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Burma Airmail to the United States 1937-1942. Mike Ley-Lincoln Stamp Club. Imperial Airways Only Airline Serving Burma. Imperial Airway Routes 1937. Air to England, Surface to the United States. Imperial Airways to London, Steamer Southampton to New York, Train to Chicago.

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Burma Airmail to the United States 1937-1942

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Burma airmail to the united states 1937 1942 l.jpg

Burma Airmail to the United States 1937-1942

Mike Ley-Lincoln Stamp Club


Imperial airways only airline serving burma l.jpg

Imperial AirwaysOnly Airline Serving Burma


Imperial airway routes 1937 l.jpg

Imperial Airway Routes 1937


Air to england surface to the united states l.jpg

Air to England, Surface to the United States

Imperial Airways to London, Steamer Southampton to New York, Train to Chicago

3 ½ annas UPU postage 1st oz. + 6 annas air fee per ½ oz. = 9 ½ annas

9 ½ annas = approximately 14 cents


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Short Paid, Paid at the UK Rate

The rate to England was 7 ½ annas inclusive for the first ½ oz.

Marked short paid T 29c. Air Mail endorsement not barred out.


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Air to France, Surface to the United States

Imperial Airways to Paris, Steamer from Cherbourg to New York

A very seldom requested routing.


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Airmail Postcard

2 annas UPU + 2 annas air fee via Imperial Airways to London


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Air to England, Surface to New York, Air in the United States

For an extra 4 annas airmail service was available in the United States

3 ½ annas UPU 1st oz. + 6 annas air fee to England per ½ oz. + 4 annas US air fee = 13 ½ annas


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World War II BeginsSeptember 3, 1939Imperial Airways Air Fee Triples (6 annas to 18 annas)

3 ½ annas UPU 1st oz. + 18 annas air fee ½ oz. = 21 ½ annas

or 1 rupee 5 ½ annas (1 rupee = 16 annas)

From about 14 cents pre war to now about 31 cents


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World War II BeginsUnited States Internal Air Fee Remains Unchanged

3 ½ annas UPU 1st oz. + 18 annas air fee to London + 4 annas US air fee

25 ½ annas or 1 rupee 9 ½ annas


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All Air Route to the United StatesImperial Airways to Pairs, Air France to Lisbon, Pan American Airways to New York. Became Available February 8, 1940.

3 ½ annas UPU 1st oz. + 2 rupees 6 annas air fee per ½ oz. = 2 rupees 9 ½ annas

(about 59 cents)

Service ended in June 1940 with the fall of France.


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Italy Enters the War June 10, 1940The Mediterranean is closed


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Horseshoe Route Airmail to the United States

3 ½ annas UPU 1st oz. + 1 rupee 4 ½ annas air fee per ½ oz.

The air fee was now 2 ½ annas higher than the former air fee to London.


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Horseshoe Route Airmail Postcard to the United States

8 annas inclusive rate. A 3 annas stamp had fallen off prior to the air label being marked out.

“We have a new mail route to the U.S.A.-airmail as far as Durban in S. Africa, thence by land and sea.”


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Pan American AirwaysConnects the US with Hong Kong

In 1937 Pan American Airways established weekly flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong via Honolulu, Wake, Midway, Guam, and Manila.


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Pan American Route San Francisco to Hong Kong


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All Air Trans Pacific Service to the United States Via BangkokOn April 1, 1940 British aviation was reorganized and Imperial Airways became BOAC.

BOAC Rangoon to Hong Kong via Bangkok and Hanoi connecting

with the weekly Pan American Airways service to San Francisco.

4 rupees 5 ¾ annas inclusive per ½ oz. = $1

This paid for air service in the United States as well.


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All Air Trans Pacific Service to the United StatesSurface in the United States

For 4 rupees 1 ¾ annas air was only provided as far as San Francisco.

This 4 annas savings was about a 6 cent savings!

The air label should have been defaced at San Francisco.


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All Air Two Ocean Airmail to EnglandAttempt to use the Cheaper Rate for England to the United States

On September 23 the following all air service to England became available: BOAC to Hong Kong; PAA to San Francisco, New York, and Lisbon; BOAC to London.

The rate was 3 rupees 14 annas combined per ½ oz = 89 cents

The left cover shows the service to England.

The cover at right attempts to pay the cheaper rate to England for service to Ohio.

It would seem to make sense since the mail to England

passed through the U.S. anyway but it was marked postage due.


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Imperial Airways/BOAC Shuttle Bangkok to Hong Kong

This shuttle was discontinued in October 1940 due to Japanese diplomatic

pressure to curtail fly-overs of French colonies in Indochina.


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CNAC Service to China

On October 31, 1939 a new weekly service to China had been

introduced from Rangoon to Lashio to a number of points in China by

Chinese National Aviation Corp-CNAC. The rate was 1 rupee 2 ½ annas per ½ oz.

This was used mostly for mail to central and western China.


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CNAC Routes Burma and China

CNAC did fly to Hong Kong and did not fly over Indochina.


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Trans Pacific to the United States via CNAC

In October 1940 a new service was introduced: CNAC to Hong Kong connecting with the weekly Pan American Airways service to San Francisco.

The rate was 5 rupees 13 annas per ½ oz. inclusive = $1.33


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Trans Pacific to the United States via CNAC3 oz. Registered Letter

5 rupees 13 annas X 6 plus 3 annas registration = 35 rupees 1 anna = $8.04

Rangoon Oct 5, 1940. Backstamped: Honolulu October 25, 1940; Philadelphia October 28, 1940; Bridesburg, PA October 29. Flown on the “China” clipper which departed Hong Kong October 16 and arrived San Francisco October 27.


