Showing items in category Shipwrecks, newest first
|1863 Ship Incident|
A cover from Salisbury, England, posted on December 18 1863 to Hobart, Tasmania, that was delayed due to a broken shaft in the Indian Ocean near Galle, Ceylon. The cover was on the 'Poonah', that sailed from Southampton on 20 December arriving Alexandria 3 January 1864. From there it went on the 'Candia' which had engine failure 120 miles from Galle. Initially it travelled by oar and sail but was taken in tow by the 'Emeu' and arrived at Galle on 22 January. The mail was transferred to the 'Northam' that sailed on 22 January, arriving Melbourne 12 February 1864. A red boxed 'SHIP – LETTER – INWARDS, FREE 15 FE 1864' handstamp was applied to the front of the cover. An interesting cover to Tasmania.
|1869 Carnatic shipwreck |
“CARNATIC” 1869. The P. & O. steamer ‘Carnatic’ left Suez on her way to Bombay on Sunday, September 12th, 1869 with two hundred and thirty passengers and crew on board. At one o’clock on the morning of the 13th, the ship struck on a coral reef off the Island of Shadwan, at the mouth of the Gulf of Suez. At daybreak it was seen that the ship was about three miles from the island, and the reef on which she lay was about four feet under water at high tide. It was decided that a second night would be spent on board by the passengers. The following morning, the 14th, boats were lowered with women and children on board. At 10.50 a.m. the ship suddenly broke in two, and in the confusion twenty seven people were drowned. The survivors managed to drag the ship’s boats across the reef and made it to the island, from where they were rescued by another P. & O. liner, the Sumatra. The ‘Carnatic’ was carrying a large consignment of specie, to the value of forty thousand pounds. Divers managed to salvage the majority of this. The mail was salvaged by divers on the 24th October, having been under water for six weeks. The mail, all of which had been extensively damaged, received a cachet on a printed label ‘Recovered from wreck of the “Carnatic”.’ This cover from London dated AU 28 69 has various transit cancels before arriving on November 15 1869.
|1899 Morgan City shipwreck|
S. S. MORGAN CITY 1899 The Morgan City was a chartered troopship that left San Francisco on 10 August 1899, carrying 724 troops for the Spanish-American war in the Philippines. The ship struck a rock off Innosimo, Japan, near Nagasaki on 4 September and the ship was beached with all crew and troops saved. The ship was a total wreck and shortly after became covered in mud, with the upper decks being carried away in a gale. The mail was recovered by divers but much of it was very badly damaged and today, less than 10 covers are known from the 200 bags of mail the ship was carrying. This cover is an ambulance cover that must have carried one of the letters on board. It was sent to Oakland, CA then forwarded on to South Bend, Indiana, and then on to Kansas City, Kansas. It has the official cachet 'DAMAGED mail / off S. S. Morgan City / Manila P. I., 9-30, 99,' that was applied to all the mail salvaged from this wreck. Presumably the enclosed letter had been badly damaged and the Rev Stephen Wood had already returned to the U.S. This is the only known official Philippines Department of Posts ambulance cover known with this cachet. A very rare cover from this incident.
|1908 "Finance" Shipwreck|
“FINANCE” On the morning of 26 November 1908, the steamer Finance of the Panama Railroad Steamship Company line was hit by the steamer “Georgic” of the White Star line off Sandy Hook in New York Harbour and sank shortly after. The Finance had been due to sail from New York on November 23 but had been delayed by dense fog for three days. Three passengers and 1 crewman drowned in the incident. All the mail on board was destined for Central America – mainly Panama and Colon. There are two different labels and a straight line handstamp that were applied to recovered mails. The handstamp was applied to a sack of mail recovered the following June, seven months after the Finance sank. This cover from Philadelphia, which has the original letter with it, was addressed to Panama, but then redirected to Costa Rica. It has a label affixed to the back which is tied by a LIMON, COSTA RICA DEC 30 1908 datestamp. Very scarce with the original contents.
|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.
|1943 City of Baroda shipwreck|
“CITY OF BARODA” 1943. The 7,129 British steamship ‘City Of Baroda’ was built in 1918 and owned by the Ellerman Lines Ltd. London. On April 2nd, 1943, she was torpedoed by a German submarine, U509, and sunk near Luderitz, South West Africa whilst sailing from England to Cape Town, South Africa, via Trinidad and Walfish Bay. One of her crew and thirteen passengers were lost. The mail, it would appear, was first burnt in the fire on board, and then damaged by sea water. This cover to Bloemfontein has a part of the back missing, but has the senders name and address on the flap. It has a two line cachet 'RECEIVED DAMAGED / BY SEA WATER' that was presumably applied in Cape Town. The normal cachet was a bilingual one, and this cachet in English only is scarce, being one of only three known.
