BULLETIN 134  -  March 2005


  New discoveries – Léo Tavano

 25 centimes 1915 – Inkissi F alls

Frame plate III1 in combinations C and D

 The frame plate in sheet position #34 in all states of combinations III1+C and III1+D has a very distinct ‘southwest/northeast aligned stroke’.It is so prominent that it is surprising it hasn’t been recorded before. (Fig.1.)


50 centimes 1915 – Railway over M’Pozo

New combination III+B2



                                                 Figure 2.  (#33 Plates III+B1)                                    Figure 3. (#33 Plates III+B2)

Here we have an important new discovery, giving rise to the identification of a new centre plate ‘B2’ (Fig.3). The new state is identifiable only in positions 31 and 33 and is confirmed by ‘light’ doubling of the lower hillside. It is more easily detected and slightly more positive in #33.  

Much less prominent is doubling of the left hand precipice side. 

(I found this latter particularly difficult and at the time of publication am still trying to identify it! It seems not long ago that Ray Keach found his eyes no longer performing well and passing everything to the much younger Brian Hudson for sorting and verification. I have now got to this stage and on occasions dependant on the likes of Leo. - Ed)  

‘The first printing of ‘III + B1’ was used in the Congo and the remaining stock surcharged E.A.A.O.B.

The second combination ‘B2’ was created by the re-entry of the centres of stamps 31 and 33. This printing was initially used in the Congo , subsequently surcharged ‘5c.’ for the Malines ( London ) of 1922 and also overprinted E.A.A.O.B’.


OAT and AV2 - markings on Covers

By – Alan Morvay

OAT and AV2 markings have fascinated collectors for decades. The research of them is an evolving study.

The ‘OAT’ initials were used as an acronym for ‘Onward Air Transmission’. Nineteen basic types were used between 1940 and 1965.


Figure 1 - OAT - Type IV

‘AV2’ was an abbreviation for ‘Avion 2’, which was one of various ‘UPU forms’ that accompanied international mail in transit. It is now known that twenty-four basic types of this were in use during the period 1940 to 1956. In comparison with the number of OAT marks, these are much scarcer as less than a tenth of that number were used on covers from the Belgian Congo.

Figure 2 -   AV2 - Type 6

The ‘AV2’ was applied to ‘small quantities of mail’, which were collected into bundles or packets, and sent from one country to another in a sealed bag or pouch.


“Where there was insufficient airmail to one or more countries to justify the use of individual bags to each, such mail would be tied into bundles or packets and labelled for each destination.


A number of packets to different destinations would be put into a single mailbag, which was then labelled and despatched to a post office in a country where the ongoing routes to the individual destination countries converged. These offices were known as ‘Exchange Offices’. On arrival at the ‘Exchange Office’, the bag would be opened and the individual packets re-bagged, either to be reopened and re-dispatched again further down the line, or dispatched as airmail from other locations to its final destination country in a sealed closed bag.

The initial despatch, and any later despatches which led to a bag being opened ‘en route’ was known as an open (à découvert) airmail and it is to such mail alone that the OAT and AV2 markings relate.”[1]


The most common usage of OAT marks, ‘Type VI’ (Fig. 3) and ‘Type VII’ (Fig.4.) was from Belgium and the Belgian Congo to the U.S.A.


                                                        Figure 3.                                                                                       Figure 4.

                                                      OAT – Type VI                                                                            OAT – Type VII

Figure 5 illustrates the use of OAT ‘Type IX’ and Figure 6 the use of ‘Type XI’.


                                                           Figure 5.                                                                                          Figure 6.

                                                       OAT – Type IX                                                                               OAT – Type XI

Others, such as OAT ‘Type I’ and OAT ‘Type IV’ (Fig.1) are much more uncommon.

 As stated above the use of the AV2 markings on Belgian Congo covers is much less common than the use of the OAT ‘s. Figure 2 illustrates the AV2, ‘Type 6’.

