Prestige Philately Auction 233 CatalogueCOCOS ISLANDS POSTAL HISTORY - World War II Civilian Mails 1939 to 1945
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Displaying 14 Lots in Category - COCOS ISLANDS POSTAL HISTORY - World War II Civilian Mails 1939 to 1945
1939 usage of Straits KGVI 2c Postal Card endorsed "From GA Bayley, Cocos Keeling Island" on the face & with brief telegraph message headed "Cocos 29th Sept 1939", uprated for airmail to England with 2c & 10c pair tied by Singapore cds of 30SE/1939, very fine 'PASSED BY/ 7 /CENSOR' cachet in violet. An important item, being the earliest WWII Cocos-related cover & the only one posted in the first month of the war. [David Flaat's similar uprated Postal Card from a month later sold for $1955]
1939 (Oct 5) airmail cover endorsed on flap "From Mrs Clunies-Ross/...Devon" to "JS Clunies-Ross/Keeling Cocos Islands/co Messrs Caldbeck Macgregor & Co/Singapore", boxed 'PASSED BY/ 37 /CENSOR' h/s in violet applied at Singapore.
1940 cover endorsed "From Sidney W Rayment-Acton/Keeling Cocos Islands" on the reverse, to "Governor JS Clunies Ross/co WT Lee & Co/...London", Mauritius KGVI 12c tied by GPO cds of 19SP/40 & superb oval 'PASSED BY CENSOR/MAURITIUS' cachet in violet, on arrival redirected to WT Lee's home in Sussex. An extraordinary cover. [Sidney Rayment-Acton was secretary to JS Clunies-Ross on Cocos. He had resigned his position but remained on island until January 1941. At this time Clunies-Ross was already en route from London, arriving at Cocos just before his secretary's departure. WT Lee was the family's agent in London]
On 10.6.1940, Italy declared war on the Allies. The British telegraphic cable in the north-Mediterranean was cut, making Cocos & the trans-Indian Ocean cable a vital link for Australia, Singapore & the East. In late-1940 the Admiralty established a high-frequency direction-finding facility on Direction Island, Cocos. It is expected that this cover - the only one of its type known to us - was carried to Mauritius by a naval vessel.
1940 (Dec 31) cover endorsed on the reverse "Mrs Clunies-Ross/...Devon" by sea to her husband c/- Caldbeck Macgregor, triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 37 ' cachet in violet applied at Singapore. [It is believed that this envelope was used to forward the cover from Rayment-Acton sent via Mauritius - see previous lot - back to Cocos]
1941 (c.) undated cover with 'CALDBECK MACGREGOR & CO LTD/SINGAPORE' cachet across the flap & uncancelled 8c grey, to "JS Clunies-Ross/Keeling Cocos Is" with triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 74 ' cachet in violet, central fold. [Our assessment is that Caldbeck MacGregor & Co handed-in their mail for censoring; because they operated the only mail service to Cocos, the covers were simply handed-back to them for carriage per TSS 'Islander' to Cocos]
1941 (c.) undated cover with 'CALDBECK MACGREGOR & CO LTD/.../SINGAPORE' imprint at upper-left & uncancelled 8c grey, to "Governor [sic] JS Clunies-Ross/Keeling Cocos Is" with triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 67 ' cachet in violet.
1941 (Jan 3) registered cover from WT Lee to JS Clunies-Ross c/- Caldbeck Macgregor for fowarding to Cocos, superb Singapore arrival b/s of 8MR/1941 & plain brown tape tied by 'PASSED/CENSOR/ A ' h/s in violet (not recorded by Morenweiser for Singapore), minor blemishes. [In late-1940, the intensified bombing of London caued Lee to remove his London operations to Sussex]
1941 (Feb 19) cover from USA at 5c rate with Oakland, CA cancels to "Governor [sic] Ross/Cocos Islands/Indian Ocean", triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 6 ' cachet in violet applied at Singapore on face.
1941 (May 5) registered surface mail cover from WT Lee in Sussex to JS Clunies-Ross c/- Caldbeck Macgregor for forwarding to Cocos with British '.../Opened for Customs examination and duly closed again at the Post Office' label tied by '[crown]/ CUSTOMS/AND/EXCISE' cachet in rosine, Singapore arrival b/s of late-May 1941 & triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 67 ' cachet in violet.
1941 (June 16) airmail cover from Rose Clunies-Ross to her husband on Cocos via their Singpore agents with unusual make-up of GB KGVI 7d & 8d for the 1/3d rate, triangular 'PASSED FOR - TRANSMISSION/ 67 ' cachet in violet applied at Singapore, minor blemishes.
1941 cover (227x153mm) endorsed at upper-left "From Dr Gibson-Hill c/- Cable and Wireless Ltd Cocos-Keeling Islands" to Melbourne with Straits 4c & 5c tied by Singapore cds of 6SP/1941, resealed at left with plain brown tape tied by 'PASSED/CENSOR 6/ A ' h/s in violet (not recorded by Morenweiser for Singapore). Acquired at the Prestige auction of 29.3.2008 for $4370. [Carl Alexander Gibson-Hill was resident medical officer on Cocos from late-1940. He left for Singapore in early-1942, arriving four days before its Surrender to Japan & spent the next 3½ years as a POW. In 1956, he was appointed Director of the Raffles Museum. A keen ornithologist, he wrote articles & a book about the Cocos Birdlife. This cover almost certainly contained bird photographs]
1942 cover endorsed on the flap "JCW Jacob/co Cable & Wireless Ltd/Cocos Keeling" to London with Ceylon 15c tied by Colombo machine cancel of 25MAR42. A rare routing at this time. [Almost certainly carried per SS Kelantan which arrived at Colombo in late-March 1942 after having taken a relief garrison to Cocos & surviving a torpedo attack on the return trip]
1942 (Mar 9) surface mail cover from GB to "JCW Jacob/co Cable & Wireless Ltd/Cocos-Keeling Islands", 'COLOMBO/ 30MY/42/FOREIGN' cds on the face with boxed 'NO SERVICE/RETURNED TO SENDER' & 'RETOUR' h/s of Colombo RTO (b/s). [Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15.2.1942 & mail connections with Cocos were severed. After the Japanese shelled the cable station on Cocos & attacked SS Kelantan on its return voyage in March, civilian mail services to Cocos from Ceylon were suspended]
1943 (Aug 23) cover from Rose Clunies-Ross in Devon to "JS Clunies-Ross/co Cable & Wireless Coy/Colombo/ Ceylon", no instructional markings so presumably delivered by naval vessel (?). The latest recorded correspondence between Rose & John-Sidney, who died on Cocos on 14.8.1944. [The family had moved from London to Devon for safety reasons. Ironically, their home in Exeter was destroyed in a German air raid but the London home survived unscathed]