A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


Copy No. 282

The aim of this Report is to present an impartial assessment of public feeling about the war and the war effort. It is not a record of fact , except in so far as public opinion is itself a fact. The public is sometimes ill-informed, prejudiced, or inconsistent. The recording of such feelings without comment implies no endorsement of them.

The public is more prone to criticise than to praise. Good work or efficiency is usually taken for granted. An accurate record of expressed feeling will, therefore, tend to be critical rather than laudatory. Though this Report must inevitably represent mainly articulate opinion, it has been found in practice that the views of the less articulate do not substantially differ, though their range is smaller.

The method of compiling the Report is such that the amount of space devoted to each subject, and the order in which subjects are placed, are roughly indicative of the amount of public interest each is arousing. The omission of a subject from the Report means that it is not a matter of widespread comment.

In assessing the state of public feeling there are no absolutes. Findings can only be comparative. Each issue of this Report must therefore be read as part of a continuous series. Unless the series is seen as a whole, the significance of fluctuations in feeling cannot be appreciated.

The figures in brackets at the end of each section refer to sources of information, a list of which is given on the next page. The weekly reports from Regional Information Officers (R.I.Os.) are compiled by their Regional Intelligence Officers from a large number of sources. Details of the methods of compilation and cross-checking are contained in a paper on “How the Home Intelligence Weekly Report is made”. This will be supplied on request to the Home Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Information.



136 137 2 138 3 140 5 142 7 144 9 146 11


No. 143 1st July, 1943

(Covering period 22nd to 29th June, 1943)


1. General state of confidence and reaction to news

“A dull week”, with “less war talk than usual”, sums up the general feeling. Confidence remains very high, but there is a slight decline in spirits on the part of some people, due to “impatience and uneasiness over the delay in starting the invasion of the Continent”. In addition to the strain of “waiting for the storm to break”, there is a growing feeling that we are letting “the best weather pass by”, and missing our chance of getting the worst over this year. Nevertheless, “the majority are confident that nothing can go wrong now” and have great faith in “the war leaders and their plans”.

There is widespread satisfaction at the renewed raids on Germany and Italy - the R.A.F. “shuttle raid” giving particular pleasure - and great relief at the King's safe return.

On the Home Front, there continue to be complaints of war strain and tiredness, and there is said to be a great need and desire for holidays away from home. There is much comment - mostly critical - on the subject of pensions and allowances; on clothing, particularly footwear; on food, particularly fresh fruit; and on shopping. The fine weather, however, has been a great consolation.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13 18 Passim)

2. The next move

Widespread discussion of the coming invasion of the Continent continues on familiar lines. “Italy and the Balkans remain the popular bet”, though some object that “Italy is too obvious”. Turkey remains the subject of much speculation, distrustful as well as hopeful. Uneasy anticipation of heavy casualties continues.

Where comment appears to differ from last week is in the increased expression of the following feelings:

(a) “Disappointment that operations have not yet begun”, and “a desire to get on with it” (Ten Regions): People are afraid that

  1. We shall miss the summer weather, and that “winter will catch us unprepared”;

  2. We shall not “be in time for success in 1943”;

  3. “All this invasion talk is just bluff” and we shall not invade this year at all (a few only).

Some are beginning to think that “Tunisia fell sooner than was expected; thus the Allies now find themselves before schedule, with invasion preparations still to make”.

(b) Belief that bombing alone may win the war (Six Regions): that “combined sea and air operations will do the trick”; or that, “if the bombing can be kept up for three months, the second front will not be a serious affair” (One Region each). This appears to be due partly to a feeling that German morale will crumble, and partly to the hope that heavy casualties may be avoided.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 18 twelve P.D.Rs.)

3. The King's visit to the Mediterranean

The King's visit to North Africa, and especially his visit to Malta, have given great pleasure and, as a result, “His Majesty is said to be more popular than ever before”. The relations of men serving in North Africa are particularly delighted, some of them “almost taking it as a personal compliment”. People felt “the King was sharing the rigorous hardships of the men”, and that “this tremendous Royal gesture shows our lads haven't been forgotten”.

The creation of the Africa Star has been warmly received: people “feel strongly that the men who have been through the toughest fighting should have some special mark of recognition”.

Many, particularly old soldiers, have taken the King's visit to North Africa as “the last good-bye before the opening of an attack”, or as “inspecting the team before the kick-off”. A few suspected he had some political mission, such as “settling the de Gaulle - Giraud fracas”.

