Today in Postal History



United States Crash Cover
September 20, 1930

This cover went into the mail in Gainesville, Texas, where it received two duplex cancels at 4:30 am.
Gainesville is about 60 miles north of Fort Worth.

The cover was marked spec del and franked with appropriate airmail and special delivery stamps.

The cover was put on the train to Fort Worth.
It was backstamped with an Oklahoma and Fort Worth Railway Post Office
(OKLA. & FT. WORTH R.P.O.) RMS (Railway Mail Service) duplex.
The R.P.O. cancel is also dated September 20.

In Fort Worth, the cover was put aboard the airplane
flying the Contract Air Mail Route 3 (C.A.M. 3).
The route, running from Chicago to Dallas/Fort Worth,
had been pioneered on May 12, 1926 by National Air Transport, Inc.

On July 1, 1929, the day plane began flights directly from Dallas to Kansas City via Tulsa.
This was the route taken by this cover.
It would have continued on through St. Joseph, Missouri; Moline, Illinois; to Chicago, Illinois.

In Chicago the cover went aboard C.A.M. 17 operated
from Chicago to New York by National Air Service, Inc.
C.A.M. 17 had been inaugurated in 1927 to provide both day
and night flights with longer segments between the two cities.
C.A.M. 17 stopped only in Cleveland.

The plane, piloted by Amberse M. Banks, made it to
Cleveland but the engine failed soon after leaving.
The plane caught fire after striking a pole during an
emergency landing near Warren, Ohio, east of Cleveland.

900 pounds of mail were salvaged with must of it partly burned.
The mail went on its way after one of four different handstamps had been applied noting the problem.
This one reads: DAMAGED IN PLANE FIRE | AT WARREN, OHIO, 9-21-30.

Presumably the cover proceeded to its destination in Brooklyn, New York,
where the recipient saved the cover for a philatelist.

The stamps are the 5 1928 bicolor Beacon airmail (Scott C11) and
the 10 1927 rotary press gray violet special delivery (Scott E15).

The sender's use of a hotel envelope from Lubbock, Texas, with a San Antonio, Tex.,
return address suggests a traveling salesman keeping in contact with friends and family.

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