The Rhodesias & Nyasaland: From Colonial Rule to Majority Rule

The Evolution of the Mails

By Brian Trotter RDP FRPSL, Patrick Flanagan RDPSA FRPSL and Keith Harrop FRPSL

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Retail price £54, Members Price £49.

Brian Trotter Patrick Flanagan Keith Harrop

ISBN 978-1-913015-26-8

This book is primarily a book about philately – but including elements of social history to help set the philately in context. The book provides an overview of the philately of Rhodesia during the period from Colonial Rule to Majority Rule.

The book also offers fresh insights as well as a considerable amount of new information.

Over the years a significant number of articles and books have been published on the philately of Rhodesia, especially for the early postal history. However, if any part of Rhodesian philatelic writing has been a little less well served, it is the period after the British South Africa Company relinquished its administration.

This book traces the parallel evolution of the mails of the three territories, their coming together as the ill fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the inevitable break up of the Federation after only ten years.

Nyasaland became the Republic of Malawi shortly after the break up of the Federation, with Northern Rhodesia following relatively soon afterwards as the Republic of Zambia.

However, Southern Rhodesia soon became Rhodesia, and when no agreement could be reached with the British Government on the terms of independence, Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from Britain.

After a protracted period of sanctions and armed conflict with guerilla organisations seeking independence, this was finally achieved in 1980, some 16 years after the break up of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The social and political aspects covered in the book include WWII and the Rhodesian Bush War. Souvenir covers record the main political events that finally led to majority rule in all three territories.

Brian Trotter, RDP, FRPSLHon. FRPSL

Brian has been awarded large gold medals at international exhibitions, and is an accredited national and international philatelic juror. Written numerous articles and three previous major philatelic books. He has been, amongst other things, the President of the Royal Philatelic Society London, and Chairman of the London 2010 International Philatelic Exhibition.

Patrick Flanagan, RDPSA, FRPSL

Patrick has exhibited most aspects of the Rhodesias over 30 years, and been awarded international large gold medals. He is the Chairman and a Life Vice President of the Rhodesia Study Circle and is a Director of the Philatelic Foundation of South Africa. He is a Nationally and Internationally accredited judge, and has written a number of articles on Rhodesian philately.


Keith has many interest’s in the Rhodesia’s, especially aviation and military. A collector for over sixty years. He is a Life Vice President of the Rhodesian Study Circle and co-author of a number of their Memoirs as well as assisting in others. He is also a regular speaker at the Rhodesian Study Circle meetings.

Scope of the Book.
The Territories.
Evolution of the Mails

Chapter 1 The Territories
1. Introduction.

Chapter 2 Transition Period Mails
2.1 Southern Rhodesia
2.2 Northern Rhodesia.
2.3 Nyasaland.

Chapter 3 Surface Mail Prior to Airmail
3.1 Southern Rhodesia
3.2 Northern Rhodesia.
3.3 Nyasaland.

Chapter 4 Further Evolution until WWII
4.0 Introduction.
4.1 Special Flight Air mail.
4.2 The 1929 Rail Strike Air mails.
4.3 Surface and Air mail Overview.
4.4 The Early Imperial Airways Route to Africa.
4.5 Imperial Airways Route Expansions
4.6 Regional Air Mail Development and New Stamp Issues.
4.7 Ongoing Evolution of the Mails up to WWII.
4.7.1 Rhodesian and Nyasaland Airways (RANA) − Part 1.
4.7.2 New Postage Stamps for All Three Territories
4.7.3 Rhodesian and Nyasaland Airways (RANA) − Part 2.
4.7.4 The Empire Air Mail Scheme
4.7.5 Rhodesian and Nyasaland Airways (RANA) − Part 3.
4.8 Miscellaneous Mails Prior to WWII