The King's safe return caused widespread relief; people felt his “journey was not without its hazards, in spite of the strong fighter protection given to his plane”, and had “doubted the wisdom of exposing him unnecessarily to possible enemy attack”.

What has particularly impressed people has been this “proof of our supremacy in the Mediterranean”. The King's journeys have made it “quite plain who has command of the air and sea”; they are regarded as “a big blow to Axis prestige”, and as having “splendid propaganda value”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 17 nine provincial P.Cs. 18 fifteen P.D.Rs.)

4. Allied Air Offensive

Satisfaction at the blows dealt by the Allied Air Forces continues to be widespread; though in more remote rural areas it is suggested people are losing interest in the continuous raids and are becoming “bored” by long accounts of them.

This week “the bombing of Southern Italy and her islands has been overshadowed by the pounding of the Ruhr and the centres of German industry”. While few people like to gloat over the inevitable suffering caused by our raids, the majority feel that it is a “terrible necessity which will do much to shorten the war”. Anxiety for our losses in men and machines continues; “How many did we lose?” is described as the first question for many. But, on the whole, people are satisfied that, in relation to the damage done and in comparison with the probable casualties in a land invasion, our losses are light.

The “raid of the week” has been “the out and return onslaught on Friedrichshafen and Spezia”. It is believed that this and similar raids will be “particularly confusing to the enemy and reduce the effectiveness of his defences”.

The continued omission of Rome from our Italian targets is criticised again in six Regional reports.

The recent radio warnings to French and Belgian people “to keep away from bombing areas” are welcomed as “an invasion sign”.

Praise is also expressed for the growing strength of the daylight raids by the American Air Force, and for the Russian bombing raids “which are believed to be modelled on ours”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 17 ten provincial P.Cs. 18 eight P.D.Rs.)

5. Air raids on this country

The scale of our air offensive is leading to some anxiety that “one day we may get the same thing here”. On the other hand, the continued absence of heavy raids, and Air-Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory's statement at Birmingham have given rise to some feeling that “all that's done with for Jerry”.

In the North Western Region “people are taking more notice of raids on the South and East coast”, and there is some feeling that “damage and casualties from enemy raids on this country are often greater than announced”.

The Hull raid (June 23): “Though there is no evidence that morale in Hull was low after the recent raid, there was much comment on the operation of the sirens.” There are complaints of bombs dropping before the warning sounded - not the first time it is alleged to have happened - and it is felt that “there must have been great negligence somewhere”. It is suggested that large stocks of goods held in Hull shops should be dispersed to the outskirts.

The Grimsby raid (June 14): Concern is expressed in the North Midland Region about the possible effect of the new anti-personnel bomb on the efficiency of firewatchers.

The Plymouth raid (June 13): It was generally felt that “the casualty list gave no indication of the terror nature of the raid”. The inhabitants are said to be recovering confidence, and the assignment of an A.A. gun to the Home Guard is said to have done much to help.

Radiolocation : From the Hull district, and from Southampton it is suggested that enemy bombers come in with our own returning bombers, thereby confusing radiolocation and leading to the late sounding of sirens.

Low flying aircraft : Complaints of low flying aircraft continue to be reported from the Southern and South Western Regions, particularly from towns and country districts near aerodromes.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 17 one provincial P.C.)

6. The new Viceroy of India

The appointment of Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell as Viceroy of India continues to be generally approved (Nine Regions). His statement that “he discards his soldier's uniform on becoming Viceroy” has caused satisfaction, and is thought to be “promising for the future”.

Commander-in-Chief, India : The appointment of General Sir Claude Auchinleck as Commander-in-Chief, India, is also approved (Two Regions). “The presence of Wavell and Auchinleck in India in their new posts will constitute a powerful bulwark against the Japanese menace.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. 9. 10. 13. 17. 18 three P.D.Rs.)

7. The War at Sea

Our “increasing success” in the “grim war against the U-boats” has given general satisfaction. “We are now well on the way to smashing the menace”. It is wondered “how long it will be before Germany realises her U-boat campaign is doomed to failure as it was in the Great War”.

The news of the battle in which 97% of our ships came through safely has given “a great lift” to spirits. It is thought “striking evidence of the increased effectiveness of our protective measures”, and “ground for confidence that the enemy will never get us down by submarine warfare”.

The release of more news about sea warfare has been appreciated, but there is a demand for still more, as it is thought that many people have little realisation of the importance of the Battle of the Atlantic.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 5SE. 7. 9. 10. 13. 17 one provincial P.C. 18 six P.D.Rs.)

