Sunday, 4 March 2012

Labuan paquebot

SS Ulysses was a merchant ship of the Blue Funnel Line based at Liverpool. The company was founded by Alfred Holt in 1866. The majority of the fleet were cargo vessels even though there were some limited places for passengers. The Blue Funnel Line came to an end in 1988. Unfortunately, I could not find any information with regard to this ship. There were also other ships with the same name but of a different era.
This is a philatelic item sent to a Gustav Lund, a name which is also seen on other paquebot covers. He published a book on the paquebot marks of the Americas in 1984. 
I would have much preferred  a local stamp but this GB stamp seems very appropriate as Ulysses sailed under the British flag. The franking postmark is a bit faint and a second was applied obligingly, much to our benefit. I think this is SL8 in Proud's book but with a much later date. We also have a bonus straight PAQUEBOT marking. The cover was signed by the captain at the back.

 SS Ulysses in 1914
The back of  this non philatelic postcard carries a nice message. It reads " SS Ulysses near Las Palmas. Returning to Cape Town. Often look back on our great experiences on the tour. Yours G A Peffen " A common inexpensive paquebot item but so interesting.

A 1916 carmine cross 2c used with a Labuan D10 postmark must be really uncommon. Notice the letter "A" above the date. This postmark comes with a prefix, A or B or C or D. It is thought that these prefixes referred to the different postal clerks that were in attendance, each having a particular prefix in his or her hand stamp.
This is a transit cancellation or more probably a paquebot as Labuan straits type cancels were also used on paquebot mail. Labuan was incorporated into the Straits Settlements on the 1st January 1907.


  1. Your postcard is of the 4th Ulysses built 1913, torpedoed off Florida 1942. The cover is from the 5th Ulysses built 1949 and sold in Cyprus.

    If you Google Blue Funnel Line you can link to a list of ships.