|1942 Samoa Ship Incident|
1942 censored envelope to Scotland that was involved in a maritime incident. A violet straight line 'DAMAGED AT SEA' cachet is across the front of the cover and partially ties the stamp. Besides being censored in New Zealand and the U.K. And resealed with censor tape, it also has had 'Found Open or Damaged and Officially Secured' tape affixed to the base of the cover. Hoggarth and Gwynn record two covers known, both from New Zealand, and that the incident happened in December 1942. This is the third cover recorded and the only one out of Samoa. The incident, of which there are no details known as it was a wartime incident, must have happened after it left New Zealand. Very scarce.
|1899 'Chicago' shipwreck|
The Pennsylvania Rail Road Ferryboat ‘Chicago’, whilst bound from Jersey City to New York, sank in the Hudson River after a collision with the steamer ‘City of Augusta’ at midnight on 30/31 October 1899. The ‘Chicago’ was subsequently raised on the 6 December. All the mail was salvaged and was delivered within a couple of days of the disaster occurring. However, as it appeared that all the mail had been damaged by water to a greater or lesser extent and the adhesives had floated off, a label was affixed to covers by the New York Postmaster stating; POST OFFICE, NEW YORK, N.Y. This piece of mail was damaged through the sinking of the Penn R.R. ferryboat “Chicago” which occurred at about 12.45 a.m. on October 31st 1899. CORNELIUS VAN COTT, Postmaster. This envelope was sent from New Jersey to New York. The stamp has been washed off. This is the cover illustrated on page 104 in Maritime Disaster Mail by Hoggarth and Gwynn.
|1886 "Oregon" shipwreck|
S.S. “OREGON” 1886. In the early hours of March 14 1886, the steam ship ‘Oregon’, a 7500 ton liner of the Cunard Line, was in a collision with the American schooner Charles H.Morse twenty six miles south east of Fire Island, New York Bay. She had sailed from Liverpool early that month with six hundred and forty one passengers and a crew of two hundred and fifty five, her destination being New York. The watertight doors of the ‘Oregon’ were blocked with coal dust and would not close and the vessel soon flooded and sank. Fortunately the North German Lloyd liner ‘Fulda’ arrived in time to save all on board and also a portion of the 598 bags of mail she was carrying. Other mailbags were washed up along the coast between Portland and Cape Hatteras. In total, 464 mailbags were recovered. The Charles H Morse is believed to have sunk with all hands. All the salvaged mail received a printed label, usually applied to the back of the cover. There are a number of different type settings and dates known. This post card from Switzerland has a label dated July 6th 1886.
|1899 Wreck of the 'Chicago'|
1899 WRECK OF THE 'CHICAGO'. The Pennsylvania Rail Road Ferryboat ‘Chicago’, whilst bound from Jersey City to New York, sank in the Hudson River after a collision with the steamer ‘City of Augusta’ at midnight on 30/31 October 1899. The ‘Chicago’ was subsequently raised on the 6 December. All the mail was salvaged and was delivered within a couple of days of the disaster occurring. However, as it appeared that all the mail had been damaged by water to a greater or lesser extent and the adhesives had floated off, labels was affixed to covers by the New York Postmaster. There were three different types of label used, this one believed locally and individually typed in Hoboken. (Hoggarth & Gwynn type 1) A fine example of this uncommon shipwreck, of which less than 20 covers are known and less than 5 with this label.
|1899 Wreck of the 'Chicago'.|
1899 WRECK OF THE 'CHICAGO'. The Pennsylvania Rail Road Ferryboat ‘Chicago’, whilst bound from Jersey City to New York, sank in the Hudson River after a collision with the steamer ‘City of Augusta’ at midnight on 30/31 October 1899. The ‘Chicago’ was subsequently raised on the 6 December. All the mail was salvaged and was delivered within a couple of days of the disaster occurring. However, as it appeared that all the mail had been damaged by water to a greater or lesser extent and the adhesives had floated off, labels was affixed to covers by the New York Postmaster. There were three different types of label used, this one a stylographic printing. (Hoggarth & Gwynn type 3) A fine example of this uncommon shipwreck, of which less than 20 covers are known and less than 7 with this label.
|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.
