MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
POSTMARKS
STAMPS
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Subject: Interrupted Mail Clear

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Wreck of S.S. "WINDSOR CASTLE" (Donald Currie Line), CAPE OF GOOD HOPE postal history
1876 cover and lengthy 5-page letter headed "Kersal Rectory (Salford) Sept 16 1876" to Miss Helen Ayliffe, Greystone, Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope marked "per first Steamer, September 22 1876" with GB QV 6d grey Plate 15 tied Manchester "498" duplex dated SP 22 1876 with CAPE TOWN O/OC 20 76 arrival alongside, reverse shows DARTMOUTH B/SP 23 76 despatch and GRAHAMSTOWN OC 25 76 arrival clear of large part flap missing which shows both albino SPIERS & SON OXFORD envelope manufacturer and sender's emblem.
The "Windsor Castle" sailed from Dartmouth on 23rd September 1876 and hit rocks between 2 and 3am on 19th October off Dassen Island while approaching Cape Town. A Lt. Melville and a Mr Searle, after a most unpleasant journey, reached Cape Town at about 9pm with the news of the wrecked mail steamer. The "Florence" was despatched to the scene of the wreck, but due strong winds was unable to get out of the harbour until 4.15am, sighted the masts of the Windsor at 7am, and cast anchor at Dassen Island at 8am where the 160 passengers had assembled taking up a Robinson Crusoe kind of existence in tents rigged up from sails amongst heaps of saved baggage, boxes, gun cases and 70 to 80 mailbags. The "Florence" left at 1pm with the first of the survivors arriving at Cape Town at 6pm. Seven or eight feet of rock had ripped through the bottom and the ship broke up in heavy swells within a week. The rescued mail was postmarked at Cape Town on 20th October 1876.
£1200



Wreck of S.S. "Emeu" to Woodford, Kensington, missent Hackney, NEW SOUTH WALES postal history
1857 entire with large part content to a Mrs. Cowell, Belgrave Villa, Woodford, near London with QV 6d slate tied barred oval cancel with fine SYNEY D/SEP 10 1857 displaying upper flap and red LONDON NL/DE 7 57 on address panel, on arrival re-directed Kensington and showing manuscript "Missent to Hackney", some smaller faults.
Sent on the S.S. "Emeu" (under charter of the Australian Royal Mail Co.) which left Sydney on September 11 bound for Suez, but stranded on October 22nd in the Red Sea, on the Guttal el Bunna, a coral reef 120 miles from Jeddah. She was refloated the following day and beached for repairs near Duber Dubb finally reaching Suez on the 3rd November, the mails however having been transferred to the P.&.O S.S. "Madras" which reached Suez on the 19th November (16 days after the "Emeu"!). Paid for delivery in Southampton the cover was sent from Alexandria on the P.&.O "Ripon" arriving December 7th.
£625

DOUBLY DELAYED (39 days, missed packet plus stopped for coal at Azores), JAMAICA postal history
1856 wrapper docketted "John Mcnains letter" to James Mcnain in Glasgow rated unpaid "6" showing on reverse KINGSTON AP 28 1856 dbl-arc, KINGSTON-JAMAICA AP 28 1856/inverted "V" dbl-arc and arrivals for 39 days later for London and Glasgow JUN 4 1856.
Missed Clyde at Jamaica AP 26 1856 and held over for Conway MY 11 1856 arriving St. Thomas MY 17 1856 where transferred to Solent arriving Southampton JU 5 1856 having put into Fayal, Azores for coal on MY 29 1856.
£150



PSRE from COUVA with REGISTRATION NOT ACTIVATED, Trinidad postal history
1890 use of QV 2d PSRE with added QV 4d grey, pair QV 6d olive-black (SG.110,111) pmk'd COUVA B/NO 6 90 to Bishop Auckland, England arriving A/NO 20 90 being an extremely rare example of quadruple 4d postage but due failure to transit through Port Of Spain (circumstances of interruption not yet established) the 2d registration fee could not be employed resulting in there being no Head Office transit cds, no registration label affixed by Port of Spain, and no hooded REGISTERED LONDON transit cds being all the requirements of secure mail.
Mail left Port of Spain NO 6 1890, arrived Barbados NO 8 1890, arrived Plymouth NO 19 1890 as per RMSP homeward schedule attached.
£350


