Australien - Briefe 1862
"SAVED FROM THE WRECK OF / THE COLOMBO" postal marking on a "O.H.M.S" AMBULANCE COVER (tear at left) with c.d.s "LONDON PAID JA 3 63" send to LUDWIGSLUST / MECKLENBURG SCHWERIN (arrival on reverse). "Ambulance" covers of the wreck of the Colombo are very unusual, and virtually all the mails were destined for Great Britain. A normal Colombo cover from Victoria to Hamburg was offered at the april 2005 Prestige Philately auction (lot 184) for 5000 AUD = 3000 EUR as "this is the only cover recorded by us to a European destination" The P.& O. Steamer ‘Colombo, whilst on a voyage between Australia and England, struck on Minicoy Island ( India),at the most southern of the Laccadives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean three hundred miles due west of the southern tip of India (near the Maldives), at four o’clock in the morning of 19th November while encountering very heavy monsoon rain. Within a short time the ship was flooded, but all the passengers were safely transferred by lifeboats to the island. They were subsequently rescued by the ‘Ottawa’ on the 30th November. 530 boxes of mail were recovered by divers, mostly over the next 5 weeks, but some were under water for 2 months. Covers emanating from this shipwreck are usually found in very poor condition. Many were so badly damaged that they had to be put in ‘ambulance’ covers and then forwarded to the recipient. All the mail received a boxed two line cachet “Saved from the wreck of / the Colombo” either in red or black ink. This is the first recorded cachet applied to Australasian wreck mail. There appeared to be four different handstamps used, with small variances between them.