19 april 2024

A ‘luchtbrief’ (air letter, with an imprinted 35c stamp) is not a rare postal item. However, the one pictured here from the Ad de Goede collection (which will be auctioned at René Hillesum Filatelie on 23 September) is special.
Its destination is common place: to Hull in the UK. An NS train letter stamp of 15 cents was added. With this, it was taken by the first train from Culemborg to Amsterdam. This allowed the air letter to travel to Hull on the first available plane.

It rarely happens that one will see a railway express stamp on an air letter.

NS train stamps on non-business mail (not being make-work) are extremely scarce. But then why the rush for this letter writer?
That becomes clear from reading the text.
The air letter was delivered – as instructed – to Culemborg railway station, and there both the stamp image and the NS stamp were stamped with an NS block postmark. The date is 8 February 1953a Sunday.

The letter writer is writing to his girlfriend? in Hull. He had received a letter from her that day in which she was apparently concerned about her friend. This was in connection with the Flood of February 1.
Naturally, the letter writer wanted to inform his friend as soon as possible that everything was under control and that Culemborg was not in the high water area.

A legitimate reason, therefore, to have this air letter brought across the Channel with the greatest urgency.

René Hillesum

René Hillesum

Collector of postal history of Finland and postmarks of Imperial Saint Petersburg.

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