‘First letter’ sent abroad by soldier returned

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013


THE first “letter” claimed to have been sent from a PNG post office to another country has been returned after 74 years. 

The letter was written by Hugh McMillan Lyon in Lae, Morobe, to his mother in Sydney, Australia, on July 30, 1934, eight years before the Second World War.

Though the content of the letter was damaged, the old and faded white envelope which contained the letter and a note regarding the letter was presented to the post office by Lyon’s close friend Cliff Harvey.    

In a ceremony yesterday at the Lae Post Office, Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Allan McLay said it was the wish of the late Lyon that the letter be returned to Lae where it was written.

“It is the original letter. It was his (Lyon’s) dying wish that the letter be returned to Lae,” McLay said.

“The letter has been kept for 74 years by his family.

“It has the names of the crew of the plane that was carrying it.”

Lyon was the first postmaster in Lae and an employee of Guinea Airways, an Australian airline company which was also doing postal air deliveries.

Nellie McLay, representing the provincial administration, paid tribute to the Lyon family for preserving the letter and giving it back to the post office to keep as a souvenir. 

“Thank you for bringing back a piece of history that belongs to Lae,” McLay said. 

Reuben Aila, chairman of Post PNG, said the company had gone through a lot of transformation and it was good to have a piece of its history back.

The unveiling of the monument was witnessed by guests and staff members of the post office.