Today in Postal History

Great Britain to Argentina
November 20, 1941

This interesting cover from wartime London poses some questions.

The corner card indicates it sent by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At this time it would have been the Norwegian government-in-exile.
Norway fell to the Germans when major resistance ended in June, 1940.
The government-in-exile was set up in London in June, 1940.
The rear flap lists the address as Kingston House, Princess Gate, London, S.W. 7.

There is also a straight line handstamp for the
Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs | ???? London .................
Any thoughts on the illegible marking preceding London?

The first cancel was a machine postmark for London.W. C. dated November 20.
Subsequently three CDS handstamps were added for London
and what appears to be F. S. ?? and a December 3 date.
The F. S. probably is something like foreign section.
Anybody have a suggestion?

What happened between the November 20 dating and the December 3 dating?
There is no suggestion of a censor mark although censorship would have been likely.
Was such mail censored but not so marked as a diplomatic courtesy?

Further there is no evidence of the cover having been held up for a franking shortage.

Could the letter have been awaiting transport to Argentina
and the December 3 CDS indicates a departure mark?
Air transport would have been in short supply.
Further, the Atlantic was not very safe for ships at that time.

Apparently, the cover was then forwarded to its destination of Buenos Aires
where its arrival was noted by a December 15 roller cancel on the back.
The recipient noted its arrival with a red 15/12.41 entry on the front near the corner card.

The cover is franked with 1938 King George VI definitives.*
There are a 3d violet (SG 467) and three 1/ bistre brown (SG 475).
In addition, it appears that the second 3d is the pale violet issued in 1941 (SG 490).

*Thanks to heschwat@aol.com for correcting my Kings.


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.