 Former and now deceased members of the Study Circle , Arthur Heim and Hilda Yeidel, were early pioneers in this research. The previously published article by Arthur Heim (Bulletin 21) was based on the original research by Dr. Gordon Ward, F.R.P.S.L., and that of Donald D. Smyth’s 1962 A.P.S. study, of about 300 covers. Thirty-six years later Murray Heifetz wrote ‘OAT and AV2 Markings’ updating this initial research. It is based on the study of over 2400 OAT and over 1000 AV2 covers. This book is now in its second edition and can be obtained from Greg Schmidt. [2]

 I wish to acknowledge and thank Murray Heifetz and Emile Hoorens for their help in making this article possible and Stuart Smith for providing coloured illustrations from his collection.

 [1] M. Heifetz, OAT and AV2 Markings. 2nd edition 2000, p.5-6

[2] Greg Schmidt, American Airmail Society, 1978 Fox Burrow Ct. , Neenah , WI 54956-1184 . U.S.A.

Censorship – ‘Transmission impossible!

By – Emile Hoorens

Transmission impossibleIllustrated is an airmail registered letter sent on 23rd September 1942 from Buta to Switzerland . It is notable and unusual in many respects and finally raises a question



* The PAR AVION label is cancelled in green ink.


* It was first censored in the Belgian Congo with the two line cachet ‘CENSURE DU CONGO BELGE / BUREAU DE BUTA’


* The second censorship was in the Gold Coast with yellow/brown tape “Opened by Examiner – GOLD COAST”


* Circular ‘CASABLANCA-POSTES 6-12 42’ transit mark, white censorship tape with “CONTROL POSTAL ” and oval cachet ‘OUVERT / PAR LES / AUTORITÉS DE CONTRÔLE’.


* French post office TANGER CHERIFIEN 19-12 42’ transit and the following day an oval ‘REGISTERED / 20 DE 42 / BRITISH. P.O. TANGIER.


* Thence across the straights to Gibraltar where it received the oval ‘REGISTERED / 4PM / 21 DE 42 / GIBRALTAR, and was resealed by British censorship tape ‘OPENED BY EXAMINER – I.A./6181’


* It arrived in France ; probably having passed through Spain . The German single circle ‘Oberkommando der Wehrmacht X’ was applied in Paris .


* The letter finally arrived in ‘COUSSET’ 3rd February 1943

In summary it is interesting that:  

  1. It is the only letter I have seen that crossed so many African borders before arriving at its destination in Europe .
  2. Five different Censors opened the letter.
  3. The journey took 4 months and 10 days.

(No doubt justification of the annulled Airmail sticker – Ed.)

  1. Having been opened in both Gold Coast and Gibraltar it is apparent the British Censors didn’t trust each other! It is understandable they didn’t trust the French, who were not all on De Gaulle’s side.

Q uestion

Who, where and why was the one line cachet ‘Acheminement impossible’ applied?  

(The type style appears German; the ink is apparently the same colour as the ’Wermacht X’ - Ed.)


Poste Militaire – A stampless cover

By – Alan Morvay

Figure 1.

Figure 1. illustrates a stampless cover posted on 5th August 1941. Addressed to the Red Cross in Geneva . It travelled via Leopoldville , Coquilhatville, was subsequently opened by British censors and bears ‘Censure Militaire N°3’ cancels but has no postage stamps. It has been in my collection for about 20 years and I was always curious about its history. A letter from Emile Hoorens revealed all and what follows is a summary of what he had to say:


After the outset of W.W.II, Belgium became occupied by German troops in May 1940. The Belgian Congo entered the war in August of that year following declaration of Italy ’s alliance with Germany .


        Congolese troops – native soldiers with European officers – were trained and subsequently in conflict with Italian             troops who had occupied South Ethiopia

In October 1940 a ‘2 circles’ cancellation POSTE MILITAIRE / CONGO BELGE N°4 was used for troops based in Watsa, North East Belgian Congo. In February 1941, a first contingent was sent to Sudan and Abyssinia . As from July 1941 they used the ‘2 circles’ stamp with N°3, (Fig. 2) until the end of December that year at which time the troops returned to the Congo .


                                                Figure 2.                                    Figure 3.                                            Figure 4.

Initially, letters from Sudan were endorsed with Sudanese stamps and censorship was carried out by a senior officer – some time later verified using the ‘3-line cachet illustrated in Fig.3. This censorship was made in accordance with British requirements and not those of any Ethiopian authority

I have in my collection several Belgian Congo stamps cancelled by the ‘Poste Militaire Congo Belge N°3 and N°4’ in Ethiopia (These do not reproduce satisfactorily in the Bulletin – Ed) and a nice ‘N°4’ used in Nigeria on British stamps (Fig.4).

