Lanarkshire Philatelic Society




Mr. Robert Clark



There was a sense of wonderment at the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society on Friday evening (28th February) as members viewed the display presented by guest, Robert Clark of Stirling Philatelic Society. His subject was "The Development of Airmail from UK to Australasia between 1921 and 1942" and he presented a fantastic display of covers showing how the carrying of mail by plane was developed through the years.


He began with a cover showing the official first Airmail to mark the Coronation of King George V mail was carried from Hendon to Windsor and return.  From this humble beginning the carrying of mail by air grew apace. In 1921 the RAF carried mail from Cairo to Baghdad and by 1927 Imperial Airways had been formed and their route continued from Baghdad to Basra. Part of the route was by air to Port Said - then sea to Cairo - and then by air to Basra.



Our members viewing the display


In 1919 Ross and Keith Smith carried mail from the UK to Australia taking nearly a month to do so -and it was not until 1934 that a weekly mail service began this flight took some 12 days. Three airlines working together completed the route Imperial Airways, TransContinental Airways and Qantas Empire Airways. The mail was sent from the UK to Karachi and on to Singapore where Qantas then took it on to Brisbane via Darwin.


There were many covers displayed showing the way the routes were extended to cover Palestine, Cyprus, Rangoon. Other covers showed how the US brought in airmail cover to Australia and New Zealand. Covers showing how other parts of the world were served by airmail.


Conditions in world politics caused changes in 1932 Imperial Airways made a change from the Persian to the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf. Changes to routes were necessary to meet the circumstances imposed by War. 


Other covers were rescued from crashed aircraft. Sunken aircraft. Burnt out aircraft. All in all this was a truly fascinating display.


Alan Rushworth led members in giving warm thanks to Stewart Robert Clark for showing such a display of wonderful covers and for giving an interesting running commentary .


Our next meeting, which will be the last of the current session, is in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, & is on Friday, 27th March, 2020, at 7:30pm when members will either give an 8 sheet display or pay 50p!


Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.