4th April 2023 Netherlands East Indies Postal History – John Jackson

On Tuesday April 4th 2023 Banbury Stamp Society welcomed John Jackson who presented his collection of ‘Netherlands East Indies Maritime Mail’.  The modern Republic of Indonesia is a scattered archipelago between Australia and Southeast Asia.  It was first colonised by the Dutch in the early 17th century starting with Java and then spreading to other islands, making Holland rich in the process.  John’s display started in the 19th century when the Dutch used the British Post office, setting up postal agencies in Singapore and Penang so that mail could travel on the P & O steam packets.  Most mail was sent in sealed bags, but some items received a transit postmark.  We moved on to air mail during WWII.  At the start of the war, Holland was neutral and so KLM’s airmail service continued up to the German invasion in May 1940.  After this, mail was routed via Russia, Japan or Persia which could take several months.  The service was eventually suspended, and the only mail service was provided by the Red Cross, so we finished with mail to and from POW’s and internees.  Next was the railway: Java had a significant rail network, largely to transport produce to the ports for export.  It was also used for carrying mail on travelling post offices and we saw a range of cancels from these.  We finished with mail from the military excursions needed to maintain control, with field post office mail from regions such as Aceh in the north of Sumatra in 1873 and Bali in 1906.

The next presentation evening will be on ‘GB Postal History from Pre-Stamps to QEII’ on Tuesday 18th April 2023 at 7:30pm at the Hanwell Fields Community Centre. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’ or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.