Today in Postal History
The flight was a pioneer flight by Lignes Aériennes Latécoère.
The airline had been founded by munitions
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
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 Générale d'Enterprises Aéronautiques, but the Latécoère name is commonly used.
In time Latécoère
and, later, Air France.
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
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
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.
The cover is franked with 1922 airmails: a
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
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.
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