20th April 2021 - Zoom meeting - Open meeting

Back to an open meeting for our April Zoom gathering with six specific displays on some unusual and highly interesting subjects, several of which have had very little exposure before.  We had a total of 25 members join us for this event.

Our first display was a comprehensive display by Indian member Madhukar Jhingan of Indian Aerogrammes for both military and civil use from 1941 through to 1945.  The well illustrated display traces the story of a new postal product, the aerogramme, from its introduction initially exclusively for Indian troops in 1941 and throughout WW2 to 1944-1945 when it was made available for public at large in India.  Initially called the Air Mail Letter Card (AMLC) and later Air Letter, he explains the background to their introduction and use in other theatres and lists the many printings and variations in its design and production, including the many illustrated Christmas versions from 1942 onwards. 

Next to show was Scottish member Jim Mackay with a display headed “Bomber Mail”.  This was about the transfer of aircraft across the Atlantic to the UK from Canada and their use for the transfer of mail from Canada to the UK.  He showed various examples of such mail, many unstamped as it was official mail, some annotated “VIA TRANS-ATLANTIC BOMBER” and others with the cachet “VIA BOMBER MAIL” and were either official or diplomatic mail.  Non-diplomatic mail had to have postage paid.  He also showed a picture postcard to Takoradi sent via the South Atlantic Route and an autographed Ferry Command 40th Anniversary Reunion Dinner programme in 1980.

Then we had a display by Tony Plumbe on a topic for which very little has been written and material very scarce - Biafran Military Postal History and the Biafran War 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970.  For various complex reasons the Igpo peoples, whose territory lay in the Eastern Region of Nigeria declared independence and seceded from the state of Nigeria on 30 May 1967.  Thereafter the Biafran’s invaded mid-west and western Nigeria but were defeated and their territory slowly diminished until Biafra surrendered and on 15 January 1970 the conflict officially ended.  Mail is scarce and is usually addressed to priests, Tony showed examples of OAS military mail with various unit cachets, including FORCES FREE POSTAGE cachets, very, very scarce commando mail, recognised by skull and crossbones cachets as well as Biafran Air Force (BAF) and Biafran Navy mail, with the latter largely operating on the River Niger - in fact he showed the only two navy covers recorded.

Peter Stockton was next to display; he has an interest in French military mail and his showing represented a little known conflict - the Madagascar uprising of 1947, also known as the Malagasy uprising, which was a nationalist rebellion against French colonial rule and which lasted from March 1947 to February 1949.  This involved the French Foreign Legion, in particular a battalion from the 4e Demi-Brigade de Légion Etrangère (4e DBLE) which was based in Madagascar between 1947 and 1951.  The display included an introductory sheet and registered mail, including two covers sent by Le Chef de Bataillon (Commandant) Pierre Périn, mail from the Legion Engineers and three naval mail covers.  The majority of legionnaires left in December 1951 when they were sent to Indo-China.

Then it was the turn of Peter High who showed a selection of Italian hospital ship items in connection with the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12.  It sought to establish a colony in North Africa (in what is now Libya) which at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire.  He gave a background briefing on how hostilities began and the Ottoman response to the Italian invasion.  However, despite the signing of a peace treaty in October 1912 there was hostilities until the outbreak of WW1.  The display included postcards of the various ships involved or other picture postcards, showing cachets used by the vessels (these included the Albaro, Menfi, Regina Margherita, and several postcards from the Regina D’Italia).

Our last display was provided by Canadian member Harold Krische, who showed a selection of WW2 censored mail addressed to Emil Auer with an address of 16 Duerstein Street, Buffalo, New York.  He explained that he had managed to acquire some 200 items of mail sent to or from this address which operated as American Aid for German Prisoners of War.  However, once the Americans entered the war it was re-titled simply American Aid for War Prisoners.  It is interesting to note that Auer was also a stamp dealer.  Incoming mail included items from German POWs in Australia and Bermuda as well as incoming and outgoing mail to Jamaica as well as other items.  Lastly he showed a photo of Emil Auer in the 1980s as well as a photo of the house itself.

You can view the material displayed on our website by opening the following links: