A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


Copy No. 279

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.

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 the 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.



280 281 2 282 3 283 4 285 6 286 7 290 11 291 12 292 13 293 14


No. 134. 29th April, 1943

(Covering period 20th to 27th April, 1943)


1. General state of confidence and reaction to news

The welcome break of Easter, and discussion of holiday plans has to some extent distracted people's minds from the war.

The fighting in North Africa is still the centre of war interest. People confidently expect an Axis defeat, but only “after a tough struggle”.

Public spirits remain high, because of our continued advances in Tunisia, pride in the achievements of our Forces (particularly the “idolised” Eighth Army), the Allied air offensive, and the eager expectation of “great things happening when North Africa is clear”.

At the same time, “any undue elation” is checked by thoughts of heavy casualties in North Africa - “people are reminded of the costly advances of the last war” - and by anxiety about our air losses and the U-boat menace.

Discussion about the possible length of the war appears to be on the increase; a few people expect it will soon be over because of our North African successes, but most think “we have a long way to go yet”. Among the latter are those who would like the public warned against over-optimism, which they feel is dangerous to the war effort.

“War weariness” or “debility” are referred to in reports from nine Regions (seven last week) and nerves, especially women's, are said to be “getting frayed”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 all provincial P.Cs. 22 passim)

2. North Africa

Expectation of success in Tunisia runs high, but the official warnings, and events of the past week have made people expect a hard and bitter fight. “Even the less thoughtful” are said to appreciate “that the enemy will not be swept into the sea as easily as he was swept across the desert”. And satisfaction is tempered (especially among the dependants of serving men) by the expectation of heavy casualties in the final stages.

News bulletins are closely followed, and each stage of our Armies' progress is reconstructed.

The main question now in people's minds is: “How long will it take?” The most popular estimate appears to be three or four weeks, though there are some who give figures in months. Expectation that the Germans will “stage a Dunkirk” has declined. It is thought more likely that they will fight to the last, to delay the invasion of Europe. And, as fighting gets more bitter, there are some comments on the courage of the Germans.

Admiration for General Montgomery and the men of the Eighth Army continues widespread; their “invincibility has become almost legendary”. “People now follow their achievements with the same proud gratitude with which they watched the winter progress of the Russian Armies.”

Little comment on the United States troops is reported, though the “apparent lack of U.S. action” is criticised in two reports.

Our air superiority has given great satisfaction; it is thought that the heavy destruction of troop carrying planes in the Sicilian Narrows may have “a decisive effect on future operations”, though it is regretted that there is no certain news as to whether “they were full of Jerries”.

The Political Situation : There is still some uneasiness over the political situation, and some “impatience and disgust” with French politicians. It is asked “why the French leaders, supposed to be all out to fight Hitler, cannot meet and resolve their difficulties?”.

The fact that Frenchmen escaping from France are often mentioned as reaching London, while there are few reports of them arriving in North Africa, is taken as evidence that the people of France favour de Gaulle rather than Giraud (One Region).

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 thirteen provincial P.Cs. 22 sixty-eight P.D.Rs.)

3. Allied air offensive

Our large-scale bombing raids continue to meet with high appreciation, but this is mingled with anxiety. “Particular satisfaction” is felt when the raids are thought to benefit the Russians, or when Berlin is the objective. At the same time, considerable concern over the heavy losses is reported, and there are still some doubts about the amount of industrial dislocation caused. While there is “unshakable confidence in the work of the R.A.F.” there is some criticism of the “direction behind the raids”, occasioned, in particular, by the R.A.F. pilots' accounts of the raid over Pilsen. Press and radio reports are thought to show that “there were too many aircraft over the target simultaneously”, resulting in “jostling and dangerous bomb dropping”. The case of a pilot who “observed a 4000 lb bomb passing within a few yards of his aircraft” is specially mentioned, and “people would like some assurance that these risks will be minimised in future”.

The news of the bombing of Italy is “popular”; it is thought that the blows against North and South Italy are a severe strain on “Axis reserves and Italian morale”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 one provincial P.C. 22 fifty-three P.D.Rs.)

4. The second front

Comment, which is reported to be less this week, continues on the usual lines. Most people appear to expect us to invade the continent as soon as the North African campaign is completed. A minority think “it may not happen this year”. Speculation as to where, when and how, is still frequent, and many people think “it will be in several places at once”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 10. 11. 21 three provincial P.Cs. 22 twenty-four P.D.Rs.)

5. Russia

There is again very little comment about the fighting in Russia; according to one report, “this decline in interest is itself being discussed”. There is some speculation on the following points:

  1. Will Germany or Russia attack first this summer?

  2. If the Germans attack, will the Russians be able to hold their present lines? The popular view is that they will.

  3. Are we giving enough help to Russia?

  4. What part will Russia play in the post-war world?

  5. Will Russia's desire to keep on peaceful terms with Japan affect our offensive when the war in Europe is over?

The severing of diplomatic relations with Poland : Preliminary reports mention the following reactions:

  1. Concern at “this most regrettable incident”.

  2. “This is a victory for Goebbels and German propaganda.”

  3. “How on earth are we going to sort out post-war Europe?”

  4. The taking of sides; so far, industrial workers in Scotland and “most people” in the North Midland Region are said to accept the Russian point of view. “Most others” in Scotland remain open-minded. In the Midland Region, there is said to have been “a drop in Russia's popularity”, and Northern Ireland, always watchful of the rights of small nations, also tends to support Poland.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 six provincial P.Cs.)

6. War at sea

Concern and anxiety about the shipping position are reported from six Regions.

The recent U.S. statement on merchant shipping losses (22nd April) is said to have caused concern and astonishment. People are confused on comparing these figures with the statements of Mr. Churchill and Mr. Alexander.

The demand for more information is again reported. In its absence, there is said to be “a strong suspicion that the U-boat menace is more serious than the Government makes out”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10. 13. 21 two provincial P.Cs. 22 six P.D.Rs.)

7. Far East

War in the Pacific : The demands for more planes from the U.S., by the Australian Prime Minister and General MacArthur, and the enemy air activity in New Guinea, have increased interest in this theatre of war (Seven Regions). People are surprised that the Japanese have been able to concentrate more forces to the north of Australia, and some anxiety is reported “at the impending threat to Australia”. While a few people condemn the Australians “constantly squealing”, others fear that “we may be underestimating Japanese power”, and “are anxious to give Australia all the help she needs”; it is suggested that “more bombers are surely justified on moral and strategic grounds alike”.

The shooting of the U.S. airmen in Japan : “Intense disgust and indignation” are expressed at the “murder of the U.S. airmen” by the Japanese. There is approval of the “forthright American statement” that the officers responsible will be punished. The story has aroused some fears among relatives, that British prisoners in Japanese hands and the British airmen in Germany may be treated in the same way.

Burma : There is disappointment at our slight withdrawals. Relatives of serving men are said to be “agitated by Japanese claims to have annihilated a brigade in Burma”, and to be anxious for more news.

China : Sympathy for China continues to be reported. There are demands for more news of her fighting, and some desire that she should be given greater help in her long struggle.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 one provincial P.C. 22 sixteen P.D.Rs.)

8. Easter

The general feeling of tiredness made people look forward more than usual to the Easter break. There is said to have been “a great desire to get out into the open air in the hope of curing the innumerable cases of ‘general debility’”, and many of those who stayed at home worked in gardens and allotments.

Though in some areas people obeyed the official injunction to stay at home, “regular travellers complained strongly about Easter day-trippers swamping the available transport”. The holiday-makers themselves declared that they “must have a break and a change” after three and a half years of war work: “It's the monotony that gets you down”. There is “some public sympathy for workers who used Easter as an opportunity to get to distant homes”.

The “influx of trippers” led to some discontent among residents in holiday resorts, according to reports from two Regions. The announcement about no extra food supplies being available is said to have resulted in the trippers rushing to the shops for the unrationed foods, before the residents could get there. Brighton housewives also complain that their “usual off-the-ration or points goods” were being supplied to the hotels. It is thought unfair that “the visitors, who stayed at hotels and did not have to give up any coupons, could return home to a shorter week and their full rations”; and it is suggested that people should be made to give up some of their coupons even if they are only staying in a hotel for the week-end.

(2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 11. 13)

9. The Budget

Philosophical acceptance, “because it is all necessary to pay for the war”, continues to be the most general reaction to the Budget.

Comment, which is less this week, takes the following familiar lines:

  1. The increased tax on tobacco and beer

    1. “I think the Budget quite fair; we'll just have to dig it mild on drinks and smokes.”

    2. “The working man has been hit again ... they'd better not go too far, as he has limit to what he'll stand.”

    3. “The poor old age pensioner; now his bit of baccy's gone.”

    4. “Well, I'm giving cigs up for the cost is ruinous, and no kidding this time ... I haven't had a fag since the Budget.”

    5. “I for one will have my smoke, even supposing I go without something else.”

    6. “Non-smokers and teetotallers score on the deal.”

    7. “The cost of living has gone up 2/4d per bottle.”

  2. No increase in direct taxation

    1. “One blessing, no more on income tax.”

    2. “What he should have done was put a shilling on the income tax and everyone would have had to pay - not only those who take a pint or a smoke, as it is now.”

  3. Alternative suggestions for revenue again include taxes on cycles and cats, and an increase on wireless licences.

Some disappointment is expressed that (i) allowances for children have not been increased: “It is inconsistent for the Government to plead for larger families and yet give no help in the way of income tax rebate” (Two Regions); (ii) no plans have been devised to collect income tax from current earnings (One Region). Working men whose incomes have fallen are said to “complain bitterly about paying on last year”.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 all provincial P.Cs. 22 fifty-nine P.D.Rs.)

10. The Beveridge Report and the post-war world

Comment follows familiar lines:

  1. Fear that the Beveridge Report “has been quartered and buried; if ever resurrected, it will be unrecognisable in its new form” (Four Regions).

  2. Fear of unemployment (Two Regions). To quote from Postal Censorship, “I know what happened after the last war, and believe me it will be no different after this one. I for one don't swallow all the bunk about enough work for everybody.”

  3. Interest in post-war plans for reforms, and hopes that they will be “wide and comprehensive” (Two Regions).

  4. A desire for “housing plans to be got ready now, so that an immediate start on the building programme can be made as soon as the war is over” (Two Regions).

(1. 4. 6. 10. 11. 21 nine provincial P.Cs.)

11. The Prime Minister's gas warning to Germany

Strong approval, but not much comment, is reported as a result of Mr. Churchill's warning to Hitler that we shall use gas against the Germans if they use it against the Russians. Many think that, “as the war goes more and more against him, Hitler will, in sheer desperation, go to the very limit of devilry to involve as many as possible in his own ruin”; but on the whole people are thought to be “ready to face any reprisal which our gas attack on Germany might bring about”, and no extra carrying of gas masks has been noted.

A few, however, are “slightly uneasy” and ask if we can “give Hitler back as much as he can give us”.

Mr. Herbert Morrison's advice to people to keep their gas masks in order (20th April) has been connected by a few with Mr. Churchill's warning; few people are said to have acted on it.

(2. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10. 13. 22 eleven P.D.Rs.)

12. Church bells

The lifting of the ban on the ringing of church bells appears to have caused general pleasure. Opinion is said to be divided only in Scotland, where “many believe it is a sign of slackness on the part of the Government and an encouragement to relaxation of our invasion defences”.

The following reactions are reported, each from a minority only: (i) Ringing always was thought to be “most unsatisfactory as an invasion warning”; (ii) “It means invasion is not expected”; (iii) “It could have been done long ago”; (iv) It is “part of the Government's new tendency to encourage religion and family life”.

(2. 4. 5SE. 7. 8. 11. 13 22 twenty-one P.D.Rs.)

13. The raid on Aberdeen

According to the Scottish report, the Aberdeen raid (21st April) “has excited much interest and many rumours in Scotland. In towns close by - for example, Dundee - rumour states that over 600 were killed and the city badly blitzed.

“In Aberdeen itself the citizens were caught napping; few were prepared with emergency water supplies and few had any belongings ready packed. Most people admitted to being scared - men and women alike - though they claim that it was more the unexpectedness than anything else. The fact that Aberdeen is well accustomed to warnings meant carelessness. People were killed walking or cycling along the streets or merely ‘watching the fun’.

“High praise everywhere was heard for the speedy work of the N.F.S. in putting out fires, and for other Civil Defence aid. Aberdonians are mortified that all the Jerries got back home, and criticism of our defences was ‘very severe’. The lack of search-lights was commented on, and the heavy gun fire said to be ‘very erratic’. Arguments are taking place as to whether fighters went out to intercept. After the raid the public, though shaken up, was remarkably calm and controlled.”


14. H.M. The Queen's broadcast

Reports continue to mention the pleasure with which Her Majesty's broadcast was heard (Five Regions and Postal Censorship). Her charming voice is again commented on, and young people are said to “like her manner very much”; “It was plain English and not theatrical like those announcers”. It is suggested that “wide distribution of this broadcast, particularly among women's organisations, might be desirable”. One new suggestion as to what lay behind the broadcast is offered: “It was part of the Government national health campaign”.

(2. 3. 5. 5SE. 8. 21 seven provincial P.Cs. 22 thirteen P.D.Rs.)

15. Broadcasting and presentation of news

Comment on broadcast news this week is mixed. Some think it excellent, and there is again praise for the summary at the beginning and end of the bulletins. On the other hand, there is criticism of the “repetition of stale news”, and of delay in putting news into the B.B.C. bulletins as compared with the press. Press reports are thought on the whole to be “very good, considering the restrictions placed upon them by war conditions”.

While there is some criticism of the B.B.C. for “too much jubilation about victory before the African campaign is ended”, the more general view is “satisfaction with the fullness of broadcast news from Tunisia”, and “personal messages from observers are appreciated”. It is also said that “listeners like pilots' own versions of their exploits, though any tendency to gloat over results is strongly criticised”.

The popularity of the European News Service is again mentioned.

Press Maps : There is praise for the improved quality of newspaper maps of Tunisia, but some complaints that they are not yet as accurate as they might be.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's broadcast address on Good Friday is mentioned in only two reports. It was thought to be “admirable”.

Films : There is praise for “Desert Victory” which continues to “win laurels” (Two Regions and Postal Censorship), and for “Into Battle No. 4” (Two Regions). It is said that “some people won't miss a war film. They feel they can understand the war a good deal better through seeing films.”

Broadcast Programmes : Appreciation: “The man born to be King” (Two Regions); War Commentaries (Two Regions); “Can I help you?”; Lt.-Commander Peter Scott's Postscript (25th April); Margery Perham's Postscript (18th April); the Radio Doctor; the Man in the Street (One Region each).

Talks about the Forces are welcomed and the “increased intellectual entertainment” and “educational service” of the B.B.C. are appreciated.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 three provincial P.Cs.)


16. Industry

Enforced idleness continues to be discussed (Four Regions) both by workers and public, and there is said to be a need for more explanation as to the reasons for it. There are more stories of “women knitting and reading”, of “men making cigarette lighters, brooches and trinkets of copperwire”, of “half the factory men spending the day smoking in the lavatories”, and of “making jobs when the inspector comes round”. Transferred workers are said to be particularly fed up when they have little work to do.

Transfer of labour is the subject of increased comment (Five Regions this week, three last). Some transferred workers are “bitter at being sent further away from home, as they think they are being moved merely because they are in mobile categories”, or “just for the sake of moving them”. There is said to be “a lot of misunderstanding as to why people are transferred”. One report states that “workers transferred to districts a few miles from their home town feel that they should be granted travelling allowances”.

Strong comment is reported from Wales, where 350 men are said to have been transferred from Melingriffith Tinplate Works, Whitchurch, to Birmingham, and where it is believed that 1500 Welsh girls are to be transferred to the Midlands. It is said that these transfers involve “a change, not only of locality, but of way of life”, and some are even said to “regard it as an almost systematic denudation of this nation of some of the essentials of its continued existence.” Perturbation is said to be all the greater because it is alleged that English girls transferred to Wales are to be allowed to remain there.

Increased Government control of war industries continues to cause satisfaction, at any rate to the workers. Two reports mention a belief that “employers still put private interests first”. Conjecture and concern are reported on the part of a minority “as to future Government action about the taking over of shares”.

Workers and the Home Guard : Two reports indicate that “workers resent the calls on their time through overtime, firewatching and Home Guard duties”. It is said that “no Home Guard whose work is heavy should have to parade on rest day”, and that some workers are deciding if that is the case, they will “have to take a day off from work”. Workers in the Caledon Shipyard, Dundee, “recently declared their intention to stop overtime, unless given some relief from these other duties”.

