British South Africa Company
Postal History
This Page Includes
General Postal History

Boer War & W.W.I
1896 Matabele Rebellion
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Covers from Crocodile Pools, Kalene Hill, Mwomboshi, Tati excised used at Francis Town,
Postcard from Chisergwe,
Nelly Mine skeleton, Victoria FLS skeleton,
1896 Matabele Rebellion – Multiple franking
Trouble started on 20th March 1896 in an incident involving eight African policemen caught up in a scuffle in which three people were killed - Soon after this unsuspecting settlers in isolated places were attacked and either shot, speared, stoned or bludgeoned to death.
Some 151 people were killed during March and April 1896 - Those who could escaped, to BULAWAYO where a fortified Laager was established. With the town was cut off, supplies, including postage stamps, rapidly dwindled during April 1896.
According to a contemporary report by C.L. Norris Newman in the Sept 1896
Philatelic Record
All the values except the 8d having run clear out during April in the post office
This cover suggests otherwise, proving a good range of values being available in mid April 1896
BSAC 850
Envelope from
Edward Chester & Co.
to London with a rare
6d triple rate
Paid with 1d x 2, 4d & 1/-
SG 4, 28 & 42
AP 13 96

London MAY 23 96 arrival
1896 Matabele Rebellion – 4d Rate to South Africa
BSAC 852
4 May 1896 - Last use seen of a 4d value SG 28, at Bulawayo, during the Rebellion - Before the arrival of the Overprinted CGH stamps on
22 May 1896 - Registered Postal Stationery envelope to South Africa - Backstamped Mafeking MY 13,
Kimberley MY 14, TPO DOWN MY 15 & Carnarvon MY 17 96
1896 Matabele Rebellion – Posted in the Field
BSAC 853
Stampless Soldiers Letter to EnglandPosted in the ‘Field’
Endorsed Away from home
TATI 27 MAY 96 transit & Endorsed ‘1/- To pay’
Mafeking JU 2 transit plus T 60c handstamp - Carried on the
S.S. Moor, left Cape Town 3.6.96, arrived Plymouth 20.6.96
A further UK 1/- Tax handstamp - Twickenham JU 27 96 arrival cancel - This sort of mail during the 1896 Rebellion is rare

1896 Matabele Rebellion – On Active Service
BSAC 854
Stampless envelope endorsed On Active Service Matabeleland
Sent by Surgeon Lt. Williams of the Victoria Rifles in the field during
The final campaigns in the Matopos Hills

A faint TULI 96 transit cancel & endorsed T 1/- in blue crayon
MAFEKING AU 19 & Charge Clerk AU 26 (Cape Town) transits

With a further
Hexagonal tax mark of 60 centimes, this converts to ‘6d’
but with an incorrect 5D F.B. British tax handstamp applied on arrival LLANELLY SP 12 96 arrival - Rare Campaign Mail

1896 Matabele Rebellion – Local Mail
BSAC 858
1d Postcard H&G 5 Used locally – Cancelled
SP 7 96

Addressed to John Ingram Watchmaker & Jeweller
1896 Matabele Rebellion – Colourful franking
BSAC 860
Envelope created by Eric Philpott
With the full set of CGH overprints
DE 16 96

With the barred diamond ‘B’ at foot
Endorsed on the reverse in pencil
This envelope was obtained from Mr Philpott’s brother
In London July 97

Boer War – Crocodile Pools
Rare use of Rhodesian Stationery & Stamps in Bechuanaland
Crocodile Pools on the line of rail south of Gaberones - Captured by Boer forces 20 OCT 1899 and recaptured by Imperial forces
at the end of JAN 1900 - From mid December 1899 to early January 1900 this canceller was used either at Mochudi or Gaberones
It was then used from March to May 1900 at the actual location of Crocodile Pools - Last recorded date 30 OCT 01
BSAC 870
1d Postal stationery card H&G 5 With an additional
1d Small Arms to Ireland - Card written at Mochudi & cancelled CROCODILE POOLS 30 DEC 99 - Transit Bulawayo 11 JAN 00
& Durban FE 3 1900 with Warrenpoint FE 26 arrival
Redirected to London with FE 27 00 arrival

