Q111 December, 2012   member 517   OAS FPO cover

The cover was posted free from "FIELD POST OFFICE 235" on 26 Feb 45, and mailed to Jerusalem. According to Collect British Postmarks by J TWhitney, FPO 235 was in Italy or Sicily. The cover arrived in Egypt next day, and received an Egypt Postage Prepaid "IT PAYS TO LEND" cogwheel slogan machine cancel dated 27 Feb 45.

The sender lined though the "BY AIR MAIL" corner card, so if it travelled by surface vessel, it must have been dispatched right away. Two days later, on 1 Mar 45, it received an "ARMY BASE POST OFFICE 4" postmark. According to Whitney, ABPO 4 was in Egypt.

The front of the cover has two censor marks: the purple shield, which may have been applied at the base of departure (in Italy?), and the round handstamp DEPUTY CHIEF FIELD CENSOR. Both are struck as usual in purple. The cover was opened for inspection then resealed with the censor label, which is tied by the round censorship marking.

Perhaps it was opened at ABPO 4, because the censor tape covers a portion of the Egypt prepaid machine cancel on the back. The cover was then sent on to Jerusalem and arrived on 6 Mar 45. The cover also has a purple numeral 205 in a double circle across the back flap consisting of a thick outer ring and thinner inner ring. I'd like to find out where this was applied and what it signifies. It may have been applied at the FPO of origin. The writer may have submitted it unsealed; it was examined, then the examiner sealed the flap and stamped it with the number 205 in double circle. Is there precedent for this?


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