A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of Stephen Smith, the Rocket Mail Pioneer :
Issued by India
Issued on Dec 19, 1992
Issued for : The Department of Posts deems it a privilege to issue a stamp on a highly respected pioneer of air borne mail.
Design Credits :
Stamp : India Security Press, Nashik.
First Day Cover & Cancellation : Sankha Samanta
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 1100 Paise
Overall size : 3.91 x 2.90 cms.
Printing size : 3.55 x 2.54 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Imported Un W/M gravure coated gummed stamp paper
Number Printed : 6,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 35
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printed : India Security Press
Name : Stephen Hector Taylor–Smith
Born on Feb 14, 1891 at Strawberry Hill, Shillong, Assam, India
Died on Feb 15, 1951
- The first Indian Rocket Mail Experiment had taken place at sea, from ship (Pancy) to shore off Saugor island on 30th September, 1934. It carried 143 letters, which owing to a mid-air burst scattered in many directions. 140 letters were salvaged and three were lost. Cover bears the post mark of “Saugor island”, “30 SE 34”.
- The first land rocket experiment took place on the same day as the sea experiment and the rocket was fired across a small creek by Mr. Walter Shenton, the keeper of the light house at Saugor island, 220 covers were flown which included 3 covers franked with “Dutch Rocket Stamps” and 8 covers which had been carried in the First Rocket Experiment, “SHIP TO SHORE”.
- The above cover was flown in the first shore to Ship Rocket Experimental Flight on 3rd October 1934 from Saugor island to the survey vessel “Guide” plunged into the sea. It carried 135 letters which were salvaged by a boat and were handed over the next day at Muriganga post office.
- Stephen Hector Taylor Smith, the father of Indian Aero Philately, commonly known as Stephen Smith was born on 14th February 1891 at Strawberry Hill, Shillong, Assam. Smith was a pioneer of Aero-philately and made several experiments with various types of balloon mail, rocket mail, air mail etc. Even as a boy, along with other school mates Smith attempted to transport live garden lizards as rockets over the swimming pool of St. Pratrick’s School, Asansol. Unfortunately only one rocket rose up in the air and burst killing the lizards tied to it. Smith was the first rocket experimenter to convey successfully in one of his rockets parcels of food stuff, medicine and livestock.
- Stephen Smith died on 15th February 1951 and is now immortalised as the Father of Aero-philately.