The same correspondent posted an identical card to this
one from MAHALAPYE SIDING on NO 20 99 that
indicates he was travelling South - He had left Bulawayo on Friday 11th November
Boer War - An Officer’s letter from Crocodile Pools

BSAC 871
Envelope with a 6d Large Arms addressed to The Belfast Yeomanry
S. African Field Force
Backstamped Bulawayo 23 APR transit & East London MY 16 00 arrival.
Contains an interesting letter from Lt. E. Harland to his brother
Telling him of his adventures during their battles with the Boer forces during the Relief of Mafeking.
Lt Harland was shot through the head whilst bending over his
wounded Commanding Officer on the day
Mafeking was relieved
A marvellous item of postal history

Boer War - The King's Own Scottish Borders
The King's Own Scottish Borders (K.O.S.B's) had two battalions in S.A. during the Boer War - They were the 1st and 3rd Battalions. Consisting of 23 Officers and 425 other ranks - The 3rd Battalion arrived at Cape Town 29 March 1901
They left Vryburg 29th January 1901 for Bulawayo, arriving 2nd February 1901 and were stationed at Hillside Camp
They departed for home on 20th May 1902
BSAC 872
Envelope with 2d Small Arms
To England - Cancelled
25 DEC1901
Xmas Day
Frm major McKie
3 K.O.S.B's
Field Force
South Africa
Boer War – Rhodesian Field Force
BSAC 873
Envelope with Large Arms ½d x 2
From Capt Buss, a Surgeon in the
Rhodesian Field Force
Sent to Harley street in London
Cancelled with rare
A PTA in the Gwanda district
Cancel recorded from
16.2.99 to 13.7.01
Manuscript ‘T’ to tax it as
Underpaid & deleted, passed as a
Soldier’s concessionary rate
World War I Censor
BSAC 874
Envelope to USA with 2½d Small Arms overprint
10 JU 16
In blue with a single circle
12 JU 16 transit backstamp
Hostilities in Matabeleland ended on October 22nd 1896 with the final disbandment ofCol. Plumer’s column.
In Mashonaland peace returned towards the end of December 1896
General Post History - Kalene Hill on cover
BSAC 880
Envelope to Ottawa in Canada
With correct 2½d Foreign rate - Cancelled
15 OCT 1920

A very rare cancel on cover taken by Runner Post to
Broken Hill, with a LUSAKAS 5 NOV 1920 transit backstamp
A three week period required for this part of its journey
General Post History - Post Card to Lusakas
BSAC 882
Incoming Post Card from South Africa - Depicting the Bathing Pool - Sea Point - Cancelled Docks-Cape Town 18 JUL 23A
With LUSAKAS 26 JUL 1923 arrival cancel - Clearly shows the dented outer arc on the NE corner of the date stamp
General Post History - Admirals – Deep Rosine shade on cover
BSAC 883
Cut down envelope to England with
Admirals 1d x 4deep Rosine shade

15 APR 1917

Livingstone 17 APR Transit backstamp
Item a little battered which does not detract
General Post History - Squared circle MWOMBOSHI on cover

MWOMBOSHI was originally in North East Rhodesia - As part of Mr Stephenson’s Re-organisation of the Postal service
The Post office transferred to North Western Rhodesia on 1 October 1905 (Closed circa 1906-07)
Lying some 30 miles
South of Broken Hill and 10 miles downstream from the railway bridge
Its location necessitated a 2½ hour oxcart service from the village to the rail siding