8. North African politics

Anxiety and irritation over the differences continually arising between the French Generals continue to be reported from all Regions. “While we are fighting their battles, they seem to be fighting one another.” People cannot understand why Generals de Gaulle and Giraud should keep “making friends and quarrelling in alternate weeks”; it is thought that this “jockeying for power” may be a struggle for personal ascendancy rather than a real effort to reorganise the French forces. There is dislike of the “dual control”, and some people think it is time the Allies intervened and “chose one or the other of the French leaders to take the matter in hand”.

“Such sympathy as there is inclines towards General de Gaulle.” He is respected as the “original inspiration of the Fighting French movement”, and for his uncompromising attitude towards pre-Vichy elements. Some people hope he will retain the leadership.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 17 three provincial P.Cs. 18 ten P.D.Rs.)

9. Far East

The recent news that China has been striking back is said to have delighted people, and admiration is expressed for “the toughness of our Allies who have borne so much”. It is hoped that she will be assisted as much as possible.

People feel that the time has come for more energetic action in the Pacific by the Allies, and hope that operations will soon be started on a more intensive scale. The apprehension expressed in Admiral Tojo's speech (June 16) is contrested with the confident tone of Mr. Curtin (June 23) and Dr. Evatt (June 27). At the same time it is thought that the Allies should not underestimate Japanese strength.

There is satisfaction with the air attacks on Japanese positions and bases. It is hoped that the “Alaskan work of the U.S. Air and Sea Forces will result in ‘Tokyo taking the count’”.

Some speculation is reported as to which troops will carry on the Pacific war when the European war is over. It is felt “that it will be unfair if the seasoned troops of the Mediterranean campaign are sent to the Pacific”; for “our soldiers are not professionals but civilians in khaki”.

Prisoners of war : Anxiety and concern are reported among relatives of prisoners of war in Japanese hands. It is asked whether nothing more can be done to get news of them. In the North Midland Region immense relief is reported at the news that many men who have been missing are now being announced as prisoners of war.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 8. 9. 10)

10. Russia

There is little comment on the Russian front this week. It is widely expected “that a move by the Russians will be synchronised with an Allied attack elsewhere” (Ten Regions). There is some speculation as to the reason for the present lull in fighting. It is said that “Hitler is afraid to launch a new offensive because he is nervous of the South and West fronts”. The absence of Russian criticism of “the pause in the West” is looked on as a good sign. “They must be familiar with our plans, and be satisfied with them.”

Admiration of, and confidence in, the Russians' ability to “hold Hitler” continues to be expressed.

There is some comment on the lack of information about the progress on the Russian front. Some people are wondering, in view of Russia's previous silences during actual battles, “whether the recent German communiqués indicate that heavy fighting is actually taking place”; it is more generally believed that they refer only to localised attempts to improve positions.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 18 three P.D.Rs.)

11. Miners' strike in the U.S.A.

Considerable indignation and concern have been aroused by the news of the miners' strike, and much hostility is felt towards John L. Lewis, who is thought to be “chiefly responsible for the disastrous setback in production”, and “actuated by personal motives”. Although some people feel sympathy for the miners, there is none for the strike itself: “Whatever grievances there are, pits should not be idle at this critical stage of the war”.....“Both sides want some bombing experience to bring them to their senses.” It is suggested that fifth columnists may be at work; also that “the American nation as a whole does not realise the seriousness of the situation”. At the same time, it is suggested that it is not fair to blame America too much when we are ourselves not free from strikes.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 18 two P.D.Rs.)

12. Detention camp death

The verdict and sentences in the trial for the manslaughter of Rifleman Clayton have revived discussion of the case. There is satisfaction at the verdict, but dissatisfaction and, in some cases, anger and disgust at the sentences. These are thought much too light, and shooting, lynching or twelve years penal servitude are all suggested as more suitable.

At the same time, many people are said to feel strongly that the two N.C.Os. are less deserving of punishment than those who allowed a man suffering from tuberculosis to be sentenced to detention barracks, or the medical authorities who allowed him to remain there.

There is some satisfaction that the subject has been aired, old soldiers being especially pleased that “it is possible to get these matters dealt with outside the army”. People feel that “the whole question both of detention camps and of medical examination should be looked into”, and “the jury's recommendation that the War Office should take immediate steps to prevent the recurrence of such brutality has been approved”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 8. 10. 11)

13. The Labour Party Conference

Comment is declining, but some approval is again expressed for “the declaration of the German people's war guilt”, and the resolution rejecting affiliation with the Communist Party.