Home work : Recent publicity given to “the Surbiton housewife who turned her lounge into a workshop where 40 women neighbours work, part time”, has led to interest being shown by women in rural areas and the possibility of such schemes (Two Regions). “Women in isolated districts are keen to be able to assist in producing war equipment”; it is said that “70% of women in rural areas take no active part in the war effort”.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

17. The call-up

There has been a marked decline this week in allegations that young men and women are evading the call-up. The shortage of domestic help continues to be a subject of complaint (Three Regions).

Married women and war work : Two reports refer to adverse criticism of appeals to married women to undertake war work. “It is felt to be unfair to urge married women to work while there are still so many young women in offices who could be more usefully employed.” Miners for whom “there are no canteen facilities”, and who have therefore to rely on their wives to cook for them, are said to have resented appeals being made to their wives “to do part-time work in a nearby town”.

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

18. Clothing

Coupons : Coupon problems are reported from ten Regions and again include the difficulty of clothing growing children, of providing for household needs and of setting up house. There is said to be a “widespread feeling that the allocation falls far short of ordinary and reasonable needs”, and people “openly express regret that they did not lay in stocks at the beginning of the war”. They feel “they've been deceived and their patriotism in abstaining from heavy purchases has been prostituted”. Two Regions again report bitter comment on Miss Ellen Wilkinson's recent statement about not using her clothing coupons. “She would be sure to have a good stock”; and firewatchers say “She doesn't have to climb ladders”.

Dissatisfaction is again expressed that expensive curtain material is coupon-free while the cheaper materials are not.

Miners are said to be suffering hardships through insufficient coupons, as their clothes and boots “rot with water and perspiration”. One report suggests they should be supplied with coupon-free working clothes similar to the green battle-dress worn by farm workers. Men in industry working with acids ask for extra coupons for overalls as the present allowance leaves nothing for ordinary clothes.

Utility clothing : Men's utility suits are again criticised and lack of turn-ups on trousers is considered to be an “obvious waste of the clothes concerned”. This also applies to children's clothing where no hems are allowed. Utility shirts are said to be “skimpy” and to be “cut so that they half strangle you”.

Children's footwear : The shortage of children's footwear is reported (Three Regions). This is thought to be “responsible for colds and tonsillitis”. The North Midland report says there have been cases where the delay in supplying shoes ordered has been so great that “the child's foot had grown beyond the size ordered”. Quality is also criticised (Two Regions).

Uniform for the G.T.C. : Recruitment for the Girls' Training Corps is said to be an “uphill job” because coupons must be surrendered for uniform (Two Regions).

Quality : There is still a demand for the better quality stockings promised by the Board of Trade. There is comment also on the shoddy material and lack of support of corsets; “middle-aged women are helping the war effort in factories but require the necessary support for their bodies”.

Coupon deals : Trafficking is again reported (Three Regions) and it is thought there is also an increase in the theft of clothing coupons.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 three provincial P.Cs. 22 five P.D.Rs. 32.)

19. Food

Satisfaction with the food situation continues to be fairly general and praise for Lord Woolton is mentioned in several Regional and Postal Censorship reports: “The food controller is a wonderful old cock - he has arranged the food situation splendid”. There does, however, seem to be a slight increase in grumbling - though from a minority only - that:

  1. Wartime diet is responsible for various illnesses and increasing fatigue.

  2. There is “disparity in food supplies to different sections of the community”. Complaints come from:

    1. Heavy workers, such as miners, who “need more fats”;

    2. “Those who can obtain only ordinary civilian rations and who view with some bitterness the supplies of food which go to works and pit canteens”;

    3. Country people who “cannot supplement their rations as can townspeople who have canteens, cafes, etc., and can pop into shops for little extras” - “not everyone in the country keeps ducks or hens or bees”;

    4. Those who travel and “compare the generous supplies of foodstuffs - usually cakes and sweets - to be found in other places”.

The public are said to be “fearfully expecting further restrictions”, especially in butter and meat; these, it is thought, would be the more regretted, now that the cheese ration has been cut.

Fish : Comments are reported this week on:

Shortage or unequal distribution (Eight Regions).

The need for some points or rationing scheme (Four Regions, as against two last week).

