In fact the answer is not sinister in the least, though perhaps less likely to happen in these modern days, but it was a sort of games set up as part of the country’s War Weapon weeks, where towns and districts raise vital funds for the war effort through National saving Certificates and Stamps.
One such event organised was for a gentlemen of the town to walk unconcernedly amongst the local crowds, and at events, to see if anyone can recognise him as the mysterious “Sir Tiffy Cate”, thorough clues left in local newspapers. Each person who correctly identified and challenged him was awarded with a gift of Saving Certificates or stamps.
In Orpington, Kent, the photo of this mystery man was published in the local newspaper alongside his itinerary for the week. Members of the public were instructed to challenge him with the words “My certificate please Sir Tiffy Cate” – and if these words were accurately repeated, the challenger was awarded.
Bromley & Kentish Times, 21st March 1941, page 7