Friday, April 17, 2015

German Leibgarde Soldatenbrief cachet used in 1914 as a canceler

L/Lg. …

With help from Lars Böttger, author of the groundbreaking  Handbuch zur Besetzung von Luxemburg im 1. Weltkrieg 1914-1918 und der alliierten Besetzung, I’ve begun to better appreciate Luxembourgian WW1 postal history.

Here a German soldier from Leibgarde 115—an elite unit of the German army—has used his soldier’s brief cachet to cancel the 5c Arms postal card imprint, while the Bettborn post office has applied its bridge-and-bar cancel dated 18 August 1914 to the card.  The card is addressed to Darmstadt, Germany, with the writer also showing Bettborn as his location on the message side of the card. 

Böttger comments that the card shows the close cooperation between the Luxembourg Post and the German Army.  The card is also unusual in this respect.  The soldier could have written his message on a stampless fieldpost card or inscribed this card as fieldpost; instead, he chose to send the card canceled with his soldier’s brief cachet without fieldpost inscription.

The long, colorful history of the German Leibgarde itself is an interesting story.  Relevant here is the German Wikipedia Leibgarde entry, which notes that at the beginning of World War 1 in August 1914

[d]as Regiment bestand aus drei Bataillone mit je vier Kompanien, dazu ab 1913 je Bataillon eine Maschinengewehr-Kompanie. Nachdem am 1. August 1914 der Mobilmachungsbefehl eingegangen war, stand das Regiment am fünften Mobilmachungstag in einer Stärke von 83 Offizieren, 3305 Unteroffizieren und Mannschaften sowie 240 Pferden abmarschbereit.

At page 93 of the Böttger handbook, two other S.B. cachets are shown, both in violet, with dates of 26 August and 31 August, 1914. 

There is, as another Luxembourg postal historian Hans-Ulrich Doose wrote a couple years ago in Le Moniteur, “still plenty to be discovered."  So true!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

German WW1 Occupation of Esch-sur-Alzette—a Newly Discovered Military Cachet





K.D. Feldpost Station * Nr 1 * with violet eagle cachet 
to Virton, Belgium, 11 Aug 1916:

II. Landst. Inf. Batl. Siegburg (VIII. 32)


Esch, Alz.

Lars Böttger, respected Luxembourg proofer and author of the outstanding Handbuch zur Besetzung von Luxemburg im 1. Weltkrieg 1914-1918 und der alliierten Besetzung, says that this is the first reported example of this cachet and “a good indication that Esch/Alzette was … occupied by the German Landsturm.”



Also, Lars kindly shares with us the earliest reported K.D. Feldpost Station Nr. 1 use:

Feldpost #1


K.D. Feldpoststation No. 1

28 Aug 1914!

10c 1877 Arms Misperforated on Two Sides




Occasionally a stamp or cover turns up that doesn’t fit traditional classifications—some writers such as Christiane Mayer-Tyes use the term “curiosity” for these strangers.  This curiosity—a 10c 1877 Arms definitive postmarked Luxemburg 4/11 1877—appears to almost have mini-gutters at the bottom and on the right!