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Flight from Malta

Postal rate sources which are normally full of detail are strangely sketchy when it comes to airmail rates from Malta, particularly with regard to destinations in continental Europe.


From readers with evidence of missing rates, scans would be much appreciated.









Starting with the rates we already know...

United Kingdom


To the UK via Brindisi and Paris, an inclusive rate applied. This was 5d for the first half ounce and 4d per subsequent half ounce.


From 15th May 1935, the flown leg of the journey could be made from Brindisi instead of from Paris, so this cover from Cospicua to Southsea might well be a first flight cover.


Below it, also to Southsea, is a double weight cover endorsed Via Tunis, thus using Air France instead of Imperial Airways and for which the rate was 7½d per half ounce, (from 26th December 1935).


A heavier item, (below, left) which demonstrates the need for 5d for the first half ounce, plus 4d for each of three further half ounces, giving a total of 1/5.

Cospicua-Southsea 13/5/35, courtesy of Nick Levinge

To London at 1/5, 12/11/35, courtesy of John Cooper

To Southsea via Tunis 4/1/36, courtesy John Cooper



Three times a week an air service operated between Italy and Tripoli. The rate to Italy was 4d for the first half ounce plus 3d per subsequent half ounce.


The cover here shows the Switzerland rate of 5½d, where onward transmission from Rome would be by train. The reverse boasts a Rome Air Mail transit mark for the day after the Malta cancels.



Below it, however, is another Switzerland bound example, (via Brindisi), but at a 5d rate, (once a further 3d for registration is allowed for).

To Switzerland, air to Rome, courtesy Nick Levinge

To Switzerland via Brindisi, courtesy John Cooper



To France, the inclusive rate was 6d for the first half ounce and 5d per subsequent half ounce.


Examples are hard to find. Perhaps a reader has a scan of one to fill this spot.




This rate would seem to be reflected for elsewhere in Europe…



Following the 6d rate, (+3d registration) is this cover to Denmark. It has cancellations of Air Mail, Malta, for 8pm Fe 6 36 and the handstamp: Par Avion Jusqu’a Roma.

To Denmark (air to Rome), courtesy John Cooper



Also showing the 6d rate, (+3d registration), is this cover from Sliema which carries backstamps of Venezia, Roma and Berlin.


Below it, a heavier cover to Germany at 1/2½d could be demonstrating the same 5d requirement for a subsequent half ounce but ending up overpaying by ½d.

Sliema to Berlin, 26 My 36, courtesy John Cooper

Double weight to Koblenz, Ja 14 36, courtesy John Cooper



Not following suit of the above European destinations is this cover to Czechoslovakia sent at 7d. Decipherable strikes are of Air Mail Malta (19 Aug 1935), Valletta (Aug 19 35), Par Avion Jusqu’a Rome and, on the reverse, Chrudim (23 VIII 35).

To Czechoslovakia, courtesy of John Cooper



Reflecting the rate to Tunis (by air from Malta) of 5½d is this cover of 18 May 1935.


It’s backstamped Gibraltar (24 My 35) and British Post Office Fez (27 My 35). Then British Post Office Fez (2 Sep 35) to the front and, to the reverse, Krag cancel Gibraltar (Sep 3 35).


To Fez, courtesy John Cooper

And for examples going further afield…



This cover to the Royal Navy torpedo depot in Ceylon at 2 shillings and a halfpenny would seem to comprise the rate of 3d registration, 1½d Empire surface first ounce and twice the 10d per half ounce airmail fee for the sub-continent. Backstamps: Brindisi Transit Raccoman (29 5 35) and Colombo registered (6 Jn 35).

Ceylon double weight, courtesy John Cooper



With a rate of 2/4 per 5 grams, in addition to the surface rate and registration fee, this registered Zeppelin cover to Pernambuco would seem to be under franked. Perhaps there was a further 4½d on the reverse.


For the 7th South American flight, the Malta Study Circle records these details: Malta 17 Ju 35, Roma 19 Ju 35, Stuttgart 23 Ju 35, Recife 2 Jl 35.

Zeppelin, courtesy of a member of the Silver Jubilee Study Circle



Nick Levinge has pointed out that there is a further rate to UK. It is that of by air to Italy and thence by train at a rate of 3d for the first half ounce and 2½d per subsequent half ounce. A scan of such an example would be gratefully received.

