Today in Postal History


Palestine Internal Usage

May 21, 1918

This registered cover  was posted
in Jaffa during the British Occupation during World War I.
The destination of the cover was Jerusalem.

"British and allied forces invaded Palestine in November, 1917, capturing Gaza (7 November), Jaffa (16 November), and Jerusalem (9 December). The front line then stabilised until the second British offensive in September, 1918." Stanley Gibbons British Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue

The cover was postmarked with four CDS
for the Army Post Office SZ 45 (Jaffa) at its origination.*
Two were used to cancel the stamps,
one was used to mark the blank registry label, and
one was used to confirm the closure on the backflap.

The letter was censored by No. 2 who stamped a
PASSED CENSORSHIP rectangle with quarter-circle corners.

In addition the cover was marked with a
pencilled blue cross on both sides to indicate registry status.
The cover was forwarded to Army Post Office SZ 44 (Jerusalem) on May 23.
The other Army Post Office postmark is also probably
SZ 44 (Jerusalem) on May 25 with a different duty code.*
This probably occurred as the cover was passed from one
duty section to a replacement as the item still awaited delivery.

Note carefully the franking on this cover.
There is one 1 piastre ultrmarine from the March 5, 1918, issue (SG 3)
and one 5 miliemes overprint of the 1 piastre 
cobalt blue
(per marking but not without question)
from the February 16, 1918, issue (SG 2).

I suspect that the color of the overprint might not pass muster
which would confirm the stamp as the ultramarine issued on March 5, 1918 (SG 4).

The addressee was in the 'American Colony' in Jerusalem.
The sender was F. Naseef with D. & P. Relief.
I'm sure there were a number of relief organizations active at that time.

In any event, an interesting usage from a still-troubled land.

*Thanks to orthorpteran
for help in identifying the location of the Army Post Offices.


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