& WWII Censorship of the Mails
displays led by Mac McClaren on June 14th at the Buszy, Milton Keynes
by Dominic Morris, pictures by Susan McEwen
Members and two guests attended the second Milton Keynes display meeting
of the MSG.
of the 11 attendees, at the start of the meeting.some of the 11 attendees,
at the start of the meeting.
Firstly, thanks to Brenda McClaren for driving over to Aylesbury to collect
and return the Aylesbury PS frames for the occasion; and to Mac for organising
and leading what turned out to be a high calibre set of displays on the
theme of WW1 and WW2 censorship of the mails. We had four Rounds.
gave the lead display
Round one was from Mac himself, which focused on WW2 censorship. He opened
with ‘British Naval Authorities’ censor marks. These were
where the RN boarded neutral (mostly Dutch) vessels on the high seas and
intercepted mail to Nazi Germany and Austria between September 1939 and
May 1940, when Holland was invaded.
Mac and a frame of the display
display included his famous ‘corners missing’ boxed censor
cachets from the early weeks of the War when the number of censorship
offices exceeded the number of censor hand-stamps. Mac has become the
MSG’s expert on this interesting by-line in scarce censorship covers.
Round was a mix of civil, military and fiscal censorship, with incoming,
outgoing and transit mail.
Mac blew us away with an amazing range of incoming and transit mail. My
favourite was a cover form Portuguese Timor to New York via Singapore
(how many covers are there via Straits of any Portuguese Timor?); Thailand;
Italy; Indo-china; China; Japan; Uganda (from the High Consul to the C-in-C
of the NEI Naval Forces - I want this cover!!); Madagascar; Egypt; South
Africa; Switzerland and the USA.
This is a great way to display interesting World stamps in a Malayan context.
Acquiring these is not easy but a very rewarding pursuit.
Two was a medley from several members.
Andrew Norris opened with 30 sheets, including six WW1 items covering
the ‘Passed by Censor’ on POW mail and the Eye mark (censor
has his eye on you); a postcard of The Raffles Hotel with ‘Singapore’
excised just in case the enemy might guess where The Raffles was (the
bureaucratic mind for you!); incoming/ transit from Kenya, Mozambique
to Java and Brazil to NEI; a triple censored South Africa, Singapore and
NEI Navy- just how secure did we need to be?; Jamaica to Bahrain; Japan
to South Africa; US Philippines (and they are anti-colonialist? Iraq,
W Bush anyone????); Switzerland. And a censor mark used as a cancel on
Len Stanway showed 23 covers, two from WW! And the rest from WW2 including
clipper censors; RAF censor 93 and a triple censored item (Singapore,
Gordon Peters showed some lovely WW1 material, including Singapore and
Penang Internee Mail; a straight line censor mark; circular censor marks;
Straits Settlements with a Crown printed label and Penang circular cancels
No. 1, 9, 15 and 16; a perfect Soerabja (NEI) registered to Japan transit
cover; USA to Singapore NEI to England with a blue label inscribed: ‘The
British Examiner is not responsible for the mutilation of this letter’.
Joe Robertson displayed (what a surprise!) postage due WW! Censored. The
two most interesting Your Correspondent observed was the Letter Censor
Mark used in both WW1 and WW2; and the Circle through line mark (again
‘We have our eye on you’)
David Tett showed one item but it drew the greatest level of comment and
thought: a 12c Chef’s Hat Kelantan cover from Mrs Rawlings to a
Mrs Arathoon in Monte Carlo dated June 1940, marked Retour and DLO all
within 15 days of postage (so far so simple: Kelantan to Singapore and
sent back) so what was the 1218 Censor White Label doing on it? This stumped
all of us.
Postcard where the censor removed the name of the
Round Three was the second Round from Mac which included incoming, outgoing
and ‘nearly outgoing’ from Palestine: a ‘returned to
sender’ from the Haifa censor. Why? Plus a Japanese US Occupation
mark to Singapore an unusual censor mark in the post-War era; and the
lovely Fiji 3/- to Singapore cover; common to other destinations (if nice)
but scarce to Singapore.
Gordon Peters put up a few queries. Some were simple (wrong rate applied);
but he added a lovely ‘Jusqu’a’ double barred cancel
of a Hong Kong via Singapore cover; together with an extremely rare ‘Premises
Vacant’ mark and DLO .Why this mark? None knows.
Andrew Norris put up some ‘corners missing’ censor mark boxed
cachets for Trengganu (hard to collect at best) but with two and three
corners missing into 1939 and 1940. Gordon Bennett! Strewth! (i.e. I want
Round Four was led by Susan McEwen who did Japanese Occupation and resealing
tape. On her calculations (admittedly imperfect) 75% of JapOc mail was
censored. The remainder was philatelic covers and mail to the Inland Revenue.
Susan showed some lovely Trengganu (from the Yokohama Specie Bank, natch)
and some very interesting forgeries. John Bull where are you when we need
Dominic Morris concluded the Round with a medley of Kelantan (Frith collection),
Perak (including one corner clipped censor and a printed paper rate);
Selangor, including many covers from Malcolm Wade’s collection;
Straits, including a scarce and tied by censor 36 V label (1068 Nazi German
planes shot down over Britain during Battle of Britain in past year);
and Jap Occ, including single frame chops, a nice NEI ‘Singer Sewing
machines’ piece; various ‘passed by censor/ passed for transmission’
in Kanji; one forgery (a bogus pre-War cancel, identified by Mac on an
otherwise good First Anniversary cover of Penang Dai Nippon- why? It just
reduces value of cover??)
Overall messages of the day? It doesn’t need that many members to
create a buzz at the Buszy. It was a great day.
For new-ish Members: Don’t be afraid to display or ask at the Q&A.
If Members as experienced as Gordon or David don’t know the answers,
there is no reason why you should. Just put them up there at future displays
and let’s see what happens.
A frame of censored covers