Monday, 21 September 2015

Labuan stamps with Brooketon cancellation

Brooketon was a part of Brunei which was administered by Sarawak after they took over the concession for mining coal from William Clark Cowie in 1888. Sarawak stamps with Brooketon are not uncommon but they tend to command a premium due to the popularity of this postmark. It can also be found on adhesives of Labuan, Brunei and North Borneo with the latter two quite difficult to acquire. The ones on Labuan are not easy but somehow over the past 12 months I have managed to find two. I call this the "London Bus" effect. They do not arrive as expected but when they do, it is usually in twos or threes.

Despite the lower one having a a full strike of 4 MAR 03, I still prefer the upper example which somehow looks a lot better. There are so many Sarawak stamps with this Brooketon cancellation but strangely no cover so far I know. The nearest item to postal history was a card sent from Brooketon in June 1907 franked by a Brunei stamp but somehow received no Brooketon cancellation. It went through Labuan and Singapore on its way to London. The Brunei adhesive was uncancelled and invalidated. 
The likelihood was most of these Brooketon items were cancelled by favour even though some mail from the south western part of North Borneo and possibly north Sarawak and Labuan went through Brooketon. This was due to the more frequent communication between the mining company and Kuching. And then the mail was carried onwards to Singapore. So were some of these transit cancellations? 
You can see some Sarawak stamps with the Brooketon cancellation by clicking here.

This is an aerial U S Navy photo on the pre-invasion bombardment of Brooketon on 9 June 1945 before the troops of the Australian 9th division landed 2 days later supported the U S 7th Fleet and Australian warships. Six 7th Fleet Venturas and eight Army Lightings were used. This picture shows the napalm drop. Apparently 95 percent of the Japanese base was destroyed. No wonder by the time the Australian troops landed, the Japanese had fled. 

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