Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

1911 Aerial Post

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Name Price
1911 Aerial Post £75.00 Limited Availability

Product Information

First UK aerial post, Red-Brown illustration, die 1 postmark


Issue Date: 09/09/1911

Issue Name:

First UK aerial post, Red-Brown illustration, die 1 postmark

The first UK airmail was the brainchild of Sir Walter Windham of the Royal Navy who worked alongside the Grahame White Aviation Company to achieve the feat. The first flight travelled between Hendon and Windsor on September 9th 1911 piloted by Gustav Hamel.

Postal stationery of ½d postcards and 1d envelopes were made available for the public to purchase in a multitude of colours and then carried on the flights. Special mail boxes were established in London, Hendon, and Windsor where the items were posted and franked with a special handstamp. Mail postmarked in London was done with London dies 1-4 whilst those postmarked at Hendon used London dies 5 and 6. There was also a Windsor die 1 and 2 for mail serviced there, but substantially less mail was sent from Windsor and these command a higher price. The die number itself can be found at the bottom of the postmark. Around 40 companies took advantage of the event by printing adverts on the reverse of the postcards, and in some cases overprinted the illustration on the front.

Four pilots were chosen, Gustav Hamel, Evelyn Driver, Clement Greswell, and Charles Hubert, however Hubert broke his legs after a crash at take-off and took no further part. The planes used were two Bleriot monoplanes and one Farman biplane. Gustav Hamel flew the first flight taking off from Hendon at 5.13pm on September 9th 1911 with the 21 mile journey to Windsor taking around 15 minutes. The service was scheduled to run until the 15th with one return trip from Windsor on the 16th, however adverse weather conditions caused delays and a backlog of cards which resulted in the service running until the 26th.

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