Thursday, 5 February 2015

Pre WWII Censor Mail

Mail were censored from some time in 1939 with the war in Europe. In North Borneo, the major post offices had their own censor hand stamps which were identified by a number. Most had multiple hand stamps with different corresponding numbers. These were either double line triangular or single line rectangular with 2 of each type recorded so far. Apparently, the censoring was carried out by wives of expatriates working there. When a letter passed through censoring it maybe unopened. Opened mail would be resealed with official tape.

Censored postcards are uncommon in my experience. This was sent from Sandakan and bears the rectangular censor cachet number 22. The known censor numbers for Sandakan were 10, 15-20, 22, 23 and 30 with both double triangular and rectangular cachets for most of them. The post card shows a very nice view of part of the centre of the town and the harbour.

Censor mail from Lahad Datu and Tawau are generally uncommon. Lahad Datu has the censor numbers 28 and 29. The censor hand stamp for number 28 is usually seen as a rectangle and this double triangular form is much more uncommon.


  1. Fascinating expositions! I say that as a one-time stamp collector (still have my boyhood collection) and postcard collector.
    I would like to obtain your permission to reproduce the postcard image of Sandakan in this article. It illustrates perfectly an article I am writing about Harry and Agnes Newton Keith, which i invite you to peruse and see how i would employ your image (and would add your permission to the caption):
    Thanks for your kind attention to this.
    Peter Grant
    Victoria, Canada

    1. No problems. Please quote this blog.