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Link to St. Helena UPU Picture Postcards see link bar left side or click here



St. Helena - Island in the South Atlantic


Royal Mail Ship St. Helena at anchor off Jamestown (Picture Postcard ~2007 and stamp issue 2010)


Jamestown - with kind permission of © Marc Lavaud, http://marc.lavaud.free.fr/marc/ropeaccessthelena/



Banks Battery - with kind permission of © Marc Lavaud,  http://marc.lavaud.free.fr/marc/ropeaccessthelena/





SH is geologically part of an old volcano and is larger than TdC. Currently close to 4200 islanders live in what is a beautiful environment lush with tropical vegetation.  SH


Touristic highlights on the Christmas Issue 2010 as Jacob's Ladder, Dianas Peak, High Knoll Fort and Heart Shaped Waterfall with tropical flowers and orchid


history yields a plethora of topics for any stamp collector or postal historian. Like TdC, SH was discovered by the Portuguese, the first recorded sighting being by navigator Joao da Nova Castella on 21 May, 1502 as he was returning from a visit to India; this sighting fell on the anniversary of St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine.  SH was used for decades as a victualising and health-restoring base by Portuguese sailors but for some reason was abandoned in 1588. Used by many nations in subsequent years, it eventually was annexed by Britain in 1659 when the East India Company obtained a Royal Charter to hold the island. Thus SH postal history goes back to the early 17th Century with these early English settlers brought by on a vessel commanded by Cpt. John Dutton. More colonizers were to arrive and these were of many nationalities and ethnicities from all over the world. After 1834 SH became a Crown Colony yet in the years ahead, extreme poverty characterized island life. This was due to a number of events: slavery was abolished in 1832 and furthermore when authority was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown, many public servants were dismissed, contributing to the rising unemployment. The opening in 1869 of the Suez Canal and the conversion of sail to steam in the world’s oceanic economy resulted in more lost revenue from the resultant reduction in shipping and marine trade that passed by.

Few these days manage to complete early schooling without learning in their history classes about the eventual exile and death under suspicious circumstances of Napoleon Bonaparte on SH after his military defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.  He arrived in SH in October of that year and remained a prisoner until his death in 1821. Although buried on the island, his remains were disinterred in 1840 and returned to France in 1840. Rather less widely known compared with the era of Napoleonic imprisonment, is that during the first years of the last century (1900-’02), thousands of Boer War prisoners lived in two camps on SH: Deadwood and Broad Bottom.  Owing to this aspect of SH history, mail items from this period caused a


Even unspectacular OHMS covers povides much interesting research on instuctional and departemental markings.

The OFFICIAL PAID marking on the 1898 QV OHMS cover (Type I) is scarce and in use from 9th May 1898 to 6th May 1901.



significant growth in matters postal and this spilled over as well into “collectible” areas such as Pictorial Postcards, the time of WWII, censored mail and a variety of specialist areas for historians and collectors. 

Two other little-known instances of SH being used as a prison for political reasons exist. In 1890, Prince Dinizulu, son of the great Zulu chieftain Cetshwayo, was exiled to SH for seven years for leading a Zulu army against the British from 1883 to 1884. He and a few retainers lived at Rosemary Cottage, in a fertile part of the island, and he was reputed to eat nothing but meat! He returned to South Africa at the end of the seven years, and died there in 1913. Much later in 1957 three Bahreini prisoners were exiled to SH for three years, being released in 1960 after ‘questions in the House’. Another suitable topic for postal historical study is the use of the island’s local postal service. This was only established on 4th. January 1965: up until then, there had been no perceived need. One cannot but conjecture that had the authorities been the people who had to climb St. Helena’s hills to deliver messages, the decision might have been taken much earlier. See below some of the censor marks of the Boer POW used on St. Helena.


If you can help with additional scans (150 dpi) - your pictures are very welcome. The list will be completed the next months.


A following side shows the UPU Picture Postcards of St. Helena. Please use the link on the left side.



Copyright © 2011 - hahnstamps

The copyright of that article published on the website of HAHNSTAMPS remains with the author (Philip Hicks) and the society (SHATPS) - my thanks goes to Philip for providing that text.





Boer Prisoners of War Censor Marks



Censor marks

 Type Usage Censor  Colour 

 I E.W.

14-6-1900 - 3-9-1900

14-6-1900 - 2-5-1902

 E. Walton



 I V.A. 16-3-1902 - 8-5-1902 Baron von Ahlefeldt red

 I A.W.P.

only 5-1-1901

20-3-1901 - 26-4-1901

 A.W.P. (name unknown)




 IIa A.W.P. 6-7-1901 - 28-9-1901

30 mm / diameter


with initials as a separate handstamp instead of manuscript

text: Prisoners of War Broadbottom Camp / Censor






 16-9-1901 - 6-3-1902 E. Waltonviolet



March 1902 -


 Baron von Ahlefeldtred




 1-5-1902 - 5-8-1902 uninitialledviolet



 January 1901 - 20 July 1901 one line cachet black


please enjoy the wonderful Boer Prisoner post cards which are NOT for sale


 Painting of a POW for Colonel von Braun on a UPU postcard to Germany



Picture side of a UPU PPC - PPC9 - published by A.L. Innes, showing Kent Cottage, where the Boer Leader General Cronje and his staff was imprisoned. The PPC written by Colonel Adolf Schiel, signed by P.A. Cronje.


German Reply Postcard, censored by Baron von Ahlefeldt 22th April 1902 with type I censor handstamp in red



Private St. Helena Letter Cards


that private Letter Card came to light recently - it's the 3rd known style of a St. Helena Letter Card and includes postcard sized pictures of Napoleons imprisonment on St. Helena



Departemental Markings


The cover with the Castle handstamp Type CH 9 bears the first known date of 8th NOV 1934 (in use until 10th NOV 1936). The OFFICIAL PAID cancellation is Type V and still in use.




Formula Registered Envelopes (FRE)


 FREProv. no. ColorSizeLettering TypeLength 1st Line (This Letter..)2nd Line 3rd Line Stamp Space /Flap Shape Fee paid
Letters/Line Length
Earliest Date knownLatest Date knownComments 1 Comments 2 
  A1 B253 x 108 Serif 141 147,5 N


21,5 x 25

 N23-9-0125-6-02 "REGISTERED LETTER" in serif letters, dividing line between "E" and "R" of REGISTERED, imprinted registration square  

 B1 R199 x 129 Serif 125 104


3rd line in capital letters

 curved/frontSerif / 2615-1-0217-1-03

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters,

dividing line between both words -

dividing vertical line dividing "to | an" &

"and | a"

"R" beside imprinted text


text in samll letters except 3rd line


 B2 R132 x 82 Serif 60 72


 curved/front Serif / 2413-1-0212-2-02

"REGISTERED LETTER" in serif letters, dividing line between both words

vertical line dividing "given | to" &

"and | a"


large "R"


text in small letters



 C1 R139 x 85 Block







Block / 19,523-10-0323-10-03

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between "E" and "D" of REGISTERED

vertical line dividing "an| officer" (see greater C1 scan below.

large "R"


text in capital letters


 C3 R250 x 149 Block 109,5 79 85 Square/front ?13-2-2813-2-28

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between "E" and "D" of REGISTERED

vertical line dividing "a|n>

text in capital letters 

 C4 R238 x 115 Block 117,5 ? ? Square/frontBlock / 22,515-1-3815-1-38

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between "E" and "D" of REGISTERED

vertical line dividing "a|n"

text in capital letters  
  C2 R135 x 83 Block 53,5 54




 Serif / 2914-9-0724-3-40"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between "E" and "D" of REGISTERED





text in capital letters


  D1 B221 x 99 Block 127 101 N


22 x 27

block flap

 N11-11-49July 1957

Imprint only 3 lines,

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between both words





 D2 B150 x 94 Block 82,5 67 N

18 x 21,5

block flap


Imprint only 3 lines,

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between both words





 D3 B222 x 121,5 Block 89,5 75 N

21 x 24

block flap


Imprint only 3 lines,

"REGISTERED LETTER" in block letters, dividing line between both words




still under construction - you can help to finish - see below              

 Type A1


  Type B1


 Tpye B2


 Type C1


A lot of FRE were produced locally and came to usage between the beginning of the 20th century and the 1970s. Because the FRE were more expensive as normal envelopes, only few were used. In consequence FREs of St. Helena are very rare, especially the old ones.

There is much need to research the different types of these envelopes. Any help to complete that list is helpful (scans, size etc.) - please be free to contact me.

Even if most or all FREs were provided from England to most colonies, perhaps there was special usage of some types only on St. Helena.

The listing here is done for WASC (Cameo) for a forthcoming article - thanks to all members who helped since July 2009 (Barry B., Dennis E., Bernard M., Stefan H., ).


(all scans pictured with kind permission of the owners)


Copyright © 2010 - Klaus Hahn - The copyright of that article published on this website remains with the author (Klaus Hahn)


St. Helena is covered by 2 philatelic societies:

SHATPS - St. Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society



and WASC - West Africa Study Circle


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