Last Modified: March 24, 2004

New Zealand POW Aerogrammes


Jerome V. V. Kasper

During World War II, approximately 9000 New Zealanders were captured and held in German and Italian Prisoner-Of-War camps. Reliable communication with their POW's was a high priority for the NZ government. On September 19, 1941, the Postmaster General approved the printing of special aerogramme forms (similar to those of Great Britain) valid only for writing to NZ POW held in Europe.

This exhibit shows mint and/or used copies of all nine NZ POW aerogrammes. Aerogrammes were first censored by NZ censors and if not approved, they were returned to the sender. The aerogrammes went by air to Lisbon, Portugal and then to Stuttgart, Germany. Upon arrival at POW camps, they were censored by camp censors. They were returned if the address was inadequate or if the POW had been repatriated. They were forwarded if the POW had been relocated. Mail recovered at the end of the war was handled by NZ army base post offices located in the UK and forwarded to the addressee or returned to the sender. One copy sent to a prisoner of the Japanese has been recorded. Nine different issues were produced by June 30, 1945, when they were withdrawn from sale.

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