Prestige Philately Auction 233 CatalogueLot 2400Catalogue by themeMilitary - Air Force
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 39 Lots in Category - Military - Air Force
Exhibit pages with an array of mostly small photographs including WWII RAF operations & Tin Can Mail handling, plus some second-generation pics of the airfield construction etc. A very scarce & desirable lot.
INWARDS MAIL: 1944 (July 29?) cover from GB with 2½d meter to "35th British General Hospital/RAMC/South East Asia Command", redirected to "Operation Wilcox", although paid for surface only it was flown to Cocos per Catalina flying boat, opened a bit roughly & stained at the top from a 'sticky' tape repair. [Following the Japanese bombardment in 1944, use of the word "Cocos" in communications was suppressed. Various coded military addresses were used including 'Operation Wilcox', 'Island X' and 'Fortress Brown'. Use of such addresses on mail is very rare & the only the examples we have seen are from Colin Riddell's collection]
INWARDS MAIL: 1944 (Nov 24) civilian 6d aerogramme from GB to "35th British Gen Hosp/RAMC/South East Asia Command", redirected to "Island X/oc tps/Brown" (= Occupying Troops) & flown to Cocos per Catalina flying boat, stained at the base from 'sticky' tape reinforcement. [NB: West Island was sometimes referred to as 'Brown's West Island']
INWARDS MAIL: 1945 (Jan 12) stampless Forces cover from Ceylon with 'UNIT CENSOR/X209' h/s used at Mount Lavinia & Indian-pattern No 9 ABPO b/s, to "13th Indian Coast Battery/Brown/SEAC", corner fault at upper-right.
INWARDS MAIL: 1945 (Apr 5) airgraph with photograph of the addressee's wife from GB to "129 Staging Post/RAF/SEAC", usual horizontal fold (which is clear of the photo). Believed to be the only recorded airgraph addressed to Cocos. [129 Staging Post was a postal unit at the West Island Airfield that processed incoming mails between -.4.1945 & -.3.1946]
129 STAGING POST: Undated Forces Air Letter with printed 'RAFPOST/AIR COMMAND/SOUTH EAST ASIA' at upper-right & instructions within for addressing mail completed with "129 Staging Post" & 'CEYLON AIR FORCES' h/s in violet, sent to GB with 'RAFPOST/ 2 /SOUTH EAST ASIA/ 2 ' cds with the dateline removed. There must have been thousands of these pro forma air letters but this is the only example we have seen from Ceylon. [In 1944, logistical & construction units of the XIVth Army were sent to Cocos for Operation 'Pharos', to construct a heavy bomber airfield on Brown's West Island. South-East Asia Command (SEAC) intended Cocos to be a Forward Strategic Operating Base for retaking Malaya & the Dutch Indies]
129 STAGING POST: 1945 (Apr 17) Forces Air Letter with letter headed "129 Staging Post/RAF/Ceylon Air Forces", tsent to GB with unnumbered 'RAF POST/25APR45/COLOMBO' cds, minor internal repair. [The letter states "...if I could only disclose my actual whereabouts you would indeed have a rarity to add to your collection...I hope to get a choir going soon"]
129 STAGING POST: 1945 (May 3) use of Forces Air Letter from a member of 7136 Servicing Echelon with 'RAF/CENSOR/575' cachet in violet - ERD on Cocos - over signature of Flying Officer Guthrie, to GB with partial 'RAFPOST/10MAY45/COLOMBO' cds & private arrival cachet. [Operations Record Book for 129 Staging Post shows F/O Guthrie arrived at Cocos on 29.4.1945 by Catalina, which flew the outgoing mail to Colombo]
INDIAN ARMY FPO 46: 1945 (Nov 3) envelope front affixed to previously used Indian OHMS cover registered to "GHQ/New Delhi" with exceptional franking of Indian 1½a x3 paying 4½a registration fee tied by 'FPO/No 46/ 3NOV45' cds, transit backstamp of No 9 ABPO in Colombo & 'NEW DELHI GHQ APO/10NOV45' arrival b/s, minor blemishes. The only recorded usage of Indian stamps on Cocos.
