Category: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Postal History
1942 (May 28) unfranked cover from USA to "...Quartermaster Clk, Formerly in Philippine Islands, American Prisoner in Japan, c/- International Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland" endorsed "Postage Free" with San Diego d/s carried on the first Prisoner of War mail exchange with Japan by the Red Cross ship Gripsholm, US censor tape but without any Japanese censor markings, some edge faults.
The Japanese invasion of the Philippines commenced within hours of the Pearl Harbour attack but most US POWs were not captured until the fall of the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and Corregidor in May 1942. Tett states (Vol 5, p75) only a "small amount of mail from the USA" was carried on this first exchange as very few next of kin had been notified, and does not illustrate a single example. Ruggiero (pp8-9) gives the exact amount as 3719 individual items addressed to US prisoners; by comparison the second exchange in 1943 carried 3,043 bags of mail. The Gripsholm left New York on 18 June arriving Lourenco Marques 22.7.1942 where the mail was transferred to the Conte Verde and Asama Maru arriving at Yokohama on 17.8.1942.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , Prisoners of War , JAPAN , Censored Mail , Postal History