Lot #: 133965

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WWII British military mail in Palestine - Italy enters War: 10 JUNE 1940 airmailed green honour envelope from FPO 123 (SARAFAND) to CLEETHORPES, franked 25m using Mandate pictorials & tied by 2 strikes of FPO postmark + air mail etiquette; as per 25m rate used, the cover was to be carried by Italian Ala Littoria airlines (Imperial Airlines charged 60m in this period & the KLM route ceased as of 10 May) on what should have been its last day of service as Italy entered the war on the same day (declaring war at 16:30 in the afternoon, but with the declaration only taking effect at midnight of the 10th-11th). Proud notes that British military mail was carried both by British and foreign carriers including Ala Littoria. However as per a Palestine Post report from the 9th, the carrier's offices in Haifa were closed since the day before (Saturday) and appeared closed "indefinitely" - a pattern similar to route changes made by the carrier in the East Mediterranean in early June (ref: Robert Clark "The Horseshoe Route June 1940 - February 1942", chapter 4 pg. 4-6).
As such the cover missed transport by Ala Littoria and was handled by British services: it was transferred to ALEXANDRIA Egypt and taken with other UK-bound mail which had been 'dumped' there by Imperial Airways flight SW 246 on 10 June (Clark, Ch.3 p.4-5 - illustrates similar type cover), and from there flown the next day to CAIRO by either of 2 special repositioned flights, the flying boats 'Castor' or 'Cambria'; from there, a week later, again on either of these special flights, the cover was transported south to DURBAN, arriving on either 21 or 23 June, and then transported by sea on the 'Capetown Castle' (Clark, Ch.2 p.10-11), making this the last air mail prior to the 1st mails sent on the new 'Horseshoe Route'. As shown in Clark such mail was not taxed though it was franked less than the 60m BOAC rate.
Cover passed censor #1024 in Palestine; vertically folded; opened roughly at back, complete. From July 1940, British military post from Palestine was franked using British stamps. Rare and important postal history.