With many thanks for their help to John Cooper, Nick Levinge, Neil Donen and, from the Malta Study Circle, Rodger Evans.

AJA - June 2018

Some previous articles are available as PDF's by clicking their titles below:


    "Bridging Barbados" - The postmarks of Barbados

    "Madame Joseph Forgeries - an Update" - A follow-up to Chris Georgallis's article on Cyprus forgeries

    "Argentinian interference with mail from the Falkland Islands" - by Ralph Riddell-Carre

    “Ceylon Circuit" - Some postmarks of Ceylon

    "Variety Values" - Bruce Davies's campaign to secure values for used examples of varieties

    "Fragmented Fiji" - Some postmarks of Fiji

    "Absentee Rupee" - The Mauritius 1 rupee as a stranger to postal rates

    "Postal Usage of the Egypt Seal" - Nick Levinge looks at the Crowned Circles of the forces bases

    "Over Fifty Shades" - Something wrong with the colour?

    "Ghana Guide" - Some postmarks of Gold Coast

    "Vanuatu Voyage?- A look at Hong Kong used in New Hebrides

    Surfing the Solomon Sea” - The few operating post offices in the Solomon Islands

    “Security Punch” - A look at the Jubilee’s perfins by Jeff Turnbull

    “Morocco Now and Then” - A tour of the British post offices in Morocco

    “Fault lines of the Falklands” - Part two of Ralph Riddell-Carre’s analysis

    “Straddling the Straits” - Some postmarks of the Straits Settlements

    “Set and Match” - Can full set covers be non-philatelic?

    “Boating around The Bahamas” - Some postmarks of The Bahamas

    “Serial Salutes” - Some of the Silver Jubilee’s own anniversaries

    “Mauritius Meanderings” - Some postmarks of Mauritius

    “A Cat among the Penguins” - A suspect Falklands cancel

    “Cycling Cyprus” - Some postmarks of Cyprus

    “Scars of Conflict” - How the Jubilees were affected by war

    “Bech Trek” - Some postmarks of Bechuanaland Protectorate

    “Specimen Specifics” - A look at the various uses of the word SPECIMEN

    “Hong Kong Hike” - Some postmarks of Hong Kong

    “Aden Funnel” - Covers from and through Aden

    “Grenada Guide” - Some postmarks of Grenada

    “In The Frame” - A look at some frame plate flaws

    “Basuto Byways” - Some postmarks of Basutoland

    “Cyprus Cypher” - Chris Georgallis examines the colony’s Madame Joseph forged postmarks

    “Trinidad Tour” - Some postmarks of Trinidad & Tobago

    “Commercial Ceylon” - A look at the perfins of the colony

    “Guiana Panorama” - Some less common British Guiana postmarks

    “Where were they then?” - From the more recent stamp-issuing territories

    “Cautious Mauritius” - A variety of Mauritius perfins

    “Madame Joseph’s Masquerades” - Some examples of forged first day covers

    “Tag Wrestling” - A look at the higher postal rates through parcel labels

    “AR” - An article on Avis de Reception by David Handelman

    “The Fleury Flair” - Hugo Fleury’s designs for the Jubilee

    “Split the Difference” - Some occurrences of bisects among the Jubilees

    “Specimen Fundamentals” - Notes on U.P.U. requirements & some forged examples

    “Windsor Spoofs” - Gerald King’s alternative Jubilees

    “Puncturing Oz” - Some speculations about Australian perfins

    “Perforating the Silver Jubilee Stamps”- An article on GB by Harvey Russell

    “Nauru’s Split Personality”  - Split “B” variety on the 2d value?

    “In Camel’s Clothing” - The Egyptian seal’s booklet

    “Rural Disservice” - The Cyprus low value forgeries

    “Canadian Precancels” - The only precancel involvement with the Jubilee

    “Phoenix-like Sphinx” - Some notes about the Egyptian seal

    “Fag Tax” - Observations on South West Africa’s cigarette duty overprints

    “From the collection of...” - Jubilee items from some illustrious collectors

    “Prize-less Specimens” - Beware of forged specimen stamps

    “Dubious Jubilees” - Spoofs, parodies and bogus overprints