(6. 8. 9. 10)

14. Holidays

Many people are planning to go away for their holidays, “come what may”; and public opinion favours this attitude in the case of:

  1. Workers “who need a real change from the strain of long hours”.

  2. Housewives who get no rest if holidays are spent at home.

  3. Workers transferred from their homes “who are entitled to visit their families”.

Holidays at home programmes : Even those who intend to go away are enjoying “the plays in the parks, the fairs and so on”. Particularly mentioned as a great success is the Sports Event organised by the workers of a large industrial organisation in East London, which drew four thousand spectators.

It is thought that the popularity of the programmes may suffer (i) in Leeds, because of the transport curfew, and (ii) in Sunbury and Shepperton, because a licence for soft drinks and a mobile canteen was refused.

Holiday arrangements and billeting at Blackpool : According to the report from the North Western Region, many people are receiving telegrams from Blackpool cancelling holiday bookings of long standing, on the grounds that the accommodation has been suddenly requisitioned by the R.A.F. This reason is stated in the telegrams and freely discussed. A minority of the disappointed believe that visitors going “on spec” have offered large sums for the rooms and thus secured them, though Blackpool reports that this is not true. Some people are alleged to have been turned out of their holiday apartments by the Air Force with no warning.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 7. 9. 10. 17)

15. Broadcasting and presentation of news

There is increased comment on the presentation of news this week. It is very mixed.

“Real news is conspicuous by its absence”; there are consequent complaints both of the “padding” and repetition, and of the shortness of news bulletins. “You'd think the B.B.C. could tell us something instead of this blasted repetition about our bombers and the U-boats and convoys.” There is criticism also of press “irresponsibility” and of “glaring headlines which yell disproportionately to their real importance”. “It makes people feel they are being led up the garden path.”

Although people are said to be “avid for details of the bombing of enemy targets”, there is criticism of “gloating” descriptions of raids, both by the press and by the B.B.C. Pilots in radio talks, it is felt, “should not talk as if it were a glorious party”. Women particularly, “though reading every word”, dislike unnecessary details. It is suggested that such reports “unless toned down, might cause a reaction against bombing”.

Press photographs of the damage done by our bombers have provided “grim satisfaction”, but they are sometimes thought to be “not very convincing” and consequently to have the opposite effect to that intended.

The European News Service is thought to have “more human interest” and more “body” than the Home News (Five Regions).

The “return to the microphone” of Mr. J.B. Priestley is again praised (Four Regions). It is wondered “why he wasn't allowed to broadcast for such a long time”. In the North Eastern Region dissatisfaction is expressed with “a system which allows Priestley to advance his theories with no speakers of opposite views to balance them”. In the North Midland Region, however, opinion is said to be against the M.Ps. who have been reported as protesting against “his left opinions”.

The Postscript by Dr. Evatt (June 27) is praised (Three Regions). His reference to Britain's stand in 1940 that “saved not only every British Dominion but the Americas as well” was considered to be generous, since “there is some feeling that the Australians are more sympathetic towards the U.S. than towards Great Britain”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 13)



16. Pensions

Pensions problems are being widely and intensely discussed and people are “watching with keen interest the progress of discussions in the House of Commons”.

There is very strong feeling about the “niggardliness” of pensions, particularly Service and Old Age; they are considered inadequate in view of the increased cost of living. It is felt that “the Ministry should alter its policy of ‘How little can we give?’ to ‘How much can we give?’”

The setting up of tribunals “to allow the right of appeal to all who have been refused war pensions” is appreciated; but “the refusal of pensions to men who have gone into the Forces fit, and come out unfit, is strongly deprecated”. It is felt that “fit for the Army, fit for a Pension” should be the rule and that “the Government should shoulder the responsibility in doubtful cases”.

Other points which are felt to cause hardship include:

  1. “Too much delay in dealing with the various cases.”

  2. “The drop in Service widows' incomes, when their pensions first come through.”

  3. “The non-granting of pensions to war widows whose husbands die after demobilisation.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10)

17. Industry

Strikes (Seven Regions): Adverse criticism of strikers continues to be reported, and people are “mystified” that strikes are allowed in war time: “What would happen if the Army went on strike?”

There is some sympathy for strikers in the Swansea Valley because “the manager of the colliery in which the men were fined, had made promises which he failed to fulfil”.

