The United Kingdom’s Royal Mail postal service launched a 2019 “Best of British” campaign Thursday to celebrate centuries of British history and accomplishments.
Stamps highlighting British customs, engineering, photography, forests, as well as the bicentenaries of the birth of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, are all part of a postal roll-out that “commemorates anniversaries and celebrates events and popular culture relevant to UK heritage and life,” according to a Royal Mail release.
One portion of commemorative series, however, has the Royal Mail under fire: A stamp honoring the 75th anniversary of British soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944 — D-Day — actually features a photograph of U.S. troops wading ashore in Dutch New Guinea, nearly 8,500 miles away.
The image, taken one month before the D-Day landings, is an official U.S. Coast Guard photograph that was featured in a July 1944 issue of “All Hands” magazine. It can be found in the digital archives of the National WWII Museum.
Britain’s stamp faux-pas was instantaneously lambasted online — a social media custom — by history enthusiasts.
“Wow Royal Mail really need some better fact checkers,” one user wrote.
“What a shambles!” military historian Andy Saunders tweeted. “Royal Mail 2019 D-Day stamp shows US Marines coming ashore from USS LCI(L)-30 at Sarmi, Dutch New Guinea, Pacific, 17 May 1944. Wrong theatre; wrong date; wrong vessel; wrong troops.”
Other users, meanwhile, decided to have a little fun at the Royal Mail’s expense.
Lest we forget the heroics of Brad Pitt on that fateful day, after all.
Or the tapestry that resulted from such a storied event.
“We sincerely apologize that our 2019 Special Stamp preview included a design which had been incorrectly associated with the D-Day landings,” the mail service tweeted in response to an avalanche of social media-based criticism. “This stamp design has not been printed. We would like to reassure our customers that this image will not be part of the final set.”
Crisis averted — no doubling or tripling down on any mistakes.
Because if Harry Dunn and Lloyd Christmas taught us anything, it’s that under no circumstances can one triple-stamp a double-stamp.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.