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Reduced Rate to China Via CNAC

Rangoon November 25, 1940; backstamped: Kunming December 2, 1940.

In November 1940 the rate to China via CNAC was lowered to 13 annas per ½ oz.


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Reduced Trans Pacific Rate to the United States

Probably as a result of the lower rate on CNAC to Hong Kong the Trans Pacific rate to the United States was lowered to 4 rupees 5 annas per ½ oz. = 99 cents.


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Reduced Trans Pacific to the United StatesNo Air Service in the United States

For 4 rupees 1 anna air service was only provided to San Francisco.


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Trans Pacific to the United States2 ½ oz. Letter-15 Rupees Stamp Used

4 rupees 5 annas per ½ oz. X 5 = 21 rupees 9 annas


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Trans Pacific Flights to the United States Originating in SingaporeBeginning in May 1941 the weekly PAA service to San Francisco alternated between Singapore and Hong Kong. A shuttle flew between Hong Kong and Manila to catch those flights origination in Singapore.

Churchill Road (Rangoon)-June 30, 1941. Backstamped: Honolulu-July 16, 1941; San Francisco-July 18, 1941; Jersey City-July 19, 1941.

Flown on the clipper “Honolulu” originating in Singapore July 7, 1941.


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Last Day of the 4 Rupees 5 Annas Trans Pacific Rate to the U.S,

Rangoon-July 21, 1941

2 oz. letter. 4 rupees 5 annas per ½ oz. X 4 = 17 rupees 4 annas


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CNAC Rate To China Lowered AgainOn July 22, 1941 the rate to China was lowered from 13 annas to 10 ¾ annas.

Rangoon-August 2, 1941. Backstamped: Embassy of the United States of America Chungking-August 6, 1941


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Reduced Trans Pacific Rate to the United States

On July 22, 1941 the trans Pacific rate to the United States became an air fee of 3 rupees 8 ¾ annas per ½ oz. plus UPU postage 3 ½ annas for the first oz.

UPU postage was 3 ½ oz. annas for the first oz. and 2 annas each additional oz.

The total for a ½ oz. letter was 3 rupees 12 ¼ annas = 82 cents


Reduced trans pacific rate to the united states 2 oz letter 15 rupees on cover l.jpg

Reduced Trans Pacific Rate to the United States2 ½ oz. Letter, 15 Rupees on Cover

Postage 1st oz.=3 ½ annas

2 annas postage each additional oz. X 2=4 annas

Air fee 56 ¾ annas per ½ oz. X 5=280 ¾ annas

Total 288 ¼ annas=18 rupees 3 ¼ annas


Reduced trans pacific rate to the united states 3 oz letter 25 rupees on cover one of 5 known l.jpg

Reduced Trans Pacific Rate to the United States3 ½ oz. Letter, 25 Rupees on Cover (One of 5 Known)

Postage 1st oz.=3 ½ annas

2 annas postage each additional oz. X 3=6 annas

Air fee 56 ¾ annas per ½ oz. X 7=397 ¼ annas

Total 406 ¾ annas=25 rupees 6 ¾ annas


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Air to Hong Kong, Surface to the United StatesA Cheaper Alternative

6 annas postcard rate

Air mail label barred out at Hong Kong


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Air to Hong Kong, Surface to the United States

Back stamped: Victoria, Hong Kong

1 rupee 1 ½ annas per ½ oz. = 25 cents


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Trans Pacific Flights Originating in Singapore ExclusivelyBeginning Oct 16, 1941 the weekly PAA service to San Franciscooriginated in Singapore exclusively. BOAC Rangoon to Singapore.

Rangoon-October 21, 1941


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The Last Trans Pacific FlightThe “China” Clipper, Departed Singapore November 30, 1941,Arrived San Francisco December 6, 1941

Experimental PO R-21 (Burma FPO No. 8)-November 22, 1941

Backstamps: San Francisco-December 6, 1941, Chicago-December 8, 1941


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Missing the Last Trans Pacific FlightThe “Philippine” clipper left San Francisco for Singapore on December 3 and would have been the next plane for mail not making the November 30 flight from Singapore

Lashio-December 1, 1941. Resealing tape applied at San Francisco (Examiner 1539). San Francisco censor station opened December 13, 1941. How did this travel?


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Missing the Last Trans Pacific Flight

Rangoon-December 6, 1941.

Resealing tape applied at San Francisco (Examiner 1618).


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Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor-December 7, 1941At the time of the attack it was already December 8 in Burma

Rangoon-December 8, 1941

The “Philippine” had just left Wake Island for Manila when the attack began.

It returned to Wake and arrived back in San Francisco on December 11.


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The Aftermath of Pearl HarborTrans Pacific Flights never did resume.

Experimental P.O. R-21-December 9, 1941.

Optimistically endorsed and franked for Trans Pacific service.

Backstamps: San Francisco-February 5, 1942 and Washington, DC-February 8, 1942, thus showing this cover still traveled east across the Pacific.


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Important Dates After Pearl Harbor

December 11, 1941 Japan invades Burma from the south.

December 25, 1941 Hong Kong surrenders to the Japanese.

February 6, 1942 BOAC suspends service to Rangoon.

February 15, 1942 Singapore falls to Japan.

February 20, 1942 Burma Base P.O. leaves Rangoon.

March 1, 1942 Burma Base P.O. reopens at Maymyo.

March 7, 1942 The Japanese occupy Rangoon.

April1942 Most post offices not functioning. Service to India from Lashio via CNAC.

April 26, 1942 Lashio is occupied by the Japanese.

May 1942 Nearly all Burma is occupied.


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