Royal Mail Hoax Letters

article-2324972-19CA1B2A000005DC-53_634x851Royal Mail is once again in the news, but this time it’s down to a hoax letter gone viral. Written by Stuart Whitman, from Gloucester, the official looking letter has taken the internet by storm.
It appears to be a letter requesting that the 42 year old stop answering the door naked or jumping out of bushes yelling “Beware the giant bees!” at postal workers as they attempt to make their deliveries. The letter goes on to say that, whilst they’re sure there’s no harm meant, it’s intimidating their employees and politely requests that Mr Whitman refrain from any further pranks.

Hoax letters of this nature aren’t as uncommon as you may think. Several well known spoof letters have amused the world over the years, including one supposedly from a 98 year old woman who wrote to her bank to complain about a cheque bouncing in 2011. This letter, allegedly from a UK resident, was a resounding example of British sarcasm and wit, but – alas – was actually written by a Queensland Courier Mail columnist twelve years prior to its hitting the internet. Who says the Australian’s have no sense of humour?

While spoof letters are nothing new, determining which are actually spoofs and which aren’t can be a tricky business, and isn’t restricted to this century alone.  A letter, written by Sir Arthur Wellesley (the Duke of Wellington) during his campaigns in the Napoleonic War, has long been rumoured to be a hoax. Supposedly written in 1812, in response to a demand for accounting from Whitehall, Wellington gives a pithy (and rather amusing) reply to the demands of a Government he was often said to be despairing of.

“Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion’s petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.”

Well said, sir. Hoax or not, great letter writing should always be appreciated. As Royal Mail are always telling us, it’s becoming a lost art.

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