|1918 Hong Kong|
1918 censored water damaged envelope from Portugal to Macau, with the stamps washed off, and with a 'CENSURA No. 36' circular censor strike. A Lisboa 8. 2. 18. datestamp is on the back along with a very fine strike of the rare boxed 'RECEIVED DAMAGED / AT HONG KONG' cachet. In all probability this letter was on the S S ANDRE LEBON which sailed from Marseille on March 3 1918. Due to increased German U Boat activity in the Mediterranean between December 1917 and March 1918, very few large merchant vessels were allowed to sail by the Allies, hence the delay from the posting in Lisbon. On 7 April she dragged her anchor during a heavy squall and grounded on a coral patch near Sultan Shoal at Singapore. It remained there until 19 April, when it was bought into port and the mails offloaded. A wonderful cover with a really rare Hong Kong cachet, which predates Proud's dates by nearly four years.
|1952 Gilbert & Ellice Islands / Ship incident|
1952 envelope to the USA bearing a 5d cancelled TARAWA that has a two line cachet 'DAMAGED BY WATER' that has been applied at Melbourne. Nothing is known about the incident but the cachet is identical to those used on mail passing through Melbourne where incidents have occurred in October 1951, May 1959, February 1960 (Thala Dan) and April 1961 and this same cachet was applied. A fine and scarce item.
|1923 S S Douglas|
Early on the morning of 16 August 1923, the 774 ton Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. steamer Douglas was sailing from Liverpool to Douglas, Isle of Man, when she was in a collision with the 5731 ton Artemisia off Brunswick Dock in the River Mersea. The Douglas was badly damaged and sank, but all crew and passengers were saved. It was reported that one bag of mail had been washed up on August 18. This post card from Scarborough (15 AUG) has a straight line violet ‘DAMAGED BY SEA WATER’ cachet, applied at Liverpool. This differs from the cachet illustrated in Hoggarth & Gwynn, but as the reference they used was from Hopkins, then it is quite possible that it is wrong. This is probably the rarest of shipwrecks from around the British coast with only two or three items recorded.
On 18th August 1930, whilst en route from Wellington, New Zealand, to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, the British steamer ‘Tahiti’ was abandoned at 2.28 a.m. after a broken propeller had caused a rent, and water flooded the hold. The steamers Ventura and Penybryn, which had come to render assistance, took on board the passengers and crew of the ‘Tahiti’ and the majority of the letter mail. Nine bags were lost, as was the entire one hundred and thirty nine bags of newspapers, packages and parcel mail when the ship sank at 4.42 p.m. on the same day. Of the salvaged bags, fifty were wetted by seawater. This picture post card from New Zealand to Austria, franked with a ½d stamp, has the Hoggarth and Gwynn Type 5 two line cachet, “DAMAGED BY SEA / WATER”. This is one of the more uncommon cachets.
“ JEBBA ” 1907. The steam ship ‘Jebba’, a vessel of three thousand eight hundred and thirteen tons, belonging to the African Steam Ship Company, whilst on her homeward voyage from west Africa, ran ashore on Bolt Tail, a few miles west of Salcombe, Devon, in dense fog on 18th March. Although the vessel was a total loss, all the passengers and mail were taken off safely. All the mail received a two line hand stamp in violet saying ‘SALVED FROM / S S JEBBA.’ There were a number of different hand stamps that were applied to the mail, the main difference being in the different type and the spacing of the letters. This cover from Southern Nigeria has the Hoggarth & Gwynn ‘Jebba type 2b’ cachet.
S. S. FORT VICTORIA 1929. At 4.30 p.m. on 18 December 1929 the Bermuda and West Indies Steam Ship Company steamer Fort Victoria was rammed by the American steamer Algonquin off Sandy Hook, New York, in thick fog. She sank about 7.30 p.m. without loss of passengers or crew. Recovered mail received a label, applied to the back of the envelopes. There are two different types, the one with the number 1000 at the lower left, the other with the number 3000. This cover from Boston to Bermuda has the 3000 number label.
S S KALYAN 1921. A severe gale in the eastern Mediterranean around April 12 1921 caused havoc with shipping in the area. The Kalyan had a large quantity of sea water get into her holds and the mail was badly damaged, which was only noticed when it was offloaded in Marseille on April 18. Various cachets in English, French and German were applied, depending on where the letter was going to. This envelope, addressed to Switzerland, has a two line violet cachet ‘ACCIDENT en MER / COURRIER INONDE’ applied to the back of the envelope.
S S KALYAN 1921 A severe gale in the eastern Mediterranean around April 12 1921 caused havoc with shipping in the area. The Kalyan had a large quantity of sea water get into her holds and the mail was badly damaged, which was only noticed when it was offloaded in Marseille on April 18. Various cachets in English, French and German were applied, depending on where the letter was going to. This envelope, addressed to Paris, has the French two line cachet ‘ACCIDENT EN MER / CORRESPONDANCE INNONDEE’