Trinidad Censor Mark on US Label

A place to discuss censored mail from World War II

Re: Trinidad Censor Mark on US Label

Postby dannmayo » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:32 pm


I have looked at the scans, read all the replies, and checked the Trinidad and Bermuda sections of the CCSG BWI catalog (2016 edition), as well as the PC66/90 database.

I think that these things are clear.

The 5579 label is a US device applied in New York

IE is the Imperial letter code for Trinidad, and was in use well before this cover was sent

8070 in the British system is recorded only for Trinidad

6180 in the British system is recorded only for Bermuda

the manuscript docketing on the back of the cover is consistent with Trinidad censorship

the 37 days between the postmark in Argentina and the NY backstamp is way more than usual

Trinidad would have been the appropriate stopping point for Argentine-US airmail

Mihran Chalukian is a name associates with the Armenian Congregational Church in Argentina

Under the terms of the agreement reached between US, Canadian and British Imperial censorship in January 1942, censorship in NY would have been appropriate as this was US-terminal mail. An exception might have been if the sender or recipient was on a watch or black list in the transit country

The following points are my analysis.

I have no evidence to support the idea that NY had censors in either Trinidad or Bermuda, or vice versa. I do know that some censors from Bermuda traveled to other stations in the West Indies, which might account for how 6180 was in Trinidad.

I believe that the US label was applied first, in NY. A key question to which I do not have an answer is whether the NYPO registry section would hand over a cover to the censorship office without postmarking it. This would perhaps help with the alternative sequences presented below.

I also note a (curious?) lack of US docketing often found on the back of registered covers (various types noted for different stations).

I find it difficult to accept that Trinidad or Bermuda censor stations had more language capabilities than NY, so I am inclined to reject that this cover was sent back to Trinidad for language reasons.

The best explanations that I can come up to account for the above facts is as follows:

For some reason this attracted the attention of the censor in Trinidad (possibly including 6180, on TDY there), who transmitted the cover out of the mails to NY (with a possible stop in Bermuda if we do not accept that 6180 was in Trinidad).

In NY censor 5579 resealed the cover (likely received with accompanying notes from Imperial censors 6180 and 8070) resealed it and for whatever bizarre reason added the Imperial censor numbers to his label. He then turned the cover over to the post office. This might account for the lack of the docketing backstamp routinely applied to registered covers turned over to the NY censor office. (A key question here ---- when did that practice start?)

Alternatively, the NY censor found something sufficiently interesting in the cover to justify him sending it back to Trinidad (out of the mails) where the Imperial censors applied their numbers and sent it back (again outside the mails) for insertion in the mails in NY. I do not like this explanation because I would expect more NY backstamps (of different dates) in this later case. And why would the censor send a cover if he could just send a copy of a submission slip?

Aside from being fascinatingly mysterious, I think this cover is significant for raising the need of a more thorough understanding of the handling (and docketing) of registered mail between the USPO and the various US Office of Censorship field stations. Sadly, my hoard of US censored covers was sold years ago, so I do not have the raw material for such a study, and I am unlikely to acquire more.

Dann Mayo
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:29 am


Return to World War II

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests