VERY FINE. A HISTORIC COVER CARRIED FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO HONOLULU ON THE ANZAC CLIPPER ON DECEMBER 7, 1941 -- THE FLIGHT WAS FORTUITOUSLY DELAYED EACH OF THE PREVIOUS TWO DAYS AND FINALLY TOOK OFF ON THE MORNING OF THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK, ARRIVING LATE ENOUGH TO BE DIVERTED TO HILO AS THE BOMBS FELL.
A series of articles by Ken Lawrence in various philatelic journals tells the story of the Anzac Clipper and the mails it carried. We quote from one of them: "The Boeing B-314A flying boat Anzac Clipper took off from San Francisco late on the afternoon of December 5 but experienced mechanical trouble 400 miles out and had to return for repairs. After being repaired, she had been rescheduled to leave at two o’clock in the afternoon on December 6, but departure had been postponed so the pilot, Captain Harry Lanier Turner, could attend his daughter’s first piano recital at Oakland. At eight o’clock the next morning Anzac Clipper was less than an hour away from Honolulu when her radio officer received a coded flash warning that Pearl Harbor was under Japanese air attack. The providentially late departure from San Francisco had delayed her approach just long enough to have kept the vulnerable aircraft out of harm’s way. Pan Am’s 'Plan A' secret instructions in the event of war rerouted Anzac Clipper to Hilo, 220 miles southeast of the combat zone."
Mail from the Anzac Clipper can be identified by the Honolulu censor backstamps (after the attacks the mail was forwarded from Hilo to Honolulu). Mail to destinations in Hawaii was delivered. Flights farther west ceased. Mail to Japanese-occupied places was returned to the senders, as was the case with this cover addressed to Hong Kong. Mail to other places was rerouted for transatlantic transport to the destinations.