1948-07-04

Crash site Northolt RAF airport, Great Britain 
Airline SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) 
Aircraft Douglas DC-6  –  SE-BDA  –  Agnar Viking 
Route Stockholm/Bromma  –  Copenhagen /Kastrup –  Amsterdam/Schiphol  –  London/Northolt RAF 
Crew 7  –  0 survivors 
Passengers 25  –  0 survivors 

 

The crash

Upon arrival in the Northolt area the SAS plane was stacked due to bad weather conditions. The stack consisted of three other airplanes incl. a Royal Air Force Avro York (MW248) on a flight from Malta.
At 14:45 the Northolt tower gave the plane permission to descend to 2,500 ft. At 14:59 the pilot informed the tower that he had decided to divert back to Amsterdam due to the weather conditions, and he was cleared to leave the area. At 15:03 the plane collided with the RAF plane about 6.4 km north of Northolt. The York was above the DC-6, and the DC-6 was climbing. The starboard wing of the DC-6 penetrated the York on the starboard side behind the freight door and detached the York’s tail unit.
Both airplanes crashed into the woods in the Northwood area and both caught fire due to the impact.
After fire and rescue crews put out the fires, the Avro York was completely destroyed by the crash and the only part of the DC-6 that was still intact was the rudder and tailplane, with the rest also  destroyed by the fire.

 

The mail

On board the plane was an unknown quantity of mail. Only a small part of the mail was recovered, and so far I have only recorded mail sent from Sweden.
The Danish Post issued a message listing the destinations of the Danish mail which was on board the plane. This list mentions many countries incl. most of Africa, Asia, South America, Australasia, but also some European destinations incl. Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta. It seems likely that all the Danish mail, was destroyed in the crash.
It is unknown if any mail from the Netherlands came on board in Amsterdam.
The mail was processed at the Returned Letter Section, Mount Pleasant, London where different labels were used.
Some of the recovered items were returned to Sweden, where a label with Swedish text was used.

 

 

 

19480704 A-aA-a.
British label.
Size textblock: 65 x 44 mm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19480704 A-bA-b.
British label.
Size textblock: 65 x 44 mm.
No comma after Section.

 

 

 

 

 

19480704 A-cA-c.
British label.
Size textblock: 74 x 44 mm.
The three lower lines are more to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

19480704 BB.
British label.
Size textblock: 76 x 40 mm.

 

 

 

 

 

C.
British label.
Size textblock:   ?

 

 

 

D.
British label (probably).
Size textblock:  ?

 

 

 

E.
Kenyan Explanatory letter.
Size:  ?

 

Used with a cover to Lion Transport Ltd., Mombasa and forwarded via the Postmaster of Mombasa, Kenya on 27 August 1948.

 

 

 

 

F.
Nigerian Explanatory letter.
Size:  213 x 113 mm.

Used with a cover to N. Rasmussen, Yaba and forwarded via the General Post Office, Lagos, Nigeria on 21 August 1948.

 

 

 

G.
Swedish label.
Size textblock:   ?

Translation:
The enclosed mail item which was damaged in the air crash
at Northolt, England on 4 July 1948 is hereby returned.
The Royl Swedish Post Complaints Office.

 

 

H.
Swedish endorsement.
Manuscript note +
violet oval handstamp:

GENERALPOSTSTYRELSEN
            I BYRÅN
           JUL 1948
   Trafikavdelingen

Translation:   Mail damaged in plane crash in Northolt on 4/7 1948.

 

 

 

Examples of mail

19480704 005a  19480704 005b
Window envelope from Sweden postmarked KARLSTAD  -3 7 48 forwarded with label type A-a.
Thiesen Collection.
19480704 004a 19480704 004b
Similar window envelope from Sweden postmarked KARLSTAD  -3 7 48 but this one was forwarded with label type A-b.
Thiesen Collection.
19480704 025a 19480704 025b 
19480704 025c 19480704 025d
Cover from Sweden postmarked TRANÅS  3 7 48 to London. The cover was forwarded in an OHMS Service cover type RLS 3A together with a label type A-c.
Arveng Collection.
19480704 029b 19480704 029c
Cover from Sweden postmarked TYRINGE  3 7 48 to Manchester. The cover was forwarded in an OHMS Service cover type RLS 3A together with a label type A-c.
Aloni Collection.
19480704 001a 19480704 001c 
Registered cover from Sweden postmarked STOCKHOLM   3. 7. 48 and addressed to London. The cover was forwarded to the recipient with a label type B.
Thiesen Collection.
Cover from Sweden postmarked  FISKETÅNGEN 3.7.48 to London. The cover was forwarded in an OHMS Service cover type RLS 3A together with the label type C.
Private Collection.
19480704 026a  
Cover from Sweden postmarked STOCKHOLM  3.7.48 and addressed to London. No label or service cover. The typed text in the blue box is most probably written by a collector.
Ekenstierna Collection.
19480704 020a 19480704 020b 
Postcard from Sweden postmarked KÖPING  3.7.48 and addressed to London. The card was returned to Sweden by the Returned Letter Section. The Swedish Post returned the card to the sender with label type G.
Ekenstierna Collection.
19480704 003b 19480704 003a
Window envelope from Sweden metermarked  STOCKHOLM  30 VI 48 which was returned to Sweden. The Swedish Post returned the cover in a glassine service cover without any label enclosed.
Thiesen Collection.
19480704 027a  
Cover from Sweden postmarked STOCKHOLM  3 7 48. The cover was returned to Sweden where the cover was returned to the sender in a service cover with a manuscript endorsement type H.
Private Collection.
19480704 010a 19480704 010b
Registered cover without visible postmark. The cover was returned to Sweden and the Swedish Post returned the cover in a service cover without any label. Note the manuscript note “minus contents + initials”.
Thiesen Collection
 
Cover from Sweden postmarked STOCKHOLM  23.7.48 and addressed to Mombasa, Kenya, British East Africa. The cover was forwarded from London with crash label type D. In Mombasa the cover was forwarded to the recipient with an explanatory letter from the Postmaster of Mombasa (type E).