I have in my collection several Belgian Congo stamps cancelled by the ‘Poste Militaire Congo Belge N°3 and N°4’ in Ethiopia (These do not reproduce satisfactorily in the Bulletin – Ed) and a nice ‘N°4’ used in Nigeria on British stamps (Fig.4).

“A cover with Postes Militaires Congo Belge N°4 dated 1st September1941. It was sent from Watsa and has three different censorship tapes. There is a green and white Sudanese censorship tape on the left side of the cover, a British censorship tape on the bottom of the cover and a scarce ‘Censure Militaire Congo Belge censor tape on the right side of the cover.


The ‘Postes Militaires Congo Belge N°4’ canceller was used in Watsa from June to October 1941, in Nigeria from March to September 1942 and in Moyen Orient from April 1943 to November 1944.”

Figure 5.


                   Emile R. Hoorens




                   Emile R. Hoorens

                   Robert Kinsley


Foreign Censor Marks – continued

 The French Colonies

By – Walter Deijnckens



“As a result of my request for information about foreign censor marks on Belgian Congo related correspondence – this contribution is the third in an evolving series.

Many new examples have been reported and several scanned or photocopied illustrations received. The response has been both helpful and much appreciated but unfortunately not all examples lend themselves to clear reproduction. For that reason it is not possible to illustrate examples of all now on record, but I hope that your appetite will be whet and any member with clear examples will let me have them so that they may be added to our ‘data base’ and included in later articles in this series.


I am particularly grateful to Alan Morvay for the vast amount of material sent for examination and also the additional contributions from Jean Oth, Stuart Smith and Michael Wright.”

French Equatorial Africa   (Afrique Equatoriale Française)


Contrôle Postal – Commission A -

Censor mark used at Brazzaville


Cover 1.

     The cover illustrated above bears the following marks:

i.                     A sharp edged oval ‘OUVERT / PAR / L’AUTORITÉ MILITAIRE’. (Fig.1).

ii.                   Round edged oval ‘OUVERT / PAR LES / AUTORITÉS DE CONTRÔLE’ (Fig.2)

iii.                  Small (very indistinct) single circle A/8

iv.                 Nigerian ‘half moon’ censor mark, type 2. (Fig.3)

v.                   Censor Label – CONTROL POSTAL

vi.                 Other non-reproducible censor labels and cancellations of Brazzaville and Cotonou , Dahomey .



                                Figure 1.                                                       Figure 2.                                          Figure 3.



Cover 2.

    Cover 2, illustrated above shows the use of:

i.                     ‘CENSURE CONGO BELGE’ stamp of Leopoldville .

ii.                   Large 2 circle CONTRÔLE POSTAL (AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANÇAISE) Commission A’  (Fig.4) – applied at Brazzaville

iii.                  Large 2 circle CONTRÔLE POSTAL (AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANÇAISE) Commission B’ (Fig.5) – applied at Pointe Noire

iv.                 Small single circle ‘B/1’. (Fig.6)

v.                   Censor tape ‘Afrique Equatorial Française et Cameroun / CONTROLE POSTAL’  (Fig.7)

Other recorded censor marks used at Brazzaville are:

i.             Small single circle ‘A/5’ (Fig. 8)

ii.           Small single circle ‘A/1’ (Fig. 9)

iii.          Two-line ‘CONTROL/POSTAL’

iv.         Publicity/advertising rubber stamp (Fig.10) (Frame size approx. 48x32mm)


Ref. (ix) - This advertisement for a victory loan exists in two forms, one inscribed ‘Souscrivez a L’Emprunt de Victoire Schrijf in op de Overwinningsleening’ and the other with the Dutch word ‘Teeken’ replacing ‘Schrijf’.


                            Figure 4.                             Figure 5.                                                             Figure 7.


                       Figure 6.                             Figure 8.                 Figure 9.

    Figure 10.  

