South Vietnam, Postage Free SVN Military Mail from 1942 until July 1st, 1960; The South Vietnamese Military Postal System was basically an extension of the French Military Postal System. Native South Vietnamese military units fought alongside the French until they finally departed the country being gradually replaced by U.S. American soldiers and their allies. Prior to the issuance of military free franks on July 1st, 1960 letters sent by military personell to loved ones were free of charge and the same was true for family mail to a Khu Buu Chin (KBC) unit number. Each military unit in South Vietnam had its own unique KBC number that was assigned to obfuscate the location of the sender/recipient for security reasons. All the soldier had to do, was to write “Franchise Militaire” (FM) on front of the envelope and have the unit cachet applied if part of French units  or “Quan Thu” or the abbreviation “QT” in the upper left or right corner of the envelope if part of a Vietnamese unit.

Very early letter sent by a Vietnamese soldier in the employ of the French Army in October of 1942 using the F.M. (Franchise Militaire) French military postal system to send a message from Van-Dinh to Saigon. Van-Dinh is a suburb of Hanoi. Hanoi transit and Saigon arrival cancels on the reverse.

Domestic letter by a French soldier using the Franchise Militaire (F.M.) French military mail system to send a personal message (full contents preserved) from Yen-Bai to Saigon in January of 1943. Black regimental military cachet at top right. Indochina was under Japanese occupation at that time and letters of the French military are very hard to find.

Another early example of a Vietnamese soldier, fighting for the French, sending a domestic letter from Hung Yen to a French unit (S.P.4027). Hung Yen is located just South of Hanoi. F.M. (Franchise Militaire) indicated postage free transport within the French military system. Cancelled with a rare rural cancel. Approximately dated around 1945-50.

Air mail letters sent in April of 1953 by a Vietnamese soldier associated with Secteur Postale 4459 sent under the free Franchise Militaire (F.M.) military postal system to Saigon. Oval French Battalion cachet on front. The letter may have contained a photo as the sender remarked “do not bend” at the bottom left. Saigon machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Air mail letter sent by a Vietnamese solider attached to a French Battalion from Hanoi to Cholon in the South using the postage free mail privileges using the Franchise Militaire (F.M.) military postal system. Cancelled with the mute “Poste aux Armees” military cancel. Rectangular “Duverte par la censure-KIEM DUYET” military censor mark on front.

Here is an example of a letter written by a Vietnamese soldier operating with the French unit S.P.4798 that was sent to a civilian in My Tho in July of 1953. Red circular S.P. cachet on front. My Tho arrival cancel on the reverse.

Air mail letter sent in March of 1954 by a Vietnamese soldier attached to a Vietnamese Regiment fighting with the French Army. The letter was sent by air mail from KBC 4366 ( a KBC number yet unlisted in the official SICP KBC listing) to a civilian in Hanoi. Hanoi machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Air mail letter sent in April of 1954 by a Vietnamese soldier attached to a Vietnamese Regiment fighting with the French Army. The letter was sent by air mail from KBC 4619 to a civilian in Hanoi. Hanoi machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Military letter sent from a Vietnamese Battalion (S.P. 4.874) to another Vietnamese attached to S.P. 73.902 in August of 1954. Red cicular S.P. military cachet on front.

Official letter (full contents preserved) sent by the Head of the French Property Office within the French military postal system (Note the F.M. in the upper right corner) to a recipient in Saigon. Cancelled with the mute “Poste aux Armees” cancel from September of 1954. Circular red Government seal plus boxed address cachet. Civilian Saigon arrival cancel on the reverse.

Letter sent by a Vietnamese Transport military unit sent to France in September of 1954 using the Franchise Militaire (F.M:) military postal system. Cancelled with the mute “Poste aux Armees” cancel. Black circular military cachet on front.

 Domestic letter sent by a Vietnamese soldier attached to Vietnamese Battalion under French command sent to a civilian in Saigon. The letter (full contents preserved) was censored by censor Nr. 38 in the S.A.X military censure unit. Saigon machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Two letters from December of 1954 and January of 1955 sent by a Colonel in Saigon using the French military mail system (F.M./Franchise Militaire) and addressed to a Vietnamese soldier located in S.P./Secteur Postale 4.239. The Secteur-Postale represents a field post code that was intended to protect troop locations, similar to the KBC and Hom The numbers in South and North Vietnam.

Domestic letter (full content preserved) sent by a Vietnamese soldier working for the French Army (S.P./KBC 4024/4721/Air Force Training Center in Nha Trang) to a Vietnamese civilian in Saigon. F.M. (Franchise Militaire) indicated for postage free transportation within the French military postal system. Cancelled in January of 1955 by the mute “Poste aux Armees” cancel.

Domestic air mail letter sent by a member of the military (KBC 4531 a Navy Marine Unit) to a civilian in Saigon. Red circular naval KBC cachet on front. Cancelled by the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel in April of 1955. Saigon machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Domestic letter sent by a Vietnamese soldier working for the French Army (S.P./KBC 4027/National Military Academy in Dalat) to a civilian in Gia Dinh. F.M. (Franchise Militaire) indicated at top right for postage free transport. Cancelled by the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel in July of 1955.

International letter sent by a Vietnamese member of the military (KBC 4719) to a school in France. F.M. (Franchise Militaire) indicated for postage free transportation. Cancelled by the mute “QUan Buu” military cancel from October of 1955.