In the Wakefield (Yorks) area, “strong irritation is said to persist among public transport workers at the delay in settling the wages question which recently caused them to strike”.

Publicity : The North Western Region report refers to workers' reactions to:

  1. Service speakers : They appreciate speakers who deal with technicalities, and naval men “who tell bluntly and straight-forwardly of their voyages and how things made in the factories are used”. Flippant speakers are not liked, and “anything that can be interpreted as coming down to the workers' level” is resented. Wing Commanders and older R.A.F. Officers “who ought to know better” are considered the chief offenders.

  2. Films : “Men are said to be tired of films about their job and to prefer films of other people's jobs; but women retain a certain pleasure in seeing on the screen processes in which they are themselves engaged.”

Short Brothers : Clerical workers are said to be commenting on “the management's refusal to pay a bonus promised by the previous directorate”.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 5SE. 8. 9. 10)

18. Food

Soft fruit and tomatoes (Nine Regions): Exasperation at official announcements about the controlled price of fruit “which the public never sees, or never has any expectation of seeing”, and at the scarcity of all soft fruit, continues to be reported (Eight Regions). Other complaints are of (a) Hardship to war-workers who cannot get the soft fruit available, because “they are unable to queue early in the day” (Four Regions); (b) “Under the counter sales and preferential treatment of certain customers” (Three Regions); (c) The lack of fruit in non-fruit growing districts, and the need for more generous distribution (Two Regions).

Fruit preservation (Seven Regions): There is pleasure at the extra allocation of sugar, but annoyance, particularly in urban areas, at the lack of fruit for preservation.

Farmers' rations (Two Regions): For the harvest period, farmers are demanding an extra meat or cheese allowance for their “extra hands”.

Ration changes : Preliminary reports indicate some dismay at the increased points value of biscuits, and pleasure at the reduction in the price of dried eggs.

Lord Woolton's tour of Scotland has had “a mixed reception”. Adverse comment was caused by the rumours that he used a private train, and that, though praising the Inverness British Restaurant, he “had a marvellous lunch at the Caledonian Hotel”. In Glasgow, “housewives who had queued for their ration books for hours (even on the day previous to Lord Woolton's visit) were much incensed at his remark that four and a half minutes broke the low average for handing out books. At the same time, Scottish people were pleased that the Minister of Food came to see for himself.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 17 thirteen provincial P.Cs.)

19. Clothing

Complaints of the inadequacy of clothing coupons continue on the same lines as those reported last week, and with the same intensity.

The difficulties of obtaining footwear, particularly for children, and of getting shoes repaired, are stressed. It is suggested that a special extra issue of coupons for boots and shoes alone would be a great help.

There is some criticism of publicity given about articles which are already, or about to be, in short supply; the announcement about the coming shortage of footwear, which led to a “terrific rush in the shops”, is mentioned particularly.

There is again speculation as to the number of coupons to be allocated for the next clothing period.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 18 eight P.D.Rs. 24)

20. Ration book distribution

Comment has died down very considerably, and people almost everywhere “are now satisfied with the expeditious distribution, despite fears to the contrary”. Voluntary workers are praised for their efforts, which “have saved time, money and travelling”.

Complaints are reported of long waits in Glasgow and Oxford, and of long journeys to the one issuing centre at Watford.

(2. 3. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 11. 18 six P.D.Rs.)

21. V.D. Campaign

There are complaints that the advertisements are “lifeless and monotonous”, and are therefore not read by those who need them most.

Stress is laid on the need for having V.D. clinics incorporated in hospitals, and for opening them during ordinary out-patient hours. Otherwise, in small towns particularly, “everyone knows what is the matter with you, if you are away from work at a certain time, or seen in a certain street”.

In a factory in the N. Western Region, the work people are said to be “willing to submit to blood tests and X-ray examinations” for venereal diseases.

(2. 4. 5. 9. 10)

22. Agriculture

Wages : Farmers in North Bucks and in South Eastern England are said to be worried at “the price of labour going up: men are demanding and securing rates far in excess of the national minimum”

Farm Sunday : In the South Western Region and in Wales there is some adverse comment about Sunday celebrations. Farmers are said to be “too busy just now to want interruption”, and to feel there have been “too many of these ‘dos’ lately”.

(5SE. 6. 7. 8)

23. Miscellanea

Except for the first item, the following have been reported from one Region only:

Utility furniture : The great delay between orders and delivery has resulted in “young couples sometimes paying three months' rent for a home they cannot live in because their furniture has not arrived, and it is asked whether they cannot be warned of the possible delay”. (London Region) “Rumours of utility furniture being on show in chain stores have caused annoyance to small shopkeepers in Coalville, who point out the obvious disadvantage in endeavouring to satisfy intending customers from catalogues.” (North Midland Region)

Delayed telegrams : “There are several complaints that telegrams are held up in Post Offices. Even priority telegrams are not delivered on the same day, and a naval officer is reported to have been two days late in rejoining his ship through this delay. It is thought that the Ministry of Labour does not regard post office workers as essential, that they are kept short staffed and lose their best workers.” (North Western Region)

Invisible mending : “There is said to be a racket in invisible mending. Fabulous sums are demanded for repairing small holes and tears: one case reported was the estimated charge of £4, 10. 0d. for mending two small holes in a pair of grey flannels.” (North Western Region)

Bicycle parks : “It is suggested that there should be bicycle parks in cities. It is said that many people would prefer to use bicycles rather than buses, but are prevented from doing so, as there is nowhere they can safely park their machines.” (Northern Region)

Whiskey and brandy : “The inability to obtain supplies in an emergency is felt to be wrong. Shops refuse to accept any more customers and the spirit remains unobtainable, except in ‘tots’ in a public bar.” (London Region)

Hairdressing : There are complaints from the North Midland Region about time wasted by men in trying to get their hair cut, the position being aggravated by the call-up or illness of hairdressers.

From a mining area comes the complaint that, although the position in factories is alleviated by arranging for barbers to attend, nothing of the kind seems to have been arranged for miners.

(1. 3. 5. 10)


School Children in Charge of Air Raid Shelters

The following report on the “Shelter-patrol” system in Widnes comes from the North Western Region and is of interest as combining solutions to two recurrent problems - damage to shelters, and troublesome children and juveniles.

Early last winter the Secretary of the Widnes Education Committee devised a system whereby a number of senior scholars in each school were appointed as “Shelter patrols”. They are responsible for all the shelters in the town, according to the districts in which they live.

The children are provided with special Cards of Authority issued by the Town Clerk, and are empowered to (a) inspect shelters - though as a rule they do not go inside them; (b) report any damage to their headmasters, who pass on the information to the Education Dept., whence it goes to the Borough Engineer at once; (c) inform the nearest Warden's Post or policeman of any untoward occurrences in or about the shelter; (d) - the latest development - oil the locks and hinges, for which purpose they have been provided with oil and cans. The “patrols” sign a book periodically, to certify that the shelters in their charge are in good condition.

The campaign began with a systematic and thorough clearing away of all “ammunition” from about the shelters - broken bricks, stones, pieces of scrap, anything which might have induced the careless child to do damage. Since the first fortnight of the scheme, the damage done to shelters in the town of Widnes has been negligible .

The scheme has not only succeeded as a means of preserving the shelters in good order, and a corrective to careless children, but it is extremely good for the children who are appointed as “shelter patrols”. They have a sense of responsibility, and a sense of some authority (with their cards); and headmasters say that their attitude and work in school have also been improved by their participation in the scheme.

It is very often said that much of the worst kind of damage in the shelters is caused by older persons, generally gangs of youths from 14 to 18 or thereabouts. But the idea of someone continually watching the shelters, and immediately reporting on their condition, has now “prevented the youths from doing damage by causing some self-consciousness to arise”.

All the children concerned have been assembled by the Mayor and the Town Clerk, complimented on their work, shown how important such work is, and given tea and biscuits in the Council Chamber.



1. Northern Region (Newcastle) Weekly Reports from R.I.Os.
2. North Eastern Region (Leeds)
3. North Midland Region (Nottingham)
4. Eastern Region (Cambridge)
5. London Region (London)
5SE. South Eastern District Office, London Region (Tunbridge Wells)
6. Southern Region (Reading)
7. South Western Region (Bristol)
8. Wales (Cardiff)
9. Midland (Birmingham)
10. North Western Region (Manchester)
11. Scotland (Edinburgh)
12. See 5SE.
13. Northern Ireland (Belfast)
14. Special Reports from R.I.Os.
15. Regions Adviser's Reports
16. M.O.I. Speakers' Reports
17. Postal Censorship
18. Police Duty Room Reports
19. Wartime Social Survey Reports
20. B.B.C. Listener Research Papers
21. B.B.C. Special Papers
22. Scottish Unionist Whips' Reports
23. Liberal Party's Reports
24. Primary Sources

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