Interesting First Flt Imperial Airways


Attached pdf has scans from a 6 Aug 1939 cover posted at Botwood Newfoundland for the first flight of the Imperial Airways transatlantic flight by the aircraft Caribou. I also include the text from Jack Ince's book on Newfoundland rates for that flight. It is postmarked at Botwood and Montreal on 6 Aug 1939 and finally 12 Aug 1939 in St. Johns. The trip included stops at NY, Montreal and Botwood

This cover has 20 cents postage and is NOT registered. According to the Post Office Circular the following should apply:
To England, Ireland         30 c
To Canada                       10c
To USA                            15c

It seems clear that this cover didn't get to England or Ireland. So what does this 20cents cover? Is it just paying for the trip from Botwood to Montreal and back????
Thanks for your help.

David Crotty

Hargreaves Kingston


There was uncertainty at the time of the First Flights, as to how FFCs would be sent from the end of the flight back to the addressee.

It looks like Mr. Jones wanted to be sure that his cover travelled on the First Flight from Botwood to Montreal, and returned on the First Flight from Montreal to Botwood. He therefore paid 10 cents for air to Montreal, and an additional 10 cents for the air mail postage from Montreal back to Botwood.

If this is what he wanted, he was successful. - The Montreal backstamp confirms his cover was carried to Montreal. The return flight left Montreal on August 10th, and arrived in Botwood the same day. This cover then continued by rail to St. John's, where it arrived on August 12th, and the cover was backstamped.

However, it turns out that the extra postage wasn't necessary. - I have a cover from Botwood to Montreal on August 6th franked 10 cents, that was also returned to Newfoundland by the Imperial Airways flight, and backstamped in St. John's on August 12th.