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The Ava 1858

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1985/02/012

This cover carries a fine two-line cachet:   Saved from the wreck / of the Ava.  This cover was posted on 6 February and on board the Ava when she sailed from Calcutta on 10 February. The ship carried several military officers who had taken part in the relief of Lucknow following the Mutiny there. The ship had been chartered by the government to take on board at Madras, treasure consisting of 500 boxes valued at £253,000 to be taken to Trincomalee for safe keeping. Further passengers, mostly women and children were also embarked. While still some way off the port of Trincomalee the master, Captain Kirton, mistook a light and houses on the coast for the entrance to the port.  This ship struck rocks.  The seventy passengers and a number of Chinamen took to the boats and reached Trincomalee the following afternoon. No lives were lost. 

The letter was written at Camp Bastee (Now Basti) near the Northern border with Nepal and was posted at Goruckpoor (now Gorakhpur).