Thursday, 29 January 2015

Ship covers from North Borneo

I am showing you one of my favourite covers which is very rare in such a fine condition. It was until recently part of a gold medal winning collection. The date of the postmark was 2 APL 1934, the S S Hin Sang seems to operate a swift tight schedule between Sandakan and Hong Kong as it was noted in the BNB Herald to depart from Sandakan again on the 11th of that month. The journey one way was probably 3 to 4 days.
The 12c palm cockatoo adhesive was cancelled by a company fiscal handstamp and over it was typed S/S "Hin Sang". And on top of the fiscal cancellation is the Sandakan cds. And there is a backstamp from Hong Kong of 2.30 10 AP 34 which would have been the dispatch date from Hong Kong on its way to USA.
Harrisons & Crosfield was the shipping agent. They were an international business conglomerate and had the biggest company in North Borneo. Nowadays they are known as Elementis and is largely UK based with particular focus on specialty chemicals.

There is not a lot that I can find about this ship. There were at least four ships with a similar name. This cover was carried by Hin Sang 2. This was built in 1905 in West Hartlepool, Sunderland. She was initially named Parklands until she was bought by Jardine Matheson in 1913. She plied the route regularly between Hong Kong and Borneo carrying passengers and goods, principally timber from Sandakan. She was scrapped in 1939.
The Indo-China Steam Navigation Company was established in 1873 as a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson to serve the trade routes between China, Singapore and India mainly. The other well known ship which used the Hong Kong and Sandakan route was the Mausang serving pretty much the same purpose   

This cover was carried on the good ship Hai Meng from Tawau to Jesselton with a cancellation date of 29 OC 54. Ship consignee covers from North Borneo are uncommon unlike the various ship covers from Sarawak, many of which were contrived including this one in all probability.

The M S Hai Meng was built in Sweden in 1949 and was renamed Bright Star in 1971. She was sunk by limpet mine in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge. This ship is not to be confused with a current craft with the same name used by a Thai shipping company.

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