Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Vietnamese Merchant Marine School Cover

The date on this cover appears to be 1953. It is definitely from the French period during the early 1950s. The printed return address on this cover reads:

State of Viet Nam
Education Ministry
Vietnamese Sea Transport/Merchant Marine School

According to Vinh Nguyen who served with the Vietnamese Navy:

"This school is where the French trained the Vietnamese to serve in various functions on their ships. This school was later turned over to the Vietnamese and in operation for many years. After the French left Indo-china the South Vietnamese Navy was founded and inherited a number of warships from the French. In order to build up the Navy the government began recruiting mariners from this school."

The recipient was a second mechanic aboard the French ship Pigneau De Bihaine. The address is appended, "Saigon."

The French abbreviation S.M.E.O. means
(thanks Philippe):

S means "Service" (or Society)
M means "Maritime"
E.O means "Extrême Orient"

The red hand stamp reads:

Quoc Gia Viet Nam: "State of Viet Nam"
Hang Hai Hoc Hieu: "Merchant Marine School"
Hieu Truong: "School Principal" (office of).

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