Sir William Chevis was preparing for his son’s funeral when the telegram arrived. He prised open the envelope and read the contents with astonishment. The cable said simply: “Hooray!, hooray, hooray!”

It was signed J. Hartigan and was posted from the Hibernian Hotel in Dublin. Stunned, the bereaved father called in the police and by the time they arrived he had received another telegram stating: “It’s a mystery they will never solve.”

The “mystery” surrounded the extraordinary death of Sir William’s son, Lieutenant Hubert George Chevis, at his bungalow home in Blackdown Camp, Aldershot. On Tuesday, June 2nd, 1931, the night before the Aldershot Tattoo, the lieutenant and his wife had friends in for drinks before dining together.

Dinner was to be a brace of partridge ordered from the local butcher, but no sooner had Chevis tasted one mouthful when he exclaimed: “This is terrible!” His wife then tasted the game and observed, “It tastes funny. Don’t eat any more.”

Within a short time Chevis felt an agonising cramp in his legs, lost all sensation in them and went into violent convulsions. He was rushed to the military hospital, where he died at 1 a.m. Mrs. Chevis, who had merely tasted the game, was also taken ill but recovered.

Dublin police interviewed every guest at the Hibernian Hotel without success. The post office worker who took instructions relating to the telegram remembered the man who had sent it – someone whose description tallied with that of a man who had bought a quantity of strychnine in Dublin. But the trail petered out.

The author of the telegrams was clearly a determined man. When the Daily Sketch published a copy of the telegram they received a cable: “Dear Sir, Why did you publish a picture of the Hooray telegram?” – signed by J. Hartigan.

There were all sorts of theories about the poisoning of Lieutenant Chevis. One is that the partridges had fed on berries which had somehow been contaminated. That doesn’t account for the telegrams, which, perhaps, were just a cruel hoax. Another is that a homicidal maniac with a fancied grievance against the family injected the game with a hypodermic syringe. But in that case of course innocent guests could have been killed first.