During the spring of 1939 a number of countries were competing for the honor
of establishing the first regular air service across the Atlantic Ocean linking the
new world with the old. Pan American's fleet of Martins M-130 flying boat Clippers
were aging and becoming extremely expensive to maintain. Delivery of the new Boeing
B-314 flying boat Clippers began in January 1939. The "Yankee Clipper" was christened
by Mrs Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 3, 1939 at an impressive ceremony at the
Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington DC. This flying boat was symbolic of the
new age of easy, fast long-range travel and vividly captured the public imagination.
On March 26, 1939 the "Yankee Clipper" piloted by Harold Gray left Baltimore
for a survey flight to Southampton, England via the "Southern route." The
round-trip flight was a total success with the "Yankee Clipper" returning to
Baltimore on April 19th. Pan Am announced it would inaugurate transatlantic
mail air service on May 20, 1939.
Who would be the first to send mail to be carried on this inaugural transatlantic
flight? On April 25, 1939 Charles Broad Jr sent an air mail cover from Chicago to
New York on TWA to be held in anticipation of the announced Pan Am first flight.
This air mail cover was not only carried on the "Yankee Clipper" on the "Southern Route"
air service on May 20, 1939 but was further carried round-the-world before it was
returned to Broad in Chicago.
Departed Chicago, IL 04/25/39
Remkersleben, Germany 04/26/39
Calcutta, India 05/22/39
Hong Kong 05/28/39
San Francisco, CA 06/xx/39
Arrived Chicago, IL 06/xx/39