Covers should be listed in chronological order. Use the postmark date or best guess. This applies to covers with add-on cachets as well.
John Gill Page 1 (Covers)
John Gill Page 2 (Postmarks 03/13/1935 to 08/13/1935)
John Gill Page 3 (Postmarks 08/14/1935 to 12/04/1935)
JOHN E. GILL of the Old Ironsides Chapter No. 1, USCS (1935)
On March 15, 1935 John Gill of the Old Ironsides Chapter (USCS Chapter #1) in Boston provided a cancel for the commissioning of MacDONOUGH, whose postmark had not yet arrived. Later Gill cut out the date and killer bar wording so the cancel could be used on regular mail. When the ship's regulation postmark arrived, Gill removed the name as well to make a variable wording cancel, inspired by the North Bay Stamp Club cancel. Thus was born this postmark, used on 55 ships between May and December of 1935. Many uses were in the Boston area, but during August Gill made a long trip down the East Coast to use the cancel on as many ships as possible. Many of these ships were small and had no post offices. Often only a few covers were made for each, and even fewer were actually mailed. Some collectors consider its use on ships that had no active post office as non-postal and of curiosity value only. The cancel was destroyed in 1937 with no further use.
The cut-up cancel retains many characteristics of the original device. Distinctive new features include two small gashes at the bottom of the dial, apparently made when Gill cut out the name MacDONOUGH. The small gap in the dial at the 5 o'clock position from the original postmark remains.
This inventory, with the postal status of each ship, is a complete list from the 1939 edition of the Handbook of Naval Postmarks by Hale and Emerson, prepared by Gill himself. Gill also chronicled his adventures with this cancel in the USCS Log during 1935.
(USCS CATALOG of UNITED STATES NAVAL POSTMARKS, Fifth Edition, 1997)
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Killer Bar Text
Cachet sponsor - Old Ironsides Chapter No. 1, USCS
Launching of USS Shark SS-174
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