Preferential treatment of favoured customers (Three Regions).

Cake : The difficulty in getting cakes is mentioned in five reports. It is said to be “time the Ministry of Food found a fairer method of distributing luxuries” than by letting people queue for them, and the rationing of cakes is suggested.

Bread : The waste of bread and the indigestibility of National Bread and flour are again alleged (Two Regions each). There is also “comment on the enormous number of buns to be seen in some places: ‘Why economise on bread and fill up on buns?’”.

The high price of fresh vegetables is again the subject of complaint (Four Regions), lettuces and rhubarb being particularly mentioned.

Milk : The increased allowance of milk is welcomed (Two Regions), though “it is thought to be unfair that there is much less restriction in some districts than others”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 ten provincial P.Cs.)

20. Shopping

Shopping difficulties for women workers are reported from nine Regions this week. The main complaint is of queues for cakes and fish. People are said to “queue an hour before the shops open”, and there is resentment that those “who have time to stand get the ‘lion's share’”, while those who have not “go without”. Against this is the view of some of the queuers who “feel it is unfair that orders should be ‘put up’ before those waiting outside the shops are supplied”.

“Quota” system : In two Regions women war workers are said to be experiencing difficulty owing to the institution by shopkeepers of their own “quota” system, under which they close when a certain number of articles have been sold. The workers complain that they are precluded from buying goods under these schemes. The system is said to apply particularly to footwear, and it is asked whether the Board of Trade can take steps to remove this cause of complaint.

Shop assistants : Assistants are said to cause annoyance in two Regions by being “boorish” and discourteous.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 21 three provincial P.Cs.)

21. Health

Complaints of fatigue, nerve strain, debility and minor illnesses, are reported from nine Regions this week. In two, these are attributed to wartime diet.

Venereal Disease Campaign : Favourable comment is reported from five Regions this week. Interest is said to be increasing, especially among young people, and it is thought that the seriousness of the situation is beginning to be realised by the general public. It is suggested that this is partly due to the film “Subject for Discussion” and to the posters which “have produced talk and helped to remove the shame which has hitherto led to concealment and prevented treatment”. The question of drink as a cause of venereal disease is widely discussed.

Maternity Accommodation : The difficulty of expectant mothers in getting hospital accommodation for lying-in is reported from three Regions. Shortage of home helps in maternity cases is also a problem.

Scabies : Two Regions report the prevalence of scabies among children and young people. In the Ambleside district, Shorts' imported workers are blamed.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

22. Transport and Petrol

Transport difficulties are reported from six Regions this week. The main complaints are still the overcrowding of buses and trains - shoppers and pleasure seekers being mentioned in this connection, - the inadequacy of evening bus services, and poor rural bus services.

Petrol : The waste and misuse of petrol are reported from seven Regions. The main complaints continue to be the use of petrol allowances for shopping and of taxis for nonessential journeys.

From the North Midland Region it is reported that there are “a number of stories of petrol being obtained without coupons, or of coupons being bought at a shilling a gallon”. It is suggested that farmers who can obtain petrol in tins for tractors are selling this to friends.

(2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

23. Salvage

The Order prohibiting the replacement of iron gates and railings by wooden ones, although dating from May, 1942, is now criticised in four reports, as it is thought to be particularly dangerous for children who live in busy streets. Confusion as to whether replacement of railings and gates taken for salvage is at all permissible is reported, and it is asked; “What substitutes are allowed?” “May one make one's gate from scrap timber?” “What are the rates of compensation for removal of railings?”

(3. 5SE. 7. 10. 32.)

24. Pilfering and petty theft

Two Regional reports mention an increase in pilfering from warehouses, shops, and railway stations. Clothing and clothing coupons are the commonest articles mentioned.

(3. 7)


(Covering the period from 30th March to 27th April 1943)

All new topics arising for the first time are included in the main Weekly Reports. The following have lost their novelty, while still retaining their importance for large sections of the public. They are arranged according to the frequency with which they have been reported.

No subject has been included to which fewer than nine references have been made during the past month.

Inadequacy of clothing coupons and demand for household coupons

8 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10.
22 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
29 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 9. 10.

Shopping difficulties and food queues (chiefly for fish and cakes)

8 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 12.
22 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10. 13.
29 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10.