Contrôle Postal – Commission B - Censor mark used at Pointe Noire

      Cover 2 - illustrates the use of:


 Contrôle Postal – Commission C - Censor mark used at Libreville ( Gabon )

 A large 2-circle ‘CONTRÔLE POSTAL Commission C’ censor mark is known to exist but no example is available for illustration.

Contrôle Postal – Commission E - Censor mark used at Bangui

A large 2-circle ‘CONTRÔLE POSTAL (AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANÇAISE) Commission E’ is recorded as well as a small single circle ‘E/1’ (Fig. 11)

Figure 11.

Contrôle Postal – Commission G - Censor mark used at Port Lamy ( Chad )

 A large 2-circle CONTRÔLE POSTAL (AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANÇAISE) Commission G’  (Fig.12) and cancel of Port Lamy is recorded 14 July 1941.

The letter on which the above transit mark was applied, originated from Leopoldville 26 May 1941 and was received in Brazzaville 27 May. It also bears the ‘sharp edged oval censor’ (as Fig.1) as well as the ‘small circle’ A/1 (Fig. 9) and an incomplete large 2-circle ‘CONTRÔLE TÉLÉGRAFIQUE Commission’ cancellation

Figure 12.

Contrôle Télégraphique – Commission A - Censor mark used at Brazzaville

 In total, five covers have been examined and in addition to marks already referred to, the one common to all is ‘CONTRÔLE TÉLÉGRAFIQUE Commission A’. No example is available for illustration.


French West Africa   (Afrique Occidentale Française)

Contrôle Télégraphique – Commission G - Censor mark used at Cotonou

Figure 13.

This is recorded as a transit mark applied at Cotonou February 1941 and was illustrated on cover (Bulletin 133, p10). A further, somewhat blurred illustration is shown in Fig.12.


 Cameroon  (Territoire du Cameroun)

Contrôle Postal – Commission A - Censor mark used at Doula

 Four covers have been seen of which the following is a summary of cancellations and marks recorded:


         Figure 14.                                                            Figure 15.

i.                             Large 2-circle CONTRÔLE POSTAL (TERRITOIRE DU CAMEROUN) Commission A’  (similar to Fig.14). Recorded in use             May1942 to April 1943.

ii.                           Label – ‘CONTROLE POSTAL MILITAIRE’. (Fig.15) Recorded in use May 1942 to April 1943.

iii.                          ‘Territoire du Cameroun Commission A Contrôle’ censor mark as a wheel round a Brazzaville single

                circle A/5. (Fig.8)


Contrôle Postal – Commission B - Censor mark used at Yaounde


i.                     Large 2-circle CONTRÔLE POSTAL (TERRITOIRE DU CAMEROUN ) Commission B’ (Fig. 14) recorded in use, January to April 1942.

ii.                   Label – ‘CONTROLE POSTAL MILITAIRE’. Recorded on a cover from Elisabethville to Douala 22 April 1943. (Fig.15)


  Togo   (Territoire du Togo)


Censor mark recorded February 1941 (Fig.16)

Figure 16.


Note – Whilst in many cases illustrations of postmarks, cancellers etc. are approximately similar in size to the originals, they should never be considered as accurate or used for reference or comparative purposes. In concluding this series of articles it is intended to confirm as far as possible the precise dimensions referred to.



Is this a new canceller? - MANDAT de POSTE

Communication from - Andrew Ramsey

While studying some old ‘Postal Mandats’ I came across a cancellation (Fig.1) which is not listed in Cellis’ book ‘La Philatélie de Transition’. The cancellation would seem to be an updated form of H&K’s type 17, a type specifically intended for use by the ‘Bureau de Cheques Postaux’.


Figure 1.

Question – Has anyone come across this? Please get in touch if you have.

(Andrew’s particular ‘ Congo ’ interests are post Independence and he has a considerable accumulation of ‘Mandat de Poste’ certificates, which must be an invaluable reference source to postmark collectors. Having no personal knowledge of these ‘Mandats’ I asked Andrew to explain their purpose and hope the information that follows is useful to others. Ed

The ‘Mandat de Poste’ (Fig.2, sides ‘a’ and ‘b’) functions as the equivalent of a British Postal Order except that the format is different. The major difference from the U.K. system is that having paid the money to the Post Office, you don’t take it away with you and arrange your own delivery to the recipient – the Post Office retains it and delivers directly to the address declared on the Mandat.


