Thursday, February 10, 2011

United Nations Operation in the Congo
1960 - 1964
Canadian Military Mail
Soon after gaining independence from Belgium in June 1960, the Republic of Congo fell into a state of disorder. Belgium moved in 10,000 troops. The United Nations was asked to provide a force to help the Congolese authorities restore order and deal with the separatist threat of the Province of Katanga. The United Nations established the United Nations Operation in the Congo ("ONUC").

Over the next four years, the task of the ONUC was to help the Congolese Government restore and maintain the political independence and territorial integrity of the Congo; to help it maintain law and order throughout the country; and to put into effect a wide and long-range programme of training and technical assistance.

Canada's principal mission was to set up and maintain the UN communication system. Free mail privileges were approved for the UN force. Canadian CFPO 5046 operated at Leopoldville.

No. 57 Canadian Signal Unit

The 57 Canadian Signal Squadron was established at Barriefield and flown to Africa for United Nations duty in the Congo . The advance party arrived in Leopoldville on August11, 1960. On October 27 1960 the squadron combined with the Canadian Headquarters element and was redesignated 57 Canadian Signal Unit. The force returned to Canada in 1964.

No. 57 Canadian Signal Unit to Camp Borden, December 11, 1961
Free Mail

No. 57 Canadian Signal Unit to Toronto, September 23, 1963
CAPO 5046 ONUC return address

Post Card

UNOC to Brantford, October 3, 1963

The sender was returning home 12 days after mailing the post card. He writes, "I hope you like this picture as it is the only one I could get".

United Nations Stamps

On October 24, the United Nations Postal Administration issued a set of two stamps to recognize the United Nations Operation in the Congo.

Velvatone (Flocked) Cachet

Overseas Mailers