Today in Postal History

Morocco to Senegal

May 30, 1925

The flight was a  pioneer flight by Lignes Aériennes Latécoère.

The airline had been founded by munitions and
aircraft manufacturer Pierre
Latécoère in 1918.
Its first flights were experimental along the Mediterranean coast from
Toulouse, its home base, to Barcelona, and then to Alicante and Malaga.
Its objective to provide service to Morocco was achieved when regular service
was established to Casablanca on September 1, 1919, flying a Breguet 15 airplane.

By 1925,
Latécoère took the next step en route to South American
service by extending the route from Casablanca to Dakar.
Dakar, the most westerly part of Africa, was to be the eastern
terminus for the leap across the Atlantic to Brazil.

Although passengers could get aboard, the principal cargo was mail and parcels.
This envelope was preprinted for the service and the back had a fairly complete listing
of the rates for parcels, passengers, and mail on the routes from
Toulouse to Casablanca, Toulouse to Oran, and Casablanca to Oran.

Note: Technically, by this time the airline had been renamed
Compagnie Gén
érale d'Enterprises Aéronautiques, but the Latécoère name is commonly used.

In time Latécoère became Aéropostale and, later, Air France.

As Aéropostale, subsidiary airlines were established in South America.
On March 1, 1928,
Aéropostale was able to inaugurate a service from Toulouse
to Buenos Aires which took only 8 days versus the 30 days required in 1918.
This was accomplished by using obsolete destroyers to steam across
the South Atlantic from St. Louis, Senegal, to Natal, Brazil.
The destroyers took five of the eight days.

The daring pilot, Jean Mermoz, finally made an experimental
flight from St. Louis to Natal  in 21 hours on May 12, 1930.
His plane, a
Latécoère 28 float plane named Comte de la Vaulx, carried 285 pounds of mail.

It was not until May, 1934, that semi-regular flights were established across the South Atlantic.

This colorful cover was carried on that first flight from  Casablanca to Dakar.
There are five Casablanca CDS.
The only suggestion that the flight was special may have
been the use of number stamp on the front to serialize the cover.

There is a Dakar receiver dated June 1.

There is a faint box handstamp on the back which I cannot explain.
Is it an airline handling stamp or the office receiver of the recipient?
It might also be a post office stamp as the mail was sent poste restante.
Help, anyone?

The cover is franked with 1922 airmails: a 1f vermilion
and two 25c deep ultramarine (Scott C7 and C2).
There is also a single 1917 15c on 15c orange overprint "Protectorat | Francais" (Scott 43).

On June 5, 1925, Latécoère flew the return flight from St. Louis, Senegal, to Casablanca.
Here is a cover from that flight:

The cover was franked with a block of four 1925 Senegalese 75c camel
surcharged 85c and a single 15c camel surcharged 65c (Scott 126 and 124).

There are three St. Louis CDS.
Note the straightline SENEGAL near the top.
There is also a handstamp which indicates that this is a first flight from Dakar to Toulouse.
This cover only went as far as Casablanca.


Today in Postal History
January February March April May June
July August September October November December

Pastnotes Index - The First 300 and the Next 208
provides more tidbits about stamps and collectors.

Comments? Send me an e-mail
Please include a reference to this item.