing a 4As stamp tied by the scarce GROUP TWO PRISONER OF WAR CAMP 6 canceller, dated 13 MAR 1943. Written by a Sergeant at this P.O.W. camp, it has censor tape and censor handstamps on the reverse.
1943 India
1943 air letter to England bearing a 4As stamp tied by the scarce GROUP TWO PRISONER OF WAR CAMP 6 canceller, dated 13 MAR 1943. Written by a Sergeant at this P.O.W. camp, it has censor tape and censor handstamps on the reverse.
£65.00
Reference: G2438

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1858 Ava shipwreck - ‘AVA’ 1858. The P. & O. Steamer ‘Ava’ had been chartered by the Government to take treasure from Madras, India, to Trincomalee, Ceylon. She was also carrying passengers and post. At 4 p.m.on on the 15th February she sailed from Madras, and the following afternoon, the 16th February, the captain, seeing a light and houses on the shore, believed he was approaching Trincomalee harbour. He altered course towards the land, and shortly after, without any warning, struck unseen rocks. He was in fact, seventy nine miles from Trincomalee harbour.The seventy passengers were put into boats and navigated to Trincomalee, arriving there the following afternoon. The ‘Ava’ meanwhile broke her back and sank, becoming a total loss. The mail was submerged and was only salvaged six weeks later. This battered envelope from India to Bray, Ireland, has most of the Saved from the wreck / of the Aaa. A small part is missing from the loss of the flap. It is addressed by Donald Stewart, later C-in-C in India. Ex Hopkins and described by him on page 13 of his book.
1858 Ava shipwreck
‘AVA’ 1858. The P. & O. Steamer ‘Ava’ had been chartered by the Government to take treasure from Madras, India, to Trincomalee, Ceylon. She was also carrying passengers and post. At 4 p.m.on on the 15th February she sailed from Madras, and the following afternoon, the 16th February, the captain, seeing a light and houses on the shore, believed he was approaching Trincomalee harbour. He altered course towards the land, and shortly after, without any warning, struck unseen rocks. He was in fact, seventy nine miles from Trincomalee harbour.The seventy passengers were put into boats and navigated to Trincomalee, arriving there the following afternoon. The ‘Ava’ meanwhile broke her back and sank, becoming a total loss. The mail was submerged and was only salvaged six weeks later. This battered envelope from India to Bray, Ireland, has most of the 'Saved from the wreck / of the Aaa'. A small part is missing from the loss of the flap. It is addressed by Donald Stewart, later C-in-C in India. Ex Hopkins and described by him on page 13 of his book.
£450.00
Reference: C1520

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1867 - 1867 folded letter to London, endorsed ‘Via Marseille’, bearing a 6p, a 2a and a 4a, neatly tied by BOMBAY INDIA PAID AP 13 67 number “1” duplexes. A London MY 6 67 arrival c.d.s. is on the front. Attractive !!
1867
1867 folded letter to London, endorsed ‘Via Marseille’, bearing a 6p, a 2a and a 4a, neatly tied by BOMBAY INDIA PAID AP 13 67 number “1” duplexes. A London MY 6 67 arrival c.d.s. is on the front. Attractive !!
£145.00
Reference: K1177

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1866 - 1866 envelope to London bearing an 8 pies, 2A and 6A, (SG 44, 47 & 51) tied by blue B1 numerals with a CALCUTTA INDIA PAID MY 2 66 backstamp  A London JY 4 66 arrival c.d.s. is on the front of the cover. Fine.
1866
1866 envelope to London bearing an 8 pies, 2A and 6A, (SG 44, 47 & 51) tied by blue B1 numerals with a CALCUTTA INDIA PAID MY 2 66 backstamp A London JY 4 66 arrival c.d.s. is on the front of the cover. Fine.
£165.00
Reference: K1283

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1924 - 1924 Mt Everest Expedition picture post card of  Mount Everest from the Base Camp, with a 1½ Anna stamp tied by a CALCUTTA BRITISH EMPIRE EXHIBITION 16 OCT 1924 roller cancel. There are two Mount Everest Expedition stamps on the face of the card, the upper one tied by a red Expedition Rongbuk Glacier Base Camp handstamp. Fine.
1924
1924 Mt Everest Expedition picture post card of Mount Everest from the Base Camp, with a 1½ Anna stamp tied by a CALCUTTA BRITISH EMPIRE EXHIBITION 16 OCT 1924 roller cancel. There are two Mount Everest Expedition stamps on the face of the card, the upper one tied by a red Expedition Rongbuk Glacier Base Camp handstamp. Fine.
£175.00
Reference: K0941

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