‘COLOMBO’ 1862 The P.& O. Steamer ‘Colombo, whilst on a voyage between Australia and England, struck on Minicoy Island, the most southern of the Laccadives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean three hundred miles due west of the southern tip of India, at four o’clock in the morning of 19th November while encountering very heavy monsoon rain. Within a short time the ship was flooded, but all the passengers were safely
transferred by lifeboats to the island. They were subsequently rescued by the ‘Ottawa’ on the 30th November. 530 boxes of mail were recovered by divers, mostly over the next 5 weeks, but some were under water for 2 months. Covers emanating from this shipwreck are usually found in very poor condition. Many were so badly damaged that they had to be put in ‘ambulance’ covers and then forwarded to the recipient. All the mail received a boxed two line cachet “Saved from the wreck of / the Colombo” either in red or black ink. This is the first recorded cachet applied to Australasian wreck mail. There appeared to be four different cachets used, with small variances between them.This water damaged
mourning from Melbourne OC 21 to Mintlaw, Scotland arrived there on JA 2 63. The original letter accompanies the cover.