Operation Crossroads Nuclear Nuclear Test Abel
Special Philatelic and General Use Covers

by Dirk H.R. Spennemann


This page depicts philatelic covers created to commemorate the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in 1946. These covers include some offical cachets made in Washington, as well as cachets made for the individual ships. The demand for these cachets was enormous, as the quote below illustrates:

"Upon our return to Bikini we assumed our primary mission which was to provide a floating Fleet Post Office for Joint Task Force One and supporting elements. The tank deck of the LST 861 had been transformed into a large post office and furnished mail service for every ship and element of Joint Task Force One. I suppose every captain`s gig , duty launch, LCVPs, and other small boats from the fleet came alongside each day with Guard and personal mail. We opened the LST bow doors, creating a dock, to make it easy to come alongside and enter the tank deck. There were mountains of mail - incoming and outgoing !

A unique aspect of the Fleet Post Office operation was the sacks of mail we got from the philatelic community, all over the world, asking for cancellations of stamps with the atom bomb test cancellation cachet. Each collector sent 20-30 stamped envelopes to be hand cancelled. Two cachets were used - one for the Able shot and one for the Baker shot. Sailors were assigned to "hand cancel" these letters with special hand stamps in lieu of the machine cancellation (which may have smeared the stamps). There must have been thousands of these letters. I recall no limit to the outside (non-participants) number of requests for cancellation but another post on this web page states the fleet participants were allowed only four envelopes per man. They are probably becoming hard to find now." [Source: Operation Crossroads US Atomic Veterans Rod Van Ausdall (http://www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets/van.htm)].

Depicted on this page are covers by (in alphabetical order)

USS Appalachian (AGC-1)
USS Bountiful (AH-9)
USG Kenneth Whitting (AV-14)
USS Pensacola (CA-24)
USS Pilot Fish (SS-386)
USS Shangri La (CV-38)
USS Saidor (CVE-117)
USS Turner (DD-834)

A complete list of non-target ships involved in Operation Crossroads can be found here.

Generic Covers

Washington Cover
[Source: ebay March 2002]

Cover carried on the bombing plane
[Source: ebay April 2002]


Cover by USS Saidor (CVE-117)
[Source: ebay March 2002]

Cover by USS Shangri La (CV-38). Photo inset by Walter Crosby.
[Source: ebay March 2002]


Cover by USS Pensacola (CA-24). Photo inset by Walter Crosby.
[Source: e-bay March 2002]


Cover by USS Turner (DD-834). generic Cover with Turner cancel.
[Source: Mayo Postal History item 98b412]


Cover by USG Pilot Fish (SS-386). (forged cover?)
[Source: ebay March 2002]

Support Ships

Cover by USG Kenneth Whitting (AV-14). Photo inset by Walter Crosby,
[Source: ebay March 2002]

Cover by USS Bountiful (AH-9)
[Source: ebay March 2002]

Cachet design by USS Appalachian (AGC-1). Designed by Gunnery Sergeant Grant Powers, USMC,
[Source: US National Archives]

[European History]    [Stamps]

Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2002). Special Philatelic and General Use Covers to commemorate the Operation Crossroads Nuclear Nuclear Test Abel .
URL: http:/marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/Stamps/BikiniTestCovers/BikiniTestCovers.html

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.
e-mail: dspennemann@csu.edu.au

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