When he saw the postmark, Finlay Glen wondered why this letter had taken so long. "February 6, 16" was written on it. Apparently the envelope was posted from the city of Bath, England, to Glen's address in London. However, it had a false name on it. The 27-year-old initially thought the letter had been in transit since 2016 and had been sent to the wrong recipient.
His astonishment was even greater, however, when he realized that the date of the postmark was not 2016 – it was 1916. So the letter was not just delivered a few years late, but more than a century. The Englishman told the BBC that he was "quite surprised and confused". He received the letter in 2021, but only now has he made it public.
The letter wasn't addressed to him, but Glen opened it anyway – although strictly speaking, the law doesn't allow it. He had the feeling that it was "okay", so the theater director from London: "If I committed a crime with it, I apologize." However, it is unlikely that the original recipient is still alive.
Because it was a certain "Aunt Katie", that's the salutation in the letter. She was the wife of London stamp dealer Oswald Marsh, who appeared to have lived at Glen's address in London's Crystal Palace more than a hundred years ago. The sender was Christabel Mennell, daughter of a tea entrepreneur and family friend, who sent the letter while on holiday in Bath. In it, she reports that she feels "miserable with a very bad cold."
Finlay Glen offers to deliver the letter to the intended recipient's heirs if they get in touch. It has not yet been clarified why the delivery took so long. "Incidents like this happen very rarely, and we are not sure what happened in this case. We appreciate that people are intrigued by the story of this 1916 letter, but we have no further information on how what could have happened,” explained the Royal Mail.
Sources: South London Press / BBC