Today in Postal History


Bechuanaland Protectorate to England
April 16, 1900

This cover was postmarked with two
CROCODILE POOLS | SOUTH AFRICA double circle datestamps.
Crocodile Pools, north of Mafeking (map),
was the site of much action during the Boer War.
British Bechuanaland is the northeast part of present-day Botswana.

The sender was on active service during the Boer War and
qualified for the soldiers' 1d concessionary rate.
The sender, a member of the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers,
endorsed the cover "On Active Service | From Tpr A. C. Brecknell S.R.V. (Armoured Train)."

The franking is a vertical pair of 1897 BECHUANALAND | PROTECTORATE overprints
(SG 59) of 1887 d vermilion Queen Victorias of Great Britain (SG 172).
The sender prepared the cover for countersigning by "Capt & Adjt | Rhod Regt"
but it was actually countersigned by Lt-Col J.A.Spreckley as
'o/c [officer in charge] Armoured Train.'
I do not know whether the countersigning was intended to support
the concessionary rate or was for censorship purposes as well.

The destination, Chipping Norton, is about 30 km northwest of Oxford.
There are Bulawayo (23 April) transit and Chipping Norton (26 May) arrival backstamps.


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