2a) Signed and flown, LT(jg) J.L.
Ship was at NAS COCO SOLO in Panama on this date
2b) Signed and flown by 1st Radio/Radarman
Milton Blake, Jr.
Ship was at Rio de Janeiro on this date
Panama Canal and moored at Balboa Submarine Base.
Balboa, C.Z. for the Antarctic.
the Equator at Longitude 28° 47'W.
towards Peter I Island on Longitude 99° 30'W .
the Antarctic Circle at 99° 44'W.
successful flights made over Thurston Island.
aircraft "George One" crashed killing three crewmen. Flights
to locate the downed craft were hampered by bad weather. Please
read the compelling story on this site:
Mayday by crash survivor James Robbins.
One" crash site located; supplies dropped.
towards Bransfield Strait and north of the South Orkneys en route
to the Weddell Sea.
off Princess Martha and Astrid Coasts.
flights made to coast on March 1 and 2.
operations terminated; headed for Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
the Panama Canal.
dry-dock at Balboa, C.Z. to replace port screw.
at Balboa, C.Z.
for San Diego, California.
at San Diego, California. (date not known).
different four-bar hand cancels were used by the
ISLAND, one incorporating the ship's branch number 15763
(figure 1), the other with the ship's name and designation (figure 2).
A single-line ship's name handstamp, measuring 38.5mm x 2mm high, is
found on some Highjump covers from this ship (figure 3). Another large
cachet, which appears to be homemade, can be found on a few covers (figure
4). This is referred to as the "Chaplain's Cachet" although
the reason for this is unknown to this writer.
regards to figures 2a and 2b, these covers were ostensibly "flown"
on PBM 5 BuNo 59052, a.k.a. GEORGE
2 . In figure 2a, according to the rubber stamp this
cover was carried on a flight to the "Antarctic Continent"
and was signed by
(jg.) Jim Ball, pilot of GEORGE 2.
would appear that the cancellation date nullifies its authenticity as
having been flown to the "Antarctic Continent" since the
PINE ISLAND was at the Panama Canal on this date.
this cover (and others?) could have been carried on an Antarctic exploratory
flight weeks earlier and once arriving at the Panama Canal, Lt. Ball
simply sat down and signed them, however that logic hardly seems plausible.
For reasons below, I personally doubt this cover was ever actually flown.
Fig. 2b is a "flown" cover signed by ARM 1/C
Blake, Jr., who was First Radio Radarman on
The cancellation date on this piece puts the ship at Rio de Janeiro.
to Gene Litz, co-pilot and navigator of
"Task Group 68.3 put
into Rio harbor on March 18, 1947. I still have the official program
for the visit. We departed March 24. We made one flight while in Rio
and circled around Corcovado and Sugarloaf.
I remember that a Brazilian feerry almost ran us down when we were taxiing on the water. That
flight could have been on March 23 but it's not in my log book because
the plane, probably flown by Ball, was loaded with aviation personnel
getting in the required 4 hours in order to qualify for flight pay.
The April flight had to have
been made at
SOLO in Panama for the
same reason. Both crews were assigned temporarily to that base while
awaiting our orders to new duty stations. Both George 2 and 3 were
there as well.
The PINE ISLAND couldn't transit the Panama Canal with
the aircraft aboard because the wings extended well beyond the width
of the ship and couldn't fit in the locks. Blake was not a member
of any of the flight crews in the Eastern group to the best of my
He could have been part of the PINE ISLAND's ships company
and quite possibly been one of those getting their flight time in
when we were in Rio.
My log book records two flights
while in Coco Solo - one each in George 2 and 3."
I put the question to him as to whether or not he'd ever witnessed souvenir
mail being carried on any of the flights of
GEORGE 2 ,
his response was:
"Absolutely not! Also,
the mailman aboard the PINE ISLAND was a guy from Baltimore that I
got to know fairly well. If there had been any action in that area
I'm sure he would have let me in on it."
of souvenir covers were supplied by the "Collegiate Philatelic Society"
to the seaplane tenders USS PINE ISLAND and
as well as the expedition flagship USS
Covers flown on the R4D's out of Little
America are a known fact. However, in coversation with Bill Kreitzer,
pilot of a PBM with the other seaplane tender
no such covers were ever witnessed being carried aboard his aircraft.
there legitimate flown covers from the seaplane tenders? I've yet to find
anyone who can give me a definite "yes" or "no" on
this matter. Unfortunately, none of the signatories have stepped forward
to authenticate them and most likely never will since most, if not all,
have passed away.
This mystery will probably remain unsolved. Interestingly
enough, the souvenir covers produced by the CPS were also utilized during
the followup to Highjump, OPERATION
WINDMILL. So "buyer beware" when these items
are offered at auction. It is very wise to do your homework as these "flown"
pieces command prices far greater than typical ship's mail.
all the cancels, this writer has observed of both types used by this
ship, not a single one has been seen with the "time" (A.M.
or P.M.) slug in place on mail serviced during Operation Highjump.