Crash site Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia
Airline Imperial Airways
Aircraft De Havilland DH 66 Hercules  –  G-EBMX  –  City of Delhi
Route Salisbury  –  Broken Hill
Crew 3  –  3 survivors
Passengers 0


The crash

From January 1932 Imperial Airways introduced the service all the way from London, England to Cape Town, South Africa. The different stretches on the flight were carried out by different airplanes and the stage from Athens or Brindisi to Paris was by train.
The first flight on the northbound service started from Cape Town on 27 January. The plane “City of Basra” took over the mail at Johannesburg airport. At Salisbury mail from Southern Rhodesia was loaded on board.
When ready for takeoff on 29 January “City of Basra” was damaged during taxiing as a wheel sunk into soft earth. The mail was transferred to “City of Delhi” and this plane continued the flight north from Salisbury the same day.
Due to a violent storm the pilot was compelled to make a forced landing in a clearing, which unfortunately turned out to be a swamp. The airplane was stuck and unable to take-off again.
The search planes had some difficulties in locating the missing plane, but eventually it was found on 31 January by the plane “City of Baghdad”. On 1 February ground crew succeeded in cutting its way through to the stranded plane.


The mail

The mail bags from the stranded plane were transported to Broken Hill by native carriers and arrived on 4 February. The mail was not damaged and all the bags together with the mail from Salisbury was loaded onboard ”City of Baghdad” which left Broken Hill on 6 February.
As this first flight was a great event much philatelic mail was carried from the different stages of the flight.
So far I have only recorded 3 Nordic items (all are shown below).




Examples of mail


Special printed cover from South Africa postmarked CAPE TOWN 27. JAN. 32. and addressed to Sandefjord, Norway.
Unknown Collection.

Special printed cover from South Africa postmarked CAPE TOWN 27. JAN. 32. and addressed to Trondheim, Norway. On the back are some interesting transit postmarks of Paris 14.2., Malmö 17.2. and a railways postmark from the route Ed, Sweden to Oslo, Norway dated 18.2. The cover finally arrived in Trondheim on 19.2.
Thiesen Collection.


Cover from Southern Rhodesia postmarked SALISBURY 26 JAN 1932 and addressed to Sweden. The cover arrived via airmail in MALMÖ, Sweden on 17.2.32. The next day it arrived in BLOTBERGET.
Unknown Collection.