So why do I need to recall the post. Not because SSL connection establishment is not expensive. It is indeed. The issue is that HTTP1.1 (opposed to HTTP1.0) can pool the connections and reuse them for later requests thus diminishing the effect of HTTPS latency).
So why the Apache web server was not behaving well (and put me into confusion)? Configuration .....
The AWS was configured to use HTTP1.0 for HTTPS connection under Internet explorer.
I did not understand yet why(an issue for a later post) is it so, probably bugs in older versions of IE. Anyway commenting out the following lines in httpd-ssl.conf brings back the missing .1:
BrowserMatch ".*MSIE.*" \
nokeepalive ssl-clean-shutdown \
And voila after that only one roundtrip for SSL requests.....
Absolutely great :-)