Indochina, French Military Naval Mail in Indochina after World War II;

The terrestrial French military postage system was also operational on the high seas. Soldiers could send letters free of charge within the French military postal system but they had to pay for additional services (i.e. registration, express mail, letters to countries other than France, parcels, etc.). Officers however, due to their higher pay, were required to pay for their personal mail.

Photo of a mechanized landing craft supplied by the United States patrolling Vietnam’s Noire River. It could shuttle 52 tons of men and equipment at a speed of about 7 knots. This boats were used to patrol the larger rivers.

Military air mail letter sent from the Cruiser “Emile Bertran” sent in December of 1945, shortly after the return of the French in Indochina to a civilian in France. The letter was sent by a sailor under the Franchise Militaire (F.M.) free mail privilege and cancelled with the octagonal cancel of the ship. The ship was designed as a mine layer/destroyer.

Military letter sent by a soldier located in S.P. 53381 (apparently a naval unit) sent to France in November of 1946 using the Franchise Militaire (F.M.) free frank privileges. Black S.P. cachet on top.

Here is a very rare package wrapper that was fashioned out of an old naval map. The package was sent by registered mail by  soldier to a civilian in France. Since packages were not transported free of charge the parcel was franked with two French stamps paying an overall postage of 26 FF. Cancelled by the military “Bureau Naval” mute cancel in September of 1947.

Air mail letter sent by a Quarter Master to a civilian in France. The letter was transported free of charge under the “Franchise Militaire” (F.M.) system and cancelled with the mute “Postage Navale military cancel in November of 1949.  Black “Marine Nationale -Service a la Mer” cachet on front.

Letter sent by a French military sailor in December of 1949 to Reader Digest in Paris using the Franchise Militaire (F.M.) postage free privileges. However these only applied for letters sent to family which did not include Reader Digest. As a result three French postage due stamps were applied upon arrival (30 FF) to collect the additional postage from the recipient. Canceled with the “mute” Poste Navale military cancel. Blue Naval cachet on front.

Letter sent by a Major in Saigon to Reader Digest in France. The letter was transported free of charge under the “Franchise Militaire” (F.M.) system (note the red F.M. cachet) and cancelled with the mute “Postage Navale military cancel in July of 1950.  Red “Marine Nationale -Service a la Mer” cachet on front.

Letter sent by the Secretary of State of Marine Services in Indochina to a commissioner in France. The letter was canceled with the mute “Poste Navale” military cancel in July of 1951. Dark blue circular “Aero-Naval-Indochine” cachet on front. Also a illegible boxed hand stamp of which only Indochina” is legible.

International letter sent from the French Aircraft Carrier Arromanches which was the former British career H.M.S. Colussus. Note the distinctive six sided hand cancel reading “Porte-Avions Arromanches along with the “Poste Naval circular date cancel from November of 1951. This ship was used to ferry men and supplies from Marseilles to the Far East extensively and when in Indochinese Waters was based in Hai Phong.

Official mail sent by the Captain of the frigate located in Saigon to a military officer in Da Lat in August of 1951. The letter was cancelled with the mute “Poste Naval” military cancel. No stamps were required as this was official mail. Circular “Bureau Maritime des Matricules-Saigon” cachet and hand stamp of the commander on front.

Official mail sent to a military officer in France in April of 1953. The letter was cancelled with the mute “Poste Naval” military cancel. No stamps were required as this was official mail. Circular black “Marine-Nationale-Service a la Mer” ” cachet and black “Official” hand stamp on front. Interesting cachet “Base Sud des Flotilles de Indochina” at top right.

Letter sent by the Chief of the Saigon Naval Office in December of 1953 to his counterpart in Marseille, France. Cancelled by the “mute” Poste Naval military cancel. Blue Naval cachet on front.

Registration Nr. 099999

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