Today in Postal History



Switzerland to South Africa
December 15, 1929

This registered airmail first flight cover was flown from Zurich to Nairobi, Kenya,
and then on to Capetown, South Africa.

Unfortunately, I haven't found much about the flight in my references.
I do have another cover which indicates that Cairo was one of the stops on the flight.
There are pages about Walter Mittelholzer who signed this cover.

The cover is franked with two stamps from the 1929 Pro Juventute semipostal set:
a 10c showing Lake Engstien and Mt. Titlis in olive brown and gray black and
a 30c dark blue Nicholas von der FiŁe, a Swiss patriot, (Scott B50 and B52).
It also has seven copies of the 1924 1fr violet and deep violet airmail (Scott C12).

These stamps were cancelled with four clear strikes of a Zurich Luftpost CDS.
A preprinted registry label was added in the Main Railroad Station post office.

The cover has a clear strike of the boxed Ad Astra - Afikaflug Dezember 1929
handstamp given the flight covers.

Somewhere, probably not in Switzerland, the blue pencilled registry cross was added.

The cover arrived in Nairobi on January 4, 1930, as shown by the oval registry cancel.
It did take some time to get there.

The cover then proceeded to an addressee, probably the sender,
at the travel agency, Thomas Cook and Sons Ltd., in Capetown.
The sender probably had a mail-forwarding arrangement with the agency.

The reverse of the cover was signed by Walter Mittelholzer, the pilot and promoter of the flight.
Mittelholzer was a founder of Swissair.
Among other credits, he was the first flyer to fly around the Mediterranean.

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