East Africa and Uganda Protectorate
Edward VII Definitive with
"Marseille a la Reunion" Cancellation
Edward VII Definitive for East Africa and Uganda
Protectorate with Marseille a la Reunion Cancellation
The first stamps for use in both British East Africa and Uganda protectorates, depicting King Edward VII, were issued in August or September 1903. The first two issues were denominated in annas and rupees. A third Edward VII issue of 1907-1908 consisted of lower values denominated in cents (100 cents = 1 rupee). The stamp pictured here is from that third issue.
The capital of East Africa and Uganda protectorates was the port city of Mombassa and the interest in this otherwise common stamp is derived from the fact that the stamp was postmarked on a French vessel that probably sailed out of this port. Note the postmark" "...seille a la Reunio... 27 Avril 08." It can be concluded that the stamp was cancelled on one of the paquebots on the route from Marseille, in France, to Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. According to R. Salles in La Poste Maritime Française, Vol VI Les paquebots de l'Océan Indien, in 1908, there were two Messageries Maritimes, French sea post routes, from Marseille to Madagascar, La Reunion, and Mauritius.
According to Wikipedia, "The Djemnah was built in La Ciotat in 1875 for the shipping company Messageries Maritimes. Displacing 5,400 tonnes,
the ship was 125 metres long, with a beam of 12.1 metres. Her top speed was 14 knots. The ship could carry 1385 passengers (83 in First Class,
42 in Second, 60 in Third and 1,200 below decks). The ship was used as a line ship to the Far East and to the Southern Indian Ocean."
Line "U" steamed from Marseille on the 10th of each month via the Suez canal, to Djibouti, Zanzibar, Mayotte, Majunga, Nossi-Be, Diego-Suarez, Tamatave, La Reunion, Mauritius. The second line, "V" departed from Marseille on the 25th of each month steaming via the Suez canal, to Djibouti, Aden, Mahé (Seychelles islands), Diego-Suarez and its other destinations. There were five ships engaged in this service: Djemnah, Melbourne, Oxus, Natal and Adour. The April 27 1908 cancellation could be from Djemnah (returning to Marseille having left La Reunion on April 17 and arriving in Marseille on May 15) or from Melbourne (leaving Marseille on April 10). Although I could not access port records for April 1908, The Kenya Gazette of October 10, 1908 confirms that the S.S. Adour did call at the port of Kilindini (Mombasa) at the beginning and end of August 1908 and the Djemnah called towards the end of that month (perhaps as it had at about the same time of the month in April).
Port Record from Kilindini (Mombassa) Harbour from The Kenya Gazetter, October 10, 1908.
"East Africa and Uganda Protectorate." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 1997.
"East Africa and Uganda Protectorate." Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth and Empire Stamps 1840-1979. 2015.
Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald and Co., 1986.
"Seeking info on Marseille a la Reunion Cancellation." Stampboards.com. 9 May 2019.
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