1946-09-03

Crash site Holtug, Stevns, Denmark
Airline Air France
Aircraft Douglas DC-3A – F-BAOB
Route Copenhagen – Paris/Le Bourget
Crew 5 – no survivors
Passengers 17 – no survivors

 

The crash

The plane took off from Copenhagen as scheduled at 10:00. The captain Jean Faucher was not satisfied with the plane, so after one hour he decided to return to Copenhagen airport. The plane was checked and a burned out magneto in the left motor was replaced.
The plane left Copenhagen again at 16:25, but a few minutes later the left engine caught fire. The pilot tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire which spread rapidly. The left wing broke off and caused the plane to spin in circles into the ground. At 16:33 the plane crashed close to a small farm Vilhelmshaab near Holtug around 40 km south of Copenhagen. The wreck was spread over a wide area.
The crash investigation concluded that the fire was caused by a leak in a fuel pipeline.

 

The mail

On board the plane was mail from Denmark destined for France, the French colonies in Africa and French Indochina. Besides airmail the plane also carried letters and postcards paid as surface mail.
Only a part of the mail could be recovered, and most of it was in badly burned condition. The mail was brought back to Copenhagen were it was sorted out. The Danish Post decided to return most of the mail to the senders due to the damage. Only a few postcards were forwarded to France.
The Danish Post produced two different labels. One with Danish text which was used on mail returned to the senders. The other with text in French was used on mail forwarded to France.
In general the mail was sent in the standard Danish service cover type J 6 (1-44).

I have so far recorded 11 items from this crash including one cover to Morocco. It is interesting that 4 of the items are addressed to U.S. Army Post Offices. I guess these units were stationed in France, but further research is needed.

 

19460903 AA.
Danish label with text in Danish.

Size textblock: 113 x 20 mm.

 

 

19460903 B
B.
Danish label with text in French.

Size textblock: 101 x 20 mm.

 

The size of the labels vary as they were printed on large size paper and later cut from these sheets.

 

 

Examples of mail

19460903 012a 19460903 012b

Cover from Copenhagen postmarked KØBENHAVN 2.9.46 to Paris. The cover was returned to sender in service cover J 6 together with label A.
Thiesen Collection.

19460903 001a 19460903 001b
Cover from Copenhagen to Paris. The cover was returned to sender in service cover J 6 together with label A.
Thiesen Collection.
19460903 003a 19460903 003b
Cover from Lyngby to France. As adress could not be identified the cover was returned to sender in service cover J 6 together with label A.
Thiesen Collection.
19460903 004a 19460903 004c
Cover from Copenhagen to Danish woman working with U.S. Army unit via A.P.O. 172. The cover was returned to sender with label A.
Thiesen Collection.
Cover from Copenhagen to Casablanca, Morocco (unusual destination). The cover was returned to sender in service cover J 6 together with label A.
Thiesen Collection.
19460903 011a 19460903 011c

Undated postcard from Vejle, Denmark with illegible postmark addressed to Paris.The postcard was forwarded to France in service cover J 6 together with label B.
Thiesen Collection.

19460903 002b 19460903 002c
Postcard from Copenhagen to Marseille. The postcard was forwarded to France in service cover J 6 together with label B.
Thiesen Collection.
19460903 010a 19460903 010c
Postcard from Helsingör to U.S. Army unit. The postcard was forwarded to France in service cover J 6 together with label B.
Slettebø collection.