Today in Postal History


  Philippines to England
September 25, 1943

This cover contained a censored letter from a female British
civilian internee detained in Camp Holmes, la Trinidad, Luzon.
Camp Holmes is often associated with Baguio which
is only a few kilometers south southeast of la Trinidad.

One of the near-forgotten stories of World War II were the Japanese
prison camps in which both military and civilian prisoners were held.
Those in the Phlippines were notorious.
Camp Holmes held civilians.

The infrequent letters to relatives were occasions of intense and varied emotions.
Anguish was expressed for the deplorable conditions of
the internees and relief that the loved one was still alive.

Here is the story of one internee, Lt. Col. Herbert Swick, fearful
that his civilian cover would be exposed, who escaped Camp Holmes
and went off to lead guerillas in northern Luzon.

The cover was postmarked MANILA No. 1/PHILIPPINES, 1943 (Sep 25)
with a clear duplex cancel.
The cover is standard Prisoner of War Post stationery.

The purple and red stamps are Japanese censor marks.

The destination of the cover was Maidstone, Kent, England.
Maidstone is about 50 km southeast of the heart of London.

The British also censored the letter and applied a tape on reverse.
This cover was probably transported on the 2nd voyage of
M/V Gripsholm and routed on to England from the United States.

The sender and the addressee also have an interesting story to tell.
Mrs. C. Rochfort-Boyd was the wife of Major Charles Boyd of the Royal Artillery.
The two were married on December 1, 1938.
Mrs. C. Rochfort-Boyd (Elizabeth Beatrice Howard Paget) was born January 10, 1913.
She was the daughter of Francis Edward Howard Paget.
The cover was addressed to Francis Paget.

I wonder if the Japanese knew the distinguished station of their prisoner.

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