NO one really knows how it happened, but there was some corner of an English field that was almost forever Scotland, due to a ‘mistake’ that had seen a Scottish postbox take up residence in leafy Kent.

The remarkable story of the Scottish "invasion" of Headcorn in Kent can now be told, thanks to The National’s story of how the Royal Mail had accidentally placed an English postbox in Dunoon.

Our tale prompted semi-retired photographer Ian Giles to reveal how, some years ago, a postbox that had a distinctly Scottish frontage had been placed in Headcorn village.

READ MORE: Dunoon postbox that had English cypher is now truly Scottish

The Scottishness is easily identified by the Scottish cypher adopted by the Post Office after the so-called Pillar or Post-Box War when the current monarch ascended to the throne in 1952.

Readers will be aware that there was no Queen Elizabeth of Scots before the Union of the Crowns in 1603 so Her Majesty is not Queen Elizabeth II in the eyes of many Scots, and to avoid problems – some boxes with EIIR on them were vandalised in the 1950s – the Post Office adopted the Scottish cypher, a crown on its own.

It is thought that there are 100,000 post boxes in England and according to Giles this was the only one south of the Border that was recognisably Scottish –and he should know because he has photographed postboxes across the whole of England.

Giles, now 70 and a semi-retired professional photographer living in Argyllshire, told The National: “Some years ago I travelled the whole of England compiling for a book the definitive collection of letterbox designs since they were first created.

“I got into the subject for a writer who was obsessed with street furniture in Kent, only I began to find the whole thing fascinating and started taking pictures of letterboxes.

“I spotted in Headcorn in Kent that there was this Scottish letterbox that had been erected many years earlier and passed un-noticed until I photographed it.”

Royal Mail now has control of all postboxes in the UK, but it was originally the job of the Post Office to instal and maintain postboxes, and it is believed that they fixed the Headcorn situation with an English postbox.

Giles said: “Apparently it was delivered in error rather than being sent to Scotland and was left unremarked.

“No one in Headcorn spotted the mistake but I contacted the Post Office and they said said it would be replaced with an English one and the Scottish one would be sent north of the Border as originally intended.”

Giles long ago completed his task of photographing the various postbox designs but still takes an interest in a fascinating subject.

“Some of these postboxes are very rare, indeed one-offs,” said Giles.

“There is a unique one in Cambridge, for example, with a row of sharp spikes around the top.

This was originally created and positioned outside the female student university quarters to deter girls from embarking on scandalous night-time assignations – not to keep the boys out, you understand, but to keep the girls in.

“I was also once photographing a postbox at a mansion which was so big it had a letter box in its grounds.

READ MORE: New EIIR postbox sparks fury among residents of Scottish seaside town

“The owners had applied to the National Trust to give the mansion recognition but they were turned down.

“I was able to prove that their letter box was the last one of its kind anywhere, but they were still turned down.”

Giles has been following the story of the Dunoon "wrong" postbox and congratulated The National on raising the issue.

He said: “Postboxes are an important part of life for many people, and that was certainly true for me for such a long time.”