Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Forces Mail

I collect the occasional Forces Mail cover. The following is a selection from the British Borneo territories of Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo and Sarawak.

This was sent from FPO 766 which was based in Labuan. It was unusually franked with Singapore stamps but somehow did not received a Labuan cancellation. Perhaps the post office clerk was not sure whether the stamps were eligible for use even though Singapore was still part of Malaysia until August that year. On reaching Singapore, it received a local postmark and routed to England. Singapore stamps used in Sabah and Labuan are quite uncommon and covers are definitely rare.  

This was from FPO 169 which was based at Tawau. It has a letter inside which gives some idea what were like serving in Borneo. A GB adhesive was used on this occasion.

This is another cover with a letter inside addressed to the same person but from a different soldier. This was FPO 136 based at Kuching. There were women who corresponded with soldiers regularly and sent magazines and newspapers mostly out of friendship.
After-note Both these two letters were addressed Betty(Dusty) Miller 1919-2003. She was a great collector of Military Mail and wrote to many service men in action so that she could get details of the various locations and their FPO numbers. Our knowledge of this area is more complete thanks to her efforts.

Both of these covers were sent from FPO 51 based in Brunei. The bottom one is a stampless official envelope and also has the uncommon cachet for Brunei BFPO 605 at Tutong.
I am on my travels again in a few days, this time to visit the Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition among other places. There will no post for a few weeks.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

North Borneo 1896 $2.44 parcel piece

It is rather unusual to find high values used on piece. High values, ie denomination 25c or greater, were issued for use on heavier items such as parcels or for fiscal purposes. Quite a few used examples were also cancelled by favour to meet the needs of collectors. The wrapping for parcels tend not to survive due to rough handling and also more significantly, they were not a collecting interest.

This collection of stamps on piece has a faint Sandakan cds of 27 DEC 1896. It consists of the 1894 50c and $1 values as well as an almost full set of the 1895 surcharged values apart from the 10c. The total amount of $2.44 would indicate a parcel weighing 122oz or 7 lbs 10oz at prevailing overseas postal rates of 2c per 2oz.