Saturday, June 12, 2010

WW2 Patriotic Slogans on Envelope

Today's post is on two interesting WW2 envelopes used in India. Both of them carry WW2 slogans printed on it.

The first one (shown below) is an used envelope dated 12th January 1943 with a meter franking of "Help The East India Fund For British War Services" with 1-1/2 Anna denomination. This patriotic slogan was used quiet a lot during WW2. One can easily find such franked letters. But what is interesting is that franking is done on top of printed WW2 slogan so I would say it is double bonanza :D As you can see the letter also carries a printed slogan of "During An Air Raid Stay Under Cover".

It is said the East India Fund was established with help of East India Bank located in Calcutta. The fund for British War Services contributed mostly on raising Spitfire squadron. In the beginning it started with hoping to get an aircraft named after the fund only to get a full squadron named after it shortly. Such was the phenomenon response people of India and other British Colonies gave to the fund.

An article found on internet mentions that "On May 22, 1940 the committee of the East India Fund for British war services forwarded to the Air Ministry from Calcutta a cheque for £30,000, with an intimation that they were desirous of contributing as much as possible towards the cost of providing a flight of fighter aircraft which they hoped might be given a special title indicating its association with the East India Fund. The initial equipment of such a flight comprises eight machines and the cost amounts to some £88,000.

This generous gift was gratefully acknowledged by the Air Council, and the committee were informed that arrangements would be made for the flight of Spitfire aircraft which they were hoping to provide to be named The East India Fund Flight, and that this designation would be inscribed on the aircraft of the flight.

On June 16, the committee forwarded a further gift of £10,000; and they have now contributed another £15,000, making £55,000 in all, towards the cost of the initial equipment of aircraft for the East India Fund Flight. The Air Ministry are greatly encouraged by this evidence of the warm interest which the citizens of Calcutta and other parts of Eastern India, both British and Indian, take in the activities and achievements of- the Royal Air Force, and they have sent most grateful acknowledgments."

In fact, immediately prior to its direct involvement in the Battle, 65 Squadron of RAF was honoured by being chosen as the unit which would be sponsored by the East India Fund. On 15th July, 1940 a party including Captain Balfour, the Under Secretary of State for Air, and Mr.R.Hodge representing the East India Fund presented no fewer than eight Spitfires to the Squadron. Despite pouring rain, a fly-past was arranged for the visitors. The Squadron was in future to be known officially as 'No.65 (East India) Squadron', and the Operations Record says that the new name 'looks really wizard painted on the engine cowlings'. Later, the aircraft carried the name in a small rectangle just below the cockpit.

Shown above is another of such envelope which shows pictorial image of an army soldier holding a rifle with slogan "Help Him To Defend You Buy Defence Loans". The envelope was issued by "Bombay Suburban Defence Loans Committee, Santacruz", mentioned on back side. It carries postal cancellation of 11th April 1943 with 9 paisa stamp on it.

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