BSAC 884
Envelope with Large Arms 4d to England
An old rate as it was reduced to 2½d on 1.8.03
Cancelled with rare squared circle
31 OC 05
With an additional strike at the left
back stamped BULAWAYO 11 NOV 05 transit
and CHISWICK DE 2 05 arrival
Rare cover
General Post History - A 7 Month Tour of South & Central Africa
BSAC 885
Posted Johannesburg 13 OCT 03 to Fort Jameson, transit Bulawayo 17 Oct & Salisbury 18 Oct Arrived F. Jameson 3 Nov
Sent North via Abercorn 30 Nov Bismarckburg 5 Dec to Tabora 7 Jan 04 - Back South again via Dar-es-Salaam 2 Feb
To Beira 9 Feb & onto Salisbury 3 May - Received a boxed T - Tax mark & UNCLAIMED - ADVERTISED handstamps
Completing its seven month journey
1897 'Tati' Excised Dumb Canceller

TATI single circle datestamp with MATABELELAND excised used at FRANCISTOWN - Bechuanaland
When the line of rail to Bulawayo was completed it ran through Francistown, Bechuanaland but bypassed the settlement of Tati. Its post office is said to have been transferred to Francistown on 31st July 1897. Holmes in his book stated Francistown opened in early September 1897 - These statements conflict with my own research published in
The Rhodesian Philatelist No.1 (July 1993) In the article I illustrated the last known use for a TATI Mashonaland - Cancel dated AU 15 7 (1897) and eight examples of the excised cancels dated from
AU 31 7 to AP 16 98
The earliest recorded single circle FRANCISTOWN S. AFRICA cancel is SP 6 97 the foregoing suggests that the name
TATI was excised sometime between 16 & 29 August 1897 and that FRANCISTOWN received the TATI excised date stamp in that period
In my article I recorded the known covers cancelled with the TATI excised cancel, being two BSAC postal stationery cards and one envelope the item below is the 4th known cover

BSAC 888
Envelope to South Africa with a BSAC 4d Large Arms cancelled
TATI (excised)
AU 30 7 (1897)
Kimberley SP 3 97 arrival cancel.
There is a pencil notation on the reverse
N. HOOVERTransvaal Coal Trust Co.
The date of this excised cancel is the earliest recorded
for a TATI excised date stamp
General Post History - Post Card to Gadzema
BSAC 889
Post Card depicting Clifton-on-Sea Victoria Road and The Apostles mountains - Franked COGH KEVII ½d and cancelled
Cape Town NO 1 10 - Only a few days before the official opening of the Union Parliament on 4 November 1910
GADZEMA 7 NOV 10 arrival
Triple Rate cover to Hartley
BSAC 890
Long envelope with a pencil
endorsement Testimonial sent with
1d Triple rate inland postage
From Salisbury 17 JAN 10 to Hartley with JA 17 10 single circle arrival backstamp

Chisergwe Via Matokos to England
BSAC 892
Postcard depicting General Cronje’s residence & guard during his Internment on St Helena - Card written by Billy on 8 July 1902 who remarked ‘.....have not heard from either of you since I have been in this delightful place Chisurgwe’ - Note the place name spelling
It took 5 days to reach MATOKOS cancelled there on 13 JUL 02, Salisbury 22 July transit - On arrival England - Redirected twice from Hornchurch to Willingham – then to Cromer in Norfolk - This is the only known item from Chisergwe - See The Rhodesian Philatelist No 27
NELLY MINE Skeleton Cancel
BSAC 893
A postcard to England with 1d Small Arms cancelled by Skeleton NELLY MINE AU 16 02 - With code A above date and
Bulawayo 18 AUG transit - One of three known examples on cover - Ex Sinton
PENHALONGA triple circle
BSAC 894
Envelope to England with
Small Arms ½d & 2d, each
Cancelled with Triple circle
21 JAN 10

With a Liverpool
FE 12 10
Transit backstamp
VICTORIA Pre 1900 6d Rate
BSAC 896
Envelope to England with
Large Arms 2d x 3 cancelled
Blank at foot
OC 30 99
Salisbury transit and Paddington
DE 18 99 arrival
a 49 day transit during the
Boer War
VICTORIA FLS Skeleton cancel

BSAC 898
Post Card depicting the Falls to Belgium with Double Head 1d Perforation 15 - Cancelled with a late use of the
Single circle Skeleton VICTORIA FLS JA 13 13 - Rare item