16 October 2014

One Crore Question on world’s first Airmail in KBC..




A stamp recognizing the feat of Henri Piquet

The recent episode of KBC in which Narula brothers of New Delhi won seven Crore Rupees, the One Crore Question was from Philately i.e name the pilot who flew the plane of world's first official airmail. To see the question I remembered my Blog Post and Henri Piquet's face flashed in my mind and unconsciously chose the right answer....Hope my philatelist friends watched this episode and felt the thrilling moment !! We always learn from philately....


India Post issued a souvenir sheet during World Stamp Exhibition INDIPEX 2011 on 100 years of Air Mail

On 18 February, 1911 the first commercial civil aviation flight took place in India between Allahabad and Naini, a distance of 6 miles when Henri Piquet carried 6500 mails on a Humber biplane. This is considered to be the world’s first airmail service and the beginning of civil aviation in India.


The Kumbh is known to have been a place where the first Air Mail started.

Historically,  Allahabad and the Mahakumbh are of great relevance. If the world  at any point got an Air Mail it was due to this very Kumbh in 1911.On February 8, 1911, French pilot Henri Piquet loaded a sack of 6500 cards and letters and flew away in a two seater bi plane. The flight was made to Naini and it reportedly lasted barely 13 minutes. Though it flew a mere five miles but it did create history.

This was the world’s first official airmail. Among the many letters sent ere the one written by Motilal Nehru to his son Jawaharlal Nehru and some addressed to England's King George V.

The flight happened when a grand exhibition was happening. The idea of the Airmail was the brainchild of British commander Walter G Windham. The British commander was reportedly approached by the chaplain of Allahabad’s Holy Trinity Church to help raise funds.

The idea which was then conceived for the money, was the AirMail. Many might ask how was this going to help, the idea was simple. This was to not only generate money, but it was also to help publicize the exhibition and also set an example of rapid and safe transportation of mails.

Hence, the idea of the world's first official airplane mail was born. Those interested in availing the service were asked to send their mail addressed and stamped to the chaplain of the Holy Trinity Church. The payment for the service was a basic six annas as donation. The funds collected were to go for the new hostel building of the Church. A condition however was set that cards or letters weighing less than one ounce was to be accepted.

Since the occasion was ceremonial, these letters were addressed to people all over the globe. It is believed when the flight was made thousands were present to witness the site. They viewed the take off from the polo ground and the landing at Naini junction.

It is said, when Piquet descended, there was no crowd to greet him. He merely handed over the mail bag to the only post office official present there and returned to Allahabad.Piquet himself is believed to have noted that he flew on a Sommer bi-plane with a rotary Gnome engine of 50 horsepower at the speed of 60 miles per hour at a height of 120-150 feet.

In an interview given to a magazine he had said, he flew over the Ganga and was sure he would make it. The interview was given before he died in 1974 at the age of 86.

Read More..



No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails