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Queen's University
 

Queen's Encyclopedia

Operation Happy Birthday

This is the name of one of the most imaginative student pranks in Queen's history.

On February 22, 1956, George Washington's birthday, three carloads of students drove to four towns in upper New York State, hoisted Union Jacks up the flagpoles of prominent buildings, and posted proclamations in Georgian English script declaring that the surrounding lands had been repossessed by the Crown, retroactive to July 4, 1776.

The prank was reported by news services across Canada and the United States. The city of Watertown sent a bill to Queen's for $40, the cost of hiring a steeplejack to remove the flags. Engineering students promptly paid the bill in pounds, shillings, and pence.

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