Today in Postal History


Switzerland to Tanganyika

November 28, 1926

Although this cover is unabashedly philatelic, it provides a lot of postal history.
The airmail cover began its journey in Zurich where it received two CS.

It was registered which was an interesting device for assuring that postal authorities would keep track of it.
It was stamped for registry treatment and given a preprinted
and prenumbered label at the Zurich Bahnhof (railroad station).

It was also received a boxed handstamped cachet for the November Schweiser Afrikaflug
Note the cachet didn't have a promised departure date
since takeoffs for such early flights weren't very reliable.

The sender very carefully marked the cover Wenn Addressat Verzogen , bitte retour an Absender!!.
As you might expect this was a request to return the letter if the addressee could not be found.

The destination was Kisumbi, Tanganyika; however,
you'll note that the bi at the end has been added by someone.
I believe that the original address was Kisumu
on the north side of Lake Victoria in Kenya not Tanganyika!
I also  believe that the sender didn't expect there to be anyone
named Charles Hübener in Kisumu thereby assuring the return of the cover.
This error or change apparently led to a long search for Kisumbi in Tanganyika.

I wish I could add flight details but I haven't found anything to help.
I'll keep looking; however, I'd appreciate anyone's help.

The next stop was Alexandria, Egypt, on December 13.
Alexandria is on the Mediterranean northwest of Cairo.
From there the cover began a land and water journey to its destination.

The cover proceeded to Port Said at the mouth of the Suez Canal, arriving on December 16.
There it found a boat headed south for Mombassa, Kenya, where it arrived on January 2, 1927.

It was probably here that the cover was directed toward a Kisumbi in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).
It was forwarded inland west northwest about 260 km to Moshi, Tanganyika, arriving on January 5.
Moshi sits just south of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The postal personnel in Moshi were unable to find Kisumbi.

The cover was then forwarded to Tanga, Tanganyika, on the
Indian Ocean coast about midway between Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
It arrived in Tanga on January 7.
The next stop was Dar es Salaam on January 13.

They decided to try Tabora which is located inland about 300 km south of Lake Victoria.
It arrived there on January 16.
There the cover was then sent on to Shinyanga about 160 north northeast of Tabora.
It arrived there on January 22.
There is a second CDS for Shinyanga which appears to be March (?) 6.
when they gave up and returned the cover to Tabora.
Tabora appears to have given up and pencilled a final red Retour (return) on the cover.
It was sent on its way on what appears to be April 5 (?).

There is an illegible registry transit mark on the front dated June 16.
I suspect this next stop was at an Egyptian office.

The cover finally got back to Zurich on July 25, 1927.

All in all, the cover has 14 postmarks.
There are several redirections pencilled on the front of the cover.
There is also a boxed bilingual NOT KNOWN auxiliary marking.

The cover is franked with stamps from the 1922-25 airmail issue.
There is a 15c brown red and apple green, a 20c green and light green,
a 40c violet and gray violet, and a 65c gray blue and deep blue (Scott C3, C4, C7, and C10).


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