INDIAN ARMY FPO 46: 1945 (Apr 9) Forces 'Blue Triangle' Air Letter with letter headed with '37 Ind HAA Bty IA' h/s in violet, Indian-pattern 'FPO/No46/13APR45' cds & 'UNIT CENSOR/R722' cachet in violet used at Cocos, despite completed honour certificate on reverse reopened at Colombo & resealed with 'OPENED BY EXAMINER' label tied by triangular 'FIELD - CENSOR/170' cachet in violet, minor defects. The ERD for both the FPO 46 cds & Unit Censor h/s on Cocos: Ted Proud notes usage of FPO 46 between 13APR45 & 10JAN46. [The record book of the 37th Indian HAA Battery states "...completed disembarkation on Fortress Brown on 4.4.1945..."]
INDIAN ARMY FPO 46: 1945 (June 7) Forces Air Letter with letter headed "HQ 352 Petroleum Ptn RASC", to "Nuseirat/MEF" with Ceylon 20c tied by 'FPO/No46' cds & 'UNIT CENSOR/X53' cachet in violet (earliest date used at Cocos), triangular 'FIELD - CENSOR/45' cachet in violet, minor aging. [Nuseirat is on the Gaza Strip, Palestine. Today it is a United Nations Refugee Camp with more than 77,000 inhabitants]
INDIAN ARMY FPO 46: 1945 (Aug 6) usage of Forces black/white 'GREEN ENVELOPE' to GB with 'FPO/No 46/7AUG45' cds & 'UNIT CENSOR/R851' cachet in violet used on Cocos, some soiling & peripheral defects; with the enclosed letter on RAF stationery that states "...everything is free here so why not have a sample...I have certainly not said anything in this letter that is taboo...". A rare "Green Envelope" usage on Cocos: we know of only one other example. Ex Kim Dwyer: acquired for $920.
(Qty 2 items)
INDIAN ARMY FPO 46: 1945 (Sep 24) usage of printed OAS 'This parcel of Cigarettes...' card, to Australia with superb 'FPO/No 46/ 25SEP45' cds. Letter of thanks states "...can you imagine me on the Cocos Islands enjoying them in the shade". [Japan surrendered 2.9.1945. Censorship was ended & "Cocos" could again be used in correspondence]
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (June 4) use of Forces Air Letter - address panel only - with letter headed "129 Staging Post", to Yorkshire with very fine 'RAFPOST 301/7JUN45' cds & equally fine 'RAF/CENSOR/575' cachet in violet. The RAFPOST 301 cds is notorious for being poorly struck: this is about as fine as it comes. [A Command Administration memo of 3.6.1945 advised all personal mail for the Cocos should be addressed "Section 301, RAF, Ceylon Air Forces"]
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (July 20) OAS cover to India unusually with Ceylon 20c tied by poor 'RAFPOST 301/20JLY45' cds, fine 'RAF/CENSOR/575' cachet in violet, minor blemishes.
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (July 30) usage of Forces 'Blue Triangle' Air Letter with message headed "99 Squadron/301 Section/RAF/ Ceylon Air Forces", to GB with poor 'RAFPOST 301' cds & 'RAF/CENSOR/575' cachet unusually in black, minor blemishes. [The letter states "...Naturally I am not allowed to say anything about this place...There's very little in the way of entertainment, not even a canteen...I went almost a month without mail and then received a pile all in one day..."]
On this date, 30.7.1945, the strategic role of RAF Cocos changed from providing staging facilities to being a base for heavy bombers operating against the Japanese in the Dutch Indies & Malaya.
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (Sep 3) usage of Forces Air Letter with message headed "99 Squadron/RAF/Ceylon Air Forces", to GB with unusually fine 'RAFPOST 301/7SEP45' cds & 'RAF/CENSOR/165' cachet in violet used on Cocos, minor blemishes. [The war ended on 2.9.1945. The writer states "...I am not in Ceylon as you have been thinking, I am on...the Cocos Islands...midway between Australia and Ceylon...We are OK now for entertainment..."]
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (Oct 24) usage of GB 6d Air Letter from London addressed to "175 Wing/Section 301/RAF/Ceylon Air Forces" at Cocos, light horizontal fold.
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1945 (Nov 30) usage of SEAC illustrated 'XMAS AIR LETTER' endorsed within "Cocos Islands Xmas 1945", sent to GB unusually with fair 'RAFPOST 301/30NOV45' cds applied on reverse (no blank space on front), minor defects.
ROYAL AIR FORCE PO 301: 1946 stampless cover endorsed "Forces Mail" & on the flap "RAF Station/Cocos Island/Ceylon Air Force", to GB with unusually fine 'RAFPOST 301/11MAR46' cds. [Flying operations ceased with closure of the West Island Airfield on 7.4.1946]