Crash site Calcutta, India
Airline Imperial Airways
Aircraft Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat – G-ADVE – Centurion
Route Sydney – Darwin – Singapore – Calcutta
Crew 4 – all survived
Passengers 4 – all survived


The crash

When the flying boat came in for landing at the Bally Air Base, Hoogly River south of Calcutta a severe gust of wind caught the tail, lifting it suddenly and causing the airplane to nose into the water. The aircraft slowly began to sink. The crew and passengers were rescued by launches within 16 minutes after the crash.
Later when attempts were made to raise the wreck it broke into two because chains were used.


The mail

On board was mail from Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Asia. Most of the mail (about 40 bags) was recovered, but a few bags were lost during the salvage work.
The mail was brought to Calcutta GPO. Here several handstamps with the text “SALVAGED MAIL / EX. CENTURION” were used. These were made up from so-called “John Bull” rubber stamp kits where the individual letters were inserted. Many varieties exist – wrong spelling, inverted letters etc.
Other handstamps, labels and mimeo explanations are known used in different countries on arrival.
As to Nordic mail I have only seen the cover illustrated below which probably was addressed to Denmark and another cover to Iceland.



Examples of mail

19390612 001a 19390612 001b
19390612 001c 19390612 999
Registered cover sent from Oxford Street P.O., Sydney, Australia. On front is an example of the primitive “John Bull” Calcutta handstamp in red. From Calcutta the cover was forwarded to Athens, Greece. Here several round resealing labels was put on the back and these were cancelled with Athens postmark (ATHINAI 17 VI 39). As the address was impossible to read the Greek Post decided to return the cover to Australia. As can be seen from the explanation letter from Sydney GPO the cover was returned to the sender on 17 July.
Danish Post & Tele Museum Collection.
19390612-010a 19390612-010b
Cover from Australia postmarked on the back EDENHOPE VIC  6 JE 39 and addressed  to Iceland. The cover was forwarded via London and show a British handstamp and a resealing label.
Thiesen Collection.