Today in Postal History


Denmark to Finland
March 1, 1940

This censored cover was sent from Harndrup on Fyn Island.
Harndrup is about 30 km west northwest of Odense.

The addressee was H. C. Andersen, a Dane with the Danish ambulance corps in Finland.
“Tanskalainen Ambulanssi, Kentäpostikontorri, Suomi”
translates as Danish Ambulance, Field Post Office, Finland.
This was during the Russo-Finnish War of November 30, 1939 (click on date link) to March 10, 1940.
This war caught the attention of the world who generally supported the Finns.

Danish Ambulance in Finland during Russo-Finnish War 1939-40
Danish Ambulance in Finland
{Bruno de Neergard, on the right, was executed by the Germans in 1945.
The person on the left is unkown.)*

The cover was forwarded to Joennsuu which is 70 km from the
present Russian border and about 240 km north of the Gulf of Finland.
There is a Joensuu postmark for April 8 under the censor label.

The cover was marked 'retour' (return) and went back to the sender.

There is a blue boxed Finnish censor handstamp on the front which reads
"Sotasensuurin tarkastama/Gransket af Krigscensuren"
(Read by the war censor) in Finnish and Swedish.*

There is also a printed label on the back "Parti | Pois matkustanut | Afrest".
This multilingual label says "Departed" indicating the addressee has left the locale.
This was probably applied in Joensuu.*

The cover was also censored by the Germans as indicated by the label closure and the handstamp.
Careful viewing of the label suggests that the cover was not opened by the Germans.
The German censorship occurred after the cover was returned from
Joensuu and after the invasion of Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940.*
The Germans probably did not bother to censor the cover since it
had been sent before the invasion and it was being returned to the sender
so any information it contained would not help an enemy.

The cover is franked with a 1933-40 15 øre deep red Caravel (Scott 238A).

All in all, this cover turns out to have some very interesting features.
Another cover from this war may be seen in this note.

*Thanks to Knud-Erik Andersen for providing the picture of the Danish ambulance
and his help with the Finnish censor mark and the "Parti" label.
Thanks, too, to Bjorn Munch for his recognition of the relationship
of the censorship to the German invasion of Denmark and Norway.


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