As an island with a strong maritime history, much of Barbados’s philatelic history is based on the transfer of letters by ship. Of course today all the mail goes by air and there are regular flights from the island to not only neighbouring islands but to major international hubs.
Many of these routes started in fairly recent times with the first flight into what was then known as Seawell Airport, commencing in October 1938 when a mail plane from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Trinidad landed safely. Today Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) serves as an international airport and mail come into and out of it daily.
As mail services developed then inevitably there were first flight covers and this section covers any that happen to turn up in the collection.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be gifted some old literature about Barbados, and buried within the bundle of material were two excellent articles on First Flights. One of them, published in 1958 in The Aero Field Magazine, contained within it a table of all the first flights from 1929 to 1957. This superb piece of work by N.C. Baldwin is not currently, to the best of my knowledge, available online, so I am reproducing the table here in a slightly different format to make it easier to use. You can expand the number of rows you see by clicking on the selector at the of the table and there are 23 separate entries to see.
Whilst I’d like to be able to show all of these covers, to date I have just two from this table and several later first flights. Hopefully, this will act as a standing resource for anyone interested in First Flight Covers from Barbados.
|1929||1st April||Bridgetown - Port of Spain, Trinidad||Lancaster|
|1930||8th April||Bridgetown- St Lucia, Antigua, St Thomas & othes||NYRBA|
|1938||18th October||Bridgetown - Trinidad - Curacao||K.L.M.||Experimental Flight|
|1939||6th February||Bridgetown - Trinidad & onwards||K.L.M.||Start of regular service|
|1939||6th March||Bridgetown - round Barbados||Souvenir mail flown round the island by Flight Lieut. J.S. Johnson|
|1939||June 15th||New York - Azores - Lisbon - Marseilles||P.A.A. Transatlantic||First acceptance of mail for transatlantic transit|
|1939||4th September||Bridgetown - Trinidad - Paramaribo||K.L.M.||Extension of existing service|
|1940||27th November||Bridgetown - Trinidad||B.W.I.A.|
|1943||22nd March||Bridgetown - St. Georges, Grenada||B.W.I.A.|
|1943||25th March||Bridgetown - St. John's, Antigua & St Kitts||B.W.I.A.|
|1943||28th March||Bridgetown - Castris, St. Lucia||B.W.I.A.|
|1943||16th May||Bridgetown - Kingstown, St. Vincent||B.W.I.A.|
|1944||1st November||Civilian airletter service to U.K. (1/-), Empire Countries beyond U.K. (1/6), North American area and Caribbean (6d)|
|1944||16th December||Bridgetown - Jamaica via St. Kitts||B.W.I.A.|
|1945||1st November||Bridgetown - Georgetown, British Guiana||B.W.I.A.|
|1948||3rd May||Bridgetown - La Guaira, Venezuela|
|1949||3rd December||Bridgetown - Trinidad - Bermuda - Toronto||T.C.A.|
|1950||17th May||Bridgetown - Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe||B.W.I.A.|
|Increase in mail fees 2½d to 6d
U.K. increased from 1/3 to 1/6 and Australasia from 3/- to 3/3
|1953||10th October||Bridgetown - New York & London||B.O.A.C.|
|1953||16th December||Bridgetown - San Juan, Puerto Rico||B.W.I.A.||First Viscount service|
|1956||3rd January||Bridgetown - Martinique with connections to Guadeloupe, Sainte Martin and Porto Rico||Air France|
|1957||14th May||Bridgetown - New York||P.A.A.|