From memory, the original format was in three sections, each divided by perforations. The first of these is for the sender on payment of the required sum (Z19.84 in this case) and is his receipt. The one illustrated was cancelled at Mbandaka 1 (previously Coquilhatville) with the I.7 – CEL/C cancel, dated 03.05.73.


The remaining two sections, still joined, are then sent by the post office to the appropriate office according to the address written on the Mandat by the sender. The address in this instance is “Procurer de la République, c/o Parquet de 1e Instance, Mbandundu”. (Note the writer made an error, as the official spelling is Bandundu.)


Figure 2.   (Side ‘a’)                                           (Side ‘b’)

On arrival at its destination, the receiving office applies its cancel in several places (in this case the Bandundu I.2/-, dated 07.05.73 was used) and the 2nd section of the Mandat is detached and put in the recipient’s post box as notification. If the Mandat has to pass through several different post offices ‘en route’, then each will apply its cancel to the Mandat.


When the recipient calls at the destination post office he is paid the appropriate sum and he signs the 3rd section. In the illustration, being an official government office, the recipient has also applied the official stamp. The post office cancels this third section again (here dated 09.05.73) and keeps it as its proof of payment. It is just this 3rd section, retained by the post office that is illustrated in figure 2.



Airport Cancellers c.1970

By – Andrew Ramsey

Figure 1.


When referring to the Kinshasa Airport cancellations in George Cellis’ ‘Les Bureaux de Poste du Zaire’, he writes that ‘this office, apparently not mentioned in any lists, is probably the one that gave rise to the following two offices, going by the types of cancellers and by the dates:

-         Kinshasa 24 (at the airport, accessible to the general public)

-         Kinshasa CTT (the sorting and transit office, not accessible to the public and situated behind Kinshasa 24)’  

Effectively he is suggesting that around 1970, the Kinshasa airport office was split into two (one open to the public and the other not), and that the functions of the former Airport were divided between them.

 Those collecting post-independence material may be interested to see (Fig.1) a 1976 cover in my collection  - that is after the airport was split into two - which has both the older canceller as well as the newer Kinshasa 24. Presumably the history of the cover is that it was accepted at the postal counter open to the public to send ‘registered’ to Ohio , USA on 22nd November 1976.  It was duly cancelled with the then current Kinshasa 24 canceller (I.7-CEL/-), and with an extra cancel on the reverse as required for a registered article.

Figure 2.

Interestingly, the cover must have then passed to the ‘back office’ where it received the normal transit mark for registered items. However, the canceller used was the older Kinshasa I.6-6 and not the I.7-OEL that one would have expected. This has resulted in the two cancels being very nicely next to each other, and they are both quite clear (Fig.2).

What is not apparent is whether this would have been applied in the Kinshasa 24 office or in the Kinshasa CTT office. - the old Kinshasa Airport cancellers could have been found in either!


                        Figure 3a.                                                                                                                Figure 3b.

We can see from the other transit marks on the reverse (Fig.3’a’ and ‘b’), that it took eight days to get to Ohio and despite the sender having paid the extra money for registration, it actually travelled in the ordinary mail.


Question answered ?

In Bulletin #130 Ed Lavitt told us of an ‘Interesting Card’ purporting to have Lado connections. There appeared to be no satisfactory explanation of its travels though Ray Keach had managed to concoct a theory. One thing for certain, it remained a mystery!

Whilst not wishing to put a damper on things, Lado related stationery carries a premium but what value is placed on an apparently mischievous and contrived item is anyone’s guess. L’Abbé Gudenkauf reminded us of the ‘Dubious and Forged cancels on covers from the Lado Enclave’ in his article (Bulletin 40, June 1981).  This appears to fall into the ‘Dubious’ category.

 Mr. L.Tavano offers the following suggested and simple explanation:

 ‘A ‘manipulative collector’ living in Buta sent the ‘self-addressed manufactured’ card (under cover) to his pen- pal in Boma. By request, his pal simply posted it back to Buta through the normal mail.

 The ‘manufactured’ card had been erroneously dated Buta 28 November 1909 and by favour, received the White Nile T.P. cancellation of 31st January 1910.


The routing is simply contrived and mischievous.