Chapter 5 Mail During WWII
5.1 Introduction.
5.2 Impact of WWII on the Evolution of the Mails.
5.3 Mail Related Changes
5.4 Censorship
5.4.1 British Empire Letter Codes.
5.4.2 Censorship − Southern Rhodesia.
5.4.3 Censorship − Northern Rhodesia.
5.4.4 Censorship − Nyasaland
5.5 Southern Rhodesia Royal Air Force Bases
5.5.1 The Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS).
5.5.2 The Southern Rhodesia Camps.
5.5.3 The RAF in Southern Rhodesia
5.6 Southern Rhodesia Interment and Refugee Camps.
5.7 Rhodesian Prisoner of War Mail.
5.8 Communications with those Serving Abroad.
5.9 WWII Postal Stationery Developments.
5.9.1 Active Service Letter Cards.
5.9.2 The Airgraph Service.
5.9.3 Active Service Honesty Envelopes.
5.9.4 Rhodesian African Rifles − Two-Way Letter Scheme.
5.10 Other Aspects of WWII Mail

Chapter 6 Mails from WWII to Federation
6.1 Introduction.
6.2 New Stamp Issues.
6.3 Southern Rhodesia Royal Visit of 1947.
6.4 Airlines Serving the Three Territories.
6.5 Further New Commemorative Stamps
6.6 The Death of King George VI.
6.7 The 1953 Commemorative Stamps.

Chapter 7 Federation Mails 1953 to 1963
7.1 Federation Period Definition.
7.2 Transition to Federation
7.3.1 Federation − Introduction.
7.3.2 The QEII Definitive Stamps of the Territories
7.3.3 Federation Definitive Stamps of 1954
7.3.4 Inter Territorial Stamps and Covers.
7.3.5 Federation Definitive Stamps of 1959
7.3.6 Federation Commemorative Stamps.
7.3.7 Postal Stationery Mixed Franking
7.3.8 Airlines Serving the Federation
7.3.9 Central African Airways Air Letter Service
7.3.10 Mobile Post Offices in Northern Rhodesia.
7.3.11 Emergency Use of Shabani Railway Date Canceller.
7.3.12 Other Aspects of Federation Mails.

Chapter 8 Mkushi Post Offices & the Beck Saga
8 Introduction.
8.1 The Initial Mkushi Post Office.
8.2 The Mkushi River Post Office.
8.3 The Relocated Mkushi Post Office.
8.4 The Beck Saga
8.4.1 The Beck Legacy − The Mkushi Provisional Postage Due Stamps
8.4.2 The Beck Legacy − The Old Mkushi Post Office.
8.4.3 The Beck Legacy Overview.

Chapter 9 The End of Federation
9 Introduction.
9.1 Nyasaland to Malawi
9.2 Northern Rhodesia to Zambia
9.3 Southern Rhodesia to Rhodesia
9.3.1 Southern Rhodesia and Rhodesia
9.3.2 The Surcharging of Rhodesian Mail.
9.3.3 The First Surcharge Period from 1965 to 1969.
9.3.4 The Second Surcharge Period from 1 April Until 8 October 1970
9.3.5 Mail Service Suspended.

Chapter 10 Armed Forces Mail During the Bush War
10.1 Introduction.
10.2 Bush War Overview.
10.3 Rhodesian Armed Forces Military Postal Service
10.4 Mail to the Armed Forces
10.5 Mail from the Armed Forces.

Chapter 11 Rhodesia to Zimbabwe
11.1 Introduction.
11.2 Covers Relating to the Political Events.
Select Bibliography.

The scope of the book is large, and therefore, of necessity, the book provides only an overview of the evolution of the mails of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland in the period from colonial rule to majority rule. The available information from primary sources is sometimes incomplete, and therefore, both published and unpublished research by previous authors has also been taken into account. Hopefully it will provide much information that is of use to the majority of collectors of the postal history of the region.
Postal history purists, with some justification, feel that only commercial mail constitutes postal history. However, the milestones commemorated by especially contrived First Day and First Flight covers and other special event covers, do highlight these special events, and will be used to do so in this work.

Sample pages (click one to enlarge)