04 August 2015

75th anniversary of the historic First Aerial Post 18.2.1986

During the course of his stay in Allahabad, Walter Windham was approached by the chaplain of the Holy Trinity Church in the city. "The respected Clergyman ..... asked me if I could help him to raise funds for the new hostel, and it occured to me that this could be done by inaugurating an aerial post." And thus the idea of the world's first official airplane mail was born. The Postmaster General of the United Provinces, Sir Geoffrey Clarke, and the Director GEneral of the Post Office in India both granted approval for mail to be officially received and specially cancelled prior to transport by one of Windham's planes. The public was invited to deliver stamped and addressed mail to the chaplain of the Church, enclosing either six-pense or six annas with each letter to be posted by air. Or it was possible to hand a letter to a Postal Official at the ten hanger at the parade ground, paying the extra cost at that time. The special mail flight was actually made on February 18, 1911, two days earlier than planned. Thousands of Indian citizens viewed Pequet's takeoff, as did United Provinces' Governor, Sir John Hewett and his wife. Flying one of the two Sommer-type biplanes from the parade ground, Pequet made history by carrying approximately 6,500 letters and cards on the first authorise airmail flight. The flight itself, for reasons of safety and convinience, was limited to about 5 miles, Pequet coming down near the jail in the town of Naini, on the outskirts of Allahabad. Here the mail was turned over to postal officials for surface transport to determinations all over the world. Pequet's journey to Naini had required all of 13 minutes. The special Postmark used on the Allahabad mail was quite distinctive. The die for it was designed by Walter Windham, showing the silhoutte of a biplane in flight over the mountains of Asia. The Postmark was made at the postal works in the city of Aligarh and was reported to have been destroyed immediately after Piquet's mission was accomplished.

Please read my post dated 21st September 2014 on the 50th Anniversary of the First Aerial Post in the World.

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