Transport difficulties

8 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 10.
22 April Regions 3. 5SE. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
29 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 10. 11

Waste of petrol

8 April Regions 1. 4. 6. 10.
15 April Regions 2. 4. 10.
22 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 5SE. 6. 7. 10.
29 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 7. 8. 10. 11.


8 April Regions 4. 5. 10.
15 April Regions 4. 5SE. 8. 9. 10.
22 April Regions 3. 4. 5. 10.
29 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 9.

Bad behaviour of young people

8 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 6. 9.
15 April Regions 1. 7. 10.
22 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 5SE. 9.
29 April Regions 1. 3. 4. 5.

Preferential treatment of certain customers by shopkeepers (chiefly over fish)

8 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 5.
15 April Regions 2. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10.
22 April Regions 4. 9.
29 April Regions 1. 5. 11. 12.

Inadequate collection of salvage

8 April Regions 4. 8. 10.
15 April Regions 8. 10.
22 April Regions 3. 4. 7. 8. 13.
29 April Regions 2. 3. 6. 7. 8.

Too many young women in civilian jobs and evading the call-up

8 April Regions 1. 3. 7.
15 April Regions 2. 7. 10. 11.
22 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 10. 11. 12.
29 April Regions 1.

Inadequacy of Servicemen's pay and dependants' allowances and pensions

8 April Regions 3. 4. 10.
15 April Regions 4. 7. 9. 10.
22 April Regions 3. 4. 9.
29 April Regions 1. 2.

Too many young men in civilian jobs and evading the call-up

8 April Regions 3.
15 April Regions 1. 10.
22 April Regions 3. 4. 10. 12.
29 April Regions 2. 5.

Bad distribution and poor quality of coal

8 April Regions 1. 8. 10.
15 April Regions 10.
22 April Regions 4. 5. 8. 10.
29 April Regions 10.


Shortage or unequal distribution of fish

8 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 10.
22 April Regions 2. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 12.
29 April Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11.

Shortage and poor quality of adults' clothing and footwear

8 April Regions 1. 2. 5. 6. 7. 10.
15 April Regions 2. 5. 8. 11.
22 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 10.
29 April Regions 2. 3. 5. 8.

Shortage of razor blades

8 April Regions 3. 4. 8. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 10.
22 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 7. 10.
29 April Regions 5. 6. 10.

Shortage and high price of crockery, glass and kitchenware

8 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 10.
15 April Regions 1. 4. 5. 5SE. 10.
22 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 8.
29 April Regions 2. 3. 5.

Shortage and poor quality of children's clothing and footwear

8 April Regions 2. 3. 4. 6. 9.
15 April Regions 8.
22 April Regions 4. 5. 7. 9.
29 April Regions 1. 2. 3. 5.

Shortage and high price of housing accommodation and difficulty of billeting workers

8 April Regions 4. 6. 7. 10.
15 April Regions 2. 4. 9. 10.
22 April Regions 4. 5. 5SE. 10.
29 April Regions 2. 5.

The following subjects, included in this list last month, are now omitted, as references to them have considerably decreased: (i) Unfair treatment of the small business and anxiety for the future (ii) Shortages of cycle lamp batteries (iii) Shortage of torch batteries.



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)
6. Southern Region (Reading)
7. South Western Region (Bristol)
8. Wales (Cardiff)
9. Midland (Birmingham)
10. North Western Region (Manchester)
11. Scotland (Edinburgh)
12. South Eastern Region (Tunbridge Wells)
13. Northern Ireland (Belfast)
14. Special Reports from R.I.Os.
15. Regions Adviser's Reports
16. M.O.I. Speakers' Reports
17. Local Information Committees' Reports
18. Home Press Summaries M.O.I.
19. Regional Press Summaries
20. Hansard
21. Postal Censorship
22. Police Duty Room Reports
23. Wartime Social Survey Reports
24. B.B.C. Listener Research Papers
25. B.B.C. Special Papers
26. Citizens' Advice Bureaux Reports
27. W.V.S. Reports
28. Scottish Unionist Whips' Reports
29. Liberal Party's Reports
30. Economic League's Reports
31. War Office Post Bag Summaries
32. Primary Sources

D 34653-1 6,000 1/43 R P W

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