SOUTH AFRICA 1931 SIR LOWRYS PASS CRASH, 1ST SA AIRMAIL DISASTER

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SA: 1931 SIR LOWRY'S PASS CRASH (first SA Airmail disaster): Envelope address panel from Grahamstown to England franked 4d air stamp. Extensively charred (as usual for mail recovered from this crash), the remains mounted on board with notations as to the crash on reverse. Accompanied by the roneoed notelet "The Dept of Posts & Telegraphs of the Union of South Africa tenders regret for the damage to the enclosed letter caused through the crash & destruction by fire of the aeroplane conveying the Air Mail between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on Friday November 13th 1913" with further notation "Cover of Letter"..(THIS EXAMPLE IS OF THE ONE-IN- THREE THAT SHOW TYPING ERROR "1913" FOR "1931" CORRECTED IN PENCIL). The crash was caused by structural failure of the Puss Moth wing in turbulence over Sir Lowry's Pass (unlucky date Friday 13.11.13 too!). The pilot Capt W F Davenport and his two passengers together with most of the mail were incinerated. As the mail was of an entirely commercial nature few pieces survive. This is an unusual example of an en-route acceptance being from the mails loaded at the Grahamstown stop. Nine disasters involving the structural failure of Puss Moth wings occurred worldwide; the type was withdrawn from service and replaced by the more sturdily constructed Leopard Moth.

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