ARABIAN GULF: 1857 cover endorsed "From G Raymond AB on Board HEI Company SF [= Honourable East India Company's Steam Frigate] Ferooz", not countersigned so liable to postage due, to "Rock Port/Mass/United States" with very fine 'INDIA'-in-oval h/s in red, 'BOMBAY/JU27[?]/1857' & London transit b/s, rated '2' (London h/s), mss "4" converting 2d into 4c credit due to the UK & '9' h/s representing 5c US inland postage + 4c credit to the UK, 'NEW YORK/AUG/20' arrival cds, crudely opened & tear across the face repaired. Ex Gerald Sattin (private transaction). Carried per naval bag from Bushire; P&O "Norna", departed Bombay 1/7/1857; "Colombo", departed Alexandria 23/7/1857, arrived Southampton 4/8/1857; and Cunard Line "Arab", departed Liverpool 8/8/1857, arrived New York 19/8/1857. A remarkable origin/destination cover.
The "Ferooz" was the flagship of the Indian Navy Persian Gulf Squadron stationed at Bushire, in support of the British forces engaged in the Anglo-Persian War. The first edition of the British "Post Office Guide" (1856) stated that letters posted abroad by sailors in the service of the East India Company did not need to be prepaid but, if sent unpaid, would be charged 2d, in addition to any foreign postage due. Gerald Sattin believed that this was probably the only such cover from this conflict. [** IMPORTANT CORRECTION: The "tear across the face" is actually a roughly drawn line to segregate the area to be countersigned! There is a 20mm repaired tear that just intrudes on the handstamped '2' **]