Here is an example of a letter written by a Vietnamese soldier in a Vietnamese unit. It was sent from KBC 4821, which so far is an unlisted unit in the official SICP KBC list. Note the red rectangular cachet on the top left “QUAN THU” and the red circular KBC cachet. Circular mute “Quan Buu” military cancel from December of 1955. Saigon machine transit cancel on the reverse.

International letter sent in June of 1956 by a Vietnamese soldier located in KBC 4041 (Children’s Army School. Program ran 1955-1960 located in Vung Tau) to a school in France. F.M. (Franchise Militaire) indicated for postage free transport. Red propaganda cachet on front. Red circular KBC cachet on front.

Intra KBC mail was also free of charge as it was considered essential business and that persisted even after the military free franks had been issued for individual soldiers. Here is a intra KBC letter sent from KBC 4600 (The Gereneral Military Hospital in Go Vap, Saigon) to KBC 4098 (a yet unlisted unit on the official SICP KBC list) in what appears to be September of 1957. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Note the manuscript “Quan Thu” in the upper right corner.

Letter (full contents preserved) sent by a member of the military in KBC 3019 in May of 1958 to a civilian in Saigon. Note the manuscript “Quan Thu” in the top right corner. Illegible circular red unit cachet on front. Cancelled by mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Machine Saigon arrival cancel on the reverse.

Letter sent by a civilian in Dong La to a member of the military located in KBC 4217 in March of 1960. Note the manuscript abbreviation “QT” on the top right. Illegible transit/arrival cancels on the reverse.

Example of a unit to unit message sent in February of 1961 fro KBC 3011 (VNAF General Headquarters an Air Force unit in Tan Son Nhut) to KBC 4961. Cancelled by the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel.

Rare official correspondence (full contents preserved) sent by the Defense Ministry to KBC 4241 sent in August of 1961. Circular red Government cachet and red Defense Ministry hand stamp. Cancelled by the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel.

Content of the above letter

Very rare correspondence between Trần Quang, Representative of the Partneship, Chairman of the Provincial Council of Quảng Ngãi Privince to the President of the Republic in the Palace in Saigon sent in July of 1963 from Quang Ngai to Saigon. Note the rectangular “DUONG-NHIEN BAO-DAM” which was the military term used or secured/warranted mail. Saigon arrival cancel on the reverse.

Unit to unit correspondence of a folded hectographe letter sent from KBC 3663 to KBC 4002 (General Staff and Command lofted in Saigon) sent in July of 1967. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel from July 10th. Another “Quan Buu” arrival stamp (dated July 12th) was applied on the reverse. The “QUAN VU”  red rectangular cachet on top right is probably the equivalent of the Quan Thu free frank marking. Triangular and circular KBC cachet on front.

Unit to unit correspondence mailed in January of 1968 from KBC 3313 (Coastal Navy Division 11 in Cua Viet). Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Triangular and circular KBC cachets on front.

Unit to unit correspondence from the same correspondence. Two small letters sent from KBC 4955 to Quan Tri in January of 1968.

Unit to unit correspondence sent by what looks like KBC 3120 to Trieu-Phong in 1968.

Three intra unit letters sent from the same KBC Nr. 4447 sent to Quang Tri in January of 1968. All letters are cancelled with the mute “Quantity Buu” military cancel. Circular red KBC cachets on front.

Unit to unit correspondence mailed in January of 1968 from KBC 4379 (located in Saigon) to Quang Tri. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Red circular KBC cachet on front.

Unit to unit correspondence sent in April of 1968 from KBC 4121 (a yet unlisted KBC number of the official SICP KBC listing). Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Red circular KBC cachet and KBC hand stamp on front.

Rare unit to unit correspondence sent in December of 1968 from KBC 4002 (General Staff and Command in Saigon) to another unit in Saigon. The letter is stamped “BAO-DAM” which translates into “SECURED-WARRANTED” and is similar to the civilian registration process which offered a higher level of security. There is also a black rectangular “B.D. with a red registration number 74748. Triangual KBC cachet on front. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu”military cancel. Saigon arrival cancel on the reverse.

Leaping Soldier military aerogramme Type II (first issued on April 1st, 1968) that could be mailed postage free from one KBC unit to another. In this case sent by KBC 4975 (Paramilitary Police Force Headquarters) to a military engineer in KBC 6010 on February of 1969. Red boxed propaganda cachet on front. The reverse shows the printed inscription “Hate the Viet Cong because they cause war and destroy the South”. Cancelled with the mute “QUan Buu” military cancel.

Unit to unit correspondence (full contents preserved) sent from KBC 4004 (a yet unlisted KBC unit in the official SICP KBC listing) to a unit in Saigon. Circular red KBC cachet on front. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel.

Unit to unit correspondence sent from KBC 3319 (Cam Ranh Naval Training Center) to KBC 6646 (a unit yet unlisted on the official SICP KBC listing) in July of 1971. Red circular KBC cachet on front. Note the blue naval decal on the top left and there ship decal at bottom right. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel.

Unit to unit correspondence sent from KBC 3319 (Cam Ranh Naval Training Center) to KBC 3317 (Naval Headquarters in Saigon) set in June of 1972. Cancelled with the mute “Quan Buu” military cancel. Red circular KBC cachet on front.

Registration Nr. 200002

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