BRITISH HONDURAS via DUBLIN to GLASGOW postal history
1892 interrupted mail cover with W. BINNEY & Co., Belize colourless embossed flap to Glasgow, Scotland with QV 6c tied "0" obliterator with BELIZE A/JA 15 92 despatch, postmarked DUBLIN FE 2 92 and on reverse GLASGOW FE 3 93 arrival.
£175



VICTORIOUS "PORTLAND" RAN AGROUND in RIVER SHANNON and STRANDED, ANTIGUA INTERRUPTED PACKET MAIL
This entire is headed “Antigua 28th Octr 1796” and marked “by Portland packet” from the Tudway correspondence to Wells, Somersetshire with handstruck S:KITTS rated 2/- changed 3/2. The “Portland” had left Falmouth with the mails for the Leeward Islands on AU 29 1796 and when off Barbados was attacked by a French privateer in which she beat off the attacker and preserved the mails. The Cook, William Thomson, lost a leg during the fighting and subsequently died of his injuries. In calm seas, near Guadeloupe, another armed privateer, the “Temeraire”, of much superior force gave chase. At daylight on October 18th the enemy hoisted her French colours and came alongside to board. The Master, Nathaniel Taylor, organised the passengers to open their musquetry upon her killing or wounding 41 of 68 on board. Captain Taylor was killed in the moment of victory. The “Temeraire” was taken into Montserrat as a prize, and the “Portland” left St. Kitts on 30th October bound Falmouth. Due a shortage of fresh water she put into the River Shannon on the west coast of Ireland on 6th January 1797. Sailing shortly after she had to put back because of bad weather, and whilst sheltering she was driven from her moorings and higher up the river ran aground. Stranded and waiting to be refloated on the Spring Tides she eventually arrived at Falmouth on 25th March. In the interim the Mate, Richard Leonard, personally took the mails from Limerick to London and they were placed in the post JA 14 97 per backstamp. This is the first recorded “Portland” interrupted mail entire clearly documenting its journey. The full story can be found in “The History of the Sailing Packets to the West Indies” by Len Britnor Pages 72-73 published by the BWI Study Circle 1973.
£2250

CHOLERA CHISEL SLITS and VINEGAR SPLASHING, Nevis to St. Christopher postal history
1854 NEVIS to ST. CHRISTOPHER disinfected against cholera: two entires, both with contents, written in the same hand addressed to Wigley & Burt in neighbouring Basseterre. First with no dateline or indication of origin heavily splashed with a disinfection agent, probably vinegar, and showing two 1¼ inch chisel slits spaced approximately two inches apart having been applied from reverse (penetrating through enclosure and envelope face) conforming with the officially prescribed methods of treatment of the period. Almost certainly written during the 1853/54 cholera outbreaks which spread through the islands leaving 3,920 dead in St. Christopher; 4,000 dead in Trinidad, and over 20,000 in Barbados. Exact dates for the outbreak are not established but a letter from Jamaica dated FE 24 1854 states upwards of ten cases of cholera in Kingston. The second entire, both written by Charles Kenney, is date-lined Nevis 8th July 1854 and was delivered without disinfection as the cholera epidemic had evidently abated by this date. Due the Royal Mail Steamer calling fortnightly, correspondence between the two islands could be exchanged swifter by means of private sloop. Neither entire shows indication of Post Office charge or private conveyance fee. Examples of disinfected mail from one Caribbean island to another are seldom encountered - this being the only recorded entire treated by both splashing and chisels slits which counts as interrupted mail. An marvellous eye-catching exhibition item.
British Parliamentary Papers state St. Kitts escaped the cholera of 1853, while it prevailed in the adjacent island of Nevis, from which it is distant only six miles. A strict quarantine has been kept up, nothing being allowed to land from Nevis except letters, which were first fumigated … Communication continued the whole time, but St. Kitts remained unscathed for many months after its cessation in the adjacent island.
£1650
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