Crash site Lihesten mountain, Hyllestad, Norway
Airline DNL (Det Norske Luftfartselskap)
Aircraft Junkers Ju 52 – LN-DAE – Havörn
Route Bergen – Ålesund – Molde – Kristiansund – Trondheim – Brönnöysund – Sandnessjöen – Bodö – Svolvær – Narvik – Harstad – Tromsö
Crew 4 – 0 survivors
Passengers 3 – 0 survivors


The crash

DNL opened the route Bergen-Tromsö in 1935. On 16 June 1936 the plane “Havörn” left Bergen at 06:30 in good weather. At Sognefjord low clouds and fog set in and the plane turned west hoping to follow the firth out to the coast line. For unknown reasons the pilot turned northwards 15-20 km too soon. At 07:00 the plane struck right into the 777 m high mountain Lihesten about 50 m from the top. The wreckage was scattered down the hillside and the rescue operation was very complicated.


The mail

Personel from the Norwegian Post arrived at the crash site the same afternoon. The plane carried 13 bags of around 50 kg mail. A large part of this mail was salvaged.

Local mountain climbers brought down a large amount of mail in the evening. Two mail bags marked for delivery to Brönnöysund and Kristiansund were found in relatively good condition. In addition a quantity of letters and other postal items addressed to Trondheim were found strewn about, probably blown around by the wind when the mail bag was ripped up.

The next day an attempt was made to climb down the mountain from the top. The operation took ten hours and the climbers could only salvage two mail bags.

On 18 June another group managed to reach the main shelf where the wreck lay. After 6½ hours they brought down another 4 or 5 mail bags.

The last mail was brought down on 20 June.

All the salvaged mail was brought back to the Bergen Post Office where it was sorted out. Most of the mail show the handstamp type A. I have seen several covers where the handstamp A-a is struck on the front of the cover and A-b is on the back.

Relatively much mail was returned to the senders with a manuscript marking type B. Many of the returned items are in good condition, so it is quite a mystery why these were returned.

So far I have only seen mail which was sent from Bergen. No mail from other parts of Norway or from foreign countries has been recorded.



A-a.19360616 A-a

Norwegian handstamp.
Violet (shades).
Size: 68 x 18 mm.

Recovered mail / from Havörn.


A-b.19360616 A-b

Norwegian handstamp.
Greyviolet (shades).
Size: 68 x 18 mm.

As A-a but f in fra starts below j.



B.19360616 B-a

Manuscript note + handstamp used at the Bergen Post Office on mail which was returned to the sender.
Cover returned to sender
Bergen Post Office
Letter Section
+ signature



C.19360616 C-a

Manuscript note used at the
Bergen Post Office.
BANKOAVD. is the department of
registered or insured mail.

The cover has been on bord the plane “Havörn” which crashed on 16/6-36 + signature




Examples of mail

19360616 001a 19360616 001b

Cover from Bergen metermarked 15.6.36 to Kristiansund N. On the back is handstamp type A-b in greyviolet and an arrival postmark KRISTIANSUND N 21 VI 36.
Thiesen Collection.

19360616 012a 19360616 012b

Cover from Bergen postmarked BERGEN 15 VI 36 to Kristiansund N with handstamp type A-b in greyviolet. The endorsement on the back is made by a stamp dealer “Special postmark for crashed cover”.
Slettebø Collection. 

19360616 009a 19360616 009b

Cover from Bergen postmarked BERGEN 15 VI 36 to Bödo. On the front is an unusual return mark in black RETUR. On the back is handstamp type A-b in greyviolet.
Thomassen Collection.

19360616 003a 19360616 003b

Registered cover from Bergen postmarked BERGEN 15.6.36 and addressed to Hammerfest. On the back is the usual handstamp type A-b, and also the postmark used at the Bergen Postoffice by the department of registered and insured mail (BANKOAVD. 22. VI. 1936).
The cover was forwarded to the recipient accrding to the manuscript note ” sendes på ny” = to be sent Again.
Thiesen Collection.

19360616 005a 19360616 005b

Registered cover from Bergen metermarked 15.6.36 addressed to Bodö without the usual handstamp type A.
The cover was probably returned to the sender – se manuscript marking type C on the back.

19360616 002a 19360616 002b

Cover from Bergen metermarked 15.6.36. On the front is handstamp type A-a (2 x) and the return marking type B. On the back is a third strike of handstamp type A-a but in greyviolet.
Thiesen Collection.

19360616 054a 19360616 054b

The company O. Nilssen & Søn A/S in Bergen had a lot of mail to their customers on this flight. All the covers were in pretty good condition but nonetheless they were not forwarded to the recipients but returned to the Company.
This cover show both the handstamps type A-a and A-b and also the return marking type B.

19360616 010a 19360616 010b

Cover postmarked BERGEN 15 VI 36 and addressed to a crew member on board the ship SS Sanct Swithun. On the back is a manuscript note “with Havørn” + a railway postmark TRONDHEIM-BERGEN 17-6-36.
Svein Arne Hansen Collection.

19360616 011a 19360616 011b

This is probably a philatelic cover as it is postmarked BERGEN 6 VI 36 and addressed to Bergen – but via the air route to Harstad and then back to Bergen. For unknown reasons the cover was delayed at Bergen post office until 15.6. (manuscript note on the front) and therefore ended up on the plane which crashed. According to the postmarks on the back the cover was back in Bergen on 17.6.36, then transported to Harstad 18.6.36. and back again in Bergen 19.6.36. Indeed a much travelled cover. On the back a collector made a note about the story of the cover.
Slettebø Collection.