18th February 2021 - Zoom meeting

Our second meeting of the New Year but our first with a theme - and that was “Air Forces and Flown Covers”.  A wide subject area but we still accepted presentations which did not fit into the theme.  Once again we had around 25 members present from various parts of the world.

Once again Alan Baker started us off with a selection of RCAF and RAF material.  This included RCAF covers from the UK and also in Newfoundland as part of Force W.  The Caribbean featured a great deal with a cover to US Marines in Jamaica as well as covers from US bases in the Caribbean; items from the RAF in the Bahamas, including one from RAF Station No 111 in Nassau and also RAF Transport Command in Trinidad.  Then we moved to Canada with covers from RAF personnel training in that country, from a US national serving with the RCAF and also a much re-directed cover to an RCAF individual in the UK.

Next was Jim Etherington with a few examples of RAF covers from France to the UK during 1939, including a map showing the locations of wings and squadron which made up the Advance Air Striking Force around the area of Reims.  Mails were originally flown from Reims to Abingdon, or some via London, without going through the Army Postal Service.  Also shown were mails that did go through APO/FPOs to the UK.

Peter Stockton was our third displayer and it was his first time.  He explained that his main interest was French postal history and he showed French Morocco military mail with an aviation connection.  These covers and postcards covered a period 1917-18, 1938-40 and 1956.

Michael Dobbs was next with a varied selection of post-WW2 covers with an RAF connection from Parcel Post datestamps from RAF POs in the UK; an RAF cover from Waddington in 1965 commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain - this cover was given to him as a 14-year old by his father and he counts it as his first piece of forces postal history!  Other material was from RAF bases overseas, including a number of commemorative covers.

Next to show was Nick Colley, with a selection of covers and postcards connected to the Royal Naval Air Service including a WW1 silk postcard and postcards from various RNAS airship stations.  He then moved to France with RNAS mail from various locations, also from Italy, Russia and the Aegean 

It was then over to Julian Bagwell, sixth in line to display who had one item to show - it was a cover from the Levant, in fact the only airmail he has found from the Levant during that period.  It was naval mail with a “Passed by Censor” cachet from the RNAS EMS (Eastern Mediterranean Station) with a “Received from HM Ships No Charge to be Raised” machine slogan with no date but thought to be 1916.  This was followed by a “joint” display of two covers by Nick Colley and Jim Etherington - the first being from an RAF officer in March 1940 interned in Terlaenen Camp in Belgium, then Jim showed his, from the same officer but from a different camp, Borsbeek near Antwerp.

We were then back to Alan Baker with more WW2 RCAF mail - two from the same individual firstly from Prince Edward Island undergoing training in August 1944 then from the UK in October of the same year from the Personnel Reception Centre at Innsworth.  Other items shown included a number of covers from squadrons in the 400 series as well as RCAF personnel in various locations in North Africa and lastly a cover sent from an airman through the US Army Postal Service (APO 57) in France in August 1944.

He was followed by our President, Richard Berry, who showed a few postcards dealing with the WRAF in WW1 which included one addressed to No 141 Squadron at Biggin Hill.  He also showed a telegram from No 5 Flying School in Cairo in 1919 addressed to a Captain Bird!

Our last display was from Peter High and did not have a direct connection to our theme but was a selection of material from Hospital Ships - a miscellany of ships and theatres of war. Starting with the French h/s Notre-Dame de Salut from the Boxer Rebellion 1899-1901, then to South Africa and the H/S Simla from the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and on to Morocco and the French h/s Vinh-Long in 1910.  We then entered WW1 and the French h/s Charles Roux from the Gallipoli Campaign and a medical diagnosis tag from the h/s Bien-Hoa and moved on to WW2 with the German h/s Fasan.  A varied selection of material from a varied selection of wars - a most interesting display.

You can download the display here: