mail carried by PAA special missions
We are still a small group but we should get started. The idea is to exchange info, ask questions, find answers. Here is the first one from me.
I am putting a book together that contains most of the information I've found about PAA at the U. Miami PAA Archives. One question that keeps coming up is whether PAA special missions carried USPO mail or just military. It happens that two missions, 6 and 7 if my memory serves, were conducted immediately after the first FAM22 flight in December 1941. These trips followed the same route as the FAM22 inaugural flight but continued on to Karachi, returning the pretty much the same route. The records for those flights show some PO mail and some company mail. Most of the rest of the records, if they have anything about what the cargo was, just say mail.
Of course, just a little later in 1942 the missions became largely shuttles between Brazil and Africa. For many of these there is just one spare letter ordering the captain to follow the route, make as many shuttles and possible and carry mail passengers and cargo.
There is a report in the collection about a guy named Coolord who was sent to set up bases in Brazil and Lagos and later Fisherman's Lake. His report covers Margh 1942 through July 1943 when the shuttles ended using the B314. His report shows amounts of cargo and mail for each month. He just says "mail".
Now, the Trip Summaries that I found all have a collumn for "contract mail" which must have been USPO mail.
Anyway. I'd like your opinions on this.
Not certain, but I don't think any of the SM flights that went to India (#'s 06, 07, 08, 11) used the full F22 route -- they did not go to Leopoldville.
I do have SM 16 (to Seychelles and Diego Garcia) going via Leo.
Source: Xerox of a page from Matt Rodina citing Univ of Miami records.
I wouldn't be surprised if some SM's carried mail simply because there was a war on and protocols got bent in order to "get the job done."
Am very weak on the mechanics of APO/FPO mail interface with USPOD; of course APO/FPO mail from overseas was handled by the armed forces until it hit the CONUS. I do know that some foreign military mail was carried by U. S. contractors, for example, airgrams home from Australians training in Canada.
Would agree that "Contract mail" was almost certainly USPO mail.
Look forward to hearing more about your book. Great idea.