Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Borders Philatelic Society
The Guest speakers to the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society last Friday (4th) took members for both an air and a sea trip at their meeting!
Mavis Pavey of Innerleithen and Bob Robertson of Melrose - both members of the Border Philatelic Society - were the guests.
Mavis set off the evening with her wonderful display of "French Naval Mail". Floating Post Offices were opened in October 1915 on the French supply ships "Numidia" and "Italia’". These served where there were no land Post Offices available. There were many postcards and covers displayed and these showed the Postmarks used on board these ships.
Naval Post Offices were also opened on land - eg Salonica; Toulon; Corfu; Constantinople - these served naval personnel when in these ports. Many postmarks were displayed from these Post Offices. Various hospital ships also had a Post Office on board - "France IV" - which had 2,500 beds - was one among others. Covers and postcards postmarked on board - and also at the land Post offices mentioned, made most interesting display. However, during World War II, it was essential that the enemy could not identify the position, nor the name of the ship mail was sent from so the postmark had only the words "POSTE NAVALLE" within it. The mail from war Internees was censored and sent to addresses around the world via the Naval Post Office ships.
After the break Bob Robertson took to the air and gave an excellent display of "Dutch Air Mails". He concentrated on the special flights to carry mail from Holland to the Dutch East Indies. To begin with- in 1931 - mail was carried in KLM Fokker F-XVIII passenger planes with triangular stamps, issued by both the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies, to cover the airmail surcharge. These stamps were beautifully displayed. In December 1933 KLM agreed to mail only flights by Postjager plane. A special Christmas Mail flight was made on 18th December 1933 - this started with Postjager, but, after engine failure, the mail was carried by Fokker again and the mail reached its destination in time. There were many stamps, covers and postcards showing the development - and disasters - of the airmail flights to the Dutch East Indies through the years.
Another display showed the MacRobertson Air Race - from London to Melbourne in 1934. Some 20 planes took off and 1 - entered by KLM with a Dutch crew - a Douglas DC2 - "Uiver" - became hopelessly lost in a thunderstorm over Australia. The people of Albury, NSW used their car lights to form a runway and so guided the aircraft safely down. It was stuck in mud and the men of the town manfully tugged it out - and it was enabled to continue its flight! - and won the handicap section of the race. On 20th December, 1934 it fatally crashed in Iraq in bad weather. The covers prepared for this special Christmas flight were carried on by other KLM planes.
George Jamieson led Members in giving thanks for such variable and interesting displays.
Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is this Friday, 25th April, at 7:30pm when Derek Wiltshire will display "Belgian Congo".
Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.