Friday, July 18, 2008

Urgent Rifle Brigade Cover 1947

Shown is a turned cover (disassembled, turned inside out and reassembled for use) sent via the French military postal service in Indo-china. Based on the My Tho back stamp, the year was 1947. A hand stamp in the upper left reads "KHAN (Urgent)". In the lower right is the unit cachet of a rifle brigade.

I am less familiar with French material than Vietnamese and I have a couple of questions that I am hoping readers can answer.

1) Is the notation in the upper left corner a shorthand return address (M919/4B)?

Philippe Drillien writes,
I do not think it's a return address. According to the French regulation, every French administration must own two books . In the first one, you must write, every day, all the mail you receive; each mail is given a number of arrival; often, the number is preceded or followed by one or more letters. Usually, the letter concerns the service or the name of the addressee. The second book is for the mail you send and works according to the same way. M919/4B could mean:

It is the 919th mail registered by the secretary M. It has been written by 4B

2) The last word in the top portion of the unit cachet is unclear (after Tirailleurs). Perhaps Algeriens?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

QUAN-BUU 1 Postmark 1956

In my article, Vietnam 1955: Military Postal History in a Year of Transition, in the March 2008 issue of the Indo-china Philatelist, I referenced numeric QUAN BUU markings 1,2,4,5 and 8, in addition to the number '7' marking that was the primary subject of the article.

Shown is a tan registered mailing receipt from a sender at KBC 4218 within I Corps.

The pink form appears to be a declaration of value for the contents of the letter. Of note is the QUAN BUU 1 postmark on the back of the form, dated 26 November 1956.

The abbreviation "CTTT" in the address on the pink form is spelled out in the address on the tan form as "Cong Thu va Tao Tac." This roughly translates as "Corps of Engineers". "Cong Thu" literally means "government buildings" and "Tao Tac" literally means "buildings and construction." (Thanks, Vinh for decoding these!)