Strange requests on the job: diplomat edition

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Diplomatic duties are an honoured and important role for any country, but it seems many citizens don’t have quite the same respect for the role of the embassy.

The British Foreign Office released a list of strange requests they had received in the last 12 months, including a query about silencing a cockerel, and help getting an out-of-shape husband to start working out.

"Some of the inquiries we received from British nationals last year were bizarre to say the least," said the centre's head, Steve Jones. "One customer contacted us to ask if we could provide the name of the watch that the Royal Navy sailors wore between the years 1942-1955."

Beijing consular staff were asked to help a woman who had bought a pair of football boots that were "Made in China" but were poor quality.

Other top requests include:

  • the translation of a phrase for a tattoo
  • tickets to the London 2012 Olympics
  • contact information for Sir Paul McCartney
  • help paying school fees
  • help seeking compensation after being injured by a rock thrown by a monkey


Consular affairs minister Mark Simmonds said: "Foreign Office staff help many thousands of British nationals facing serious difficulties around the world every year.

"It is important that people understand what we can and cannot do to support them when they are abroad. We are not in a position to help people make travel arrangements or social plans, but we do help those who face real problems."

What’s the strangest request you’ve heard?

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