Today in Postal History



England to India

July 1, 1886

This letter was sent from West Brompton S.W. , the home of Brompton Barracks.
West Brompton is about a mile southwest of Hyde Park in southwest London near Earls Court.

The letter was addressed to Captain H. M. Sandbach who was in the Royal Artillery in Allahabad.
Allahabad is about midway between Delhi and Calcutta.

This was not the worst time to be in the Royal Artillery in India.
It was between wars.
The 2nd Afghan War had been over since 1880 and the Frontier Wars didn't start until 1888.
The 3rd Burma War had started in 1885, but the Captain probably was not involved.

The cover bears a West Brompton S.W. duplex with a numeral 8 in an oval barred killer.

The letter was carried through the Mediterranean on a
British Peninsula & Oriental packet to Alexandria.
Although the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, the mail bound for
the far east was transshipped by rail across Suez until 1888 (or 1886?).
The mail was then loaded back onto a Peninsula & Oriental  packet operating in the Indian Ocean.
On occasion, it was the same steamer that had carried the mail to the entrance to the canal.
When it went on board the packet bound for India, the Sea Post Office transit mark was applied on July 9.
The letter arrived in Allahabad on July 21.

What makes this cover particularly interesting is the franking.
It is franked with a single 1883 5d. dull green Victoria (SG 193).
Gibbons values the stamp on cover at 225!
This 5d. is a nice copy and the cover is in pretty good condition considering its history.

The Captain was meticulous.
He noted "Answered" on the front of the cover.

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