Last Updated: March 19, 2007

Air Letter Sheets (Aerogrammes) of Trinidad & Tobago 1943-1988


Rueben A. Ramkissoon

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Air Letter Sheets subsequently named aerogrammes, came into use as a result of a World War II economy measure. As a timely response to the need for rapid transmission of mail between military persons and their families, the scheme was relatively cheap, and offered the needed privacy. It was economical of space and bulk--the latter aspects being critical to military aircraft which had limited space for mail or cargo.

The introduction of aerogrammes to Trinidad began in 1943 with the use of Postage Paid Air Mail Letter sheets from His Majesty's ships operating from the Trinidad Naval Base. British military letter sheets soon followed the introduction of formula forerunner forms. Several revisions in printing formats and paper occurred. These carried the special rate of 12-cents for Empire destinations and anywhere in the world.

The exhibit shows a chronological development of the use of aerogrammes in Trinidad & Tobago during the colonial, early independence, and the beginnings of the Republic (within the British Commonwealth) periods. It includes all the known examples of archival and proof aerogrammes, as well as Specimen varieties of mint, used and flown aerogrammes. Paper varieties (watermark, color, and printing), and Errors of printing (omissions) are shown.

A wide variety of usages include domestic; regional; and regional uprated for the international use by adhesives or meter. Official government usages include registration. Ship transits show Paquebot markings. Underpaid or aerogrammes with enclosures were taxed or sent by surface Mail.. Summary of types, usages, period and prevailing postal rates follow: To better fit the typical display, the pages in this "exhibit" are in frames of 15 pages instead of 16.

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