A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


Copy No. 280

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.



262 265 4 266 5 267 6 268 7


No. 135. 6th May, 1943

(Covering period 27th April to 4th May, 1943)


1. General state of confidence and reaction to news

Though confidence remains high, there are indications of a slight drop in the level of public spirits this week, due mainly to the following causes:

  1. The Russo-Polish breach.

  2. Fear that our casualties in North Africa are heavy.

  3. “Tunisia is taking a long time.”

  4. The whole progress of the war is “terribly slow”. The belief that the war will “drag on for years” now seems more prevalent than the idea that it is “as good as over”.

“Spontaneous discussion of the news is not frequent”, however; the public are said to have got “used to good news”, and “it is the personal anxieties which are occupying people's minds”.

The Easter holiday was “welcomed by workers as a means of rest and recuperation” and has “helped to keep people cheerful”. But reports continue to refer to “weariness” and “a decline in health”, due to “over-long hours of work”, “inadequate diet” and “the effort entailed by innumerable wartime restrictions” (Seven Regions).

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

2. North Africa

“The Tunisian campaign dominates public interest” and “people watch with eager interest the slow tightening of the net around the Axis forces”. There is much speculation as to how long it will take to clear the enemy out of Tunisia - estimates range from three weeks to four months - and there is some impatience to end “the delay which postpones the second front”. While the majority are “confident and hopeful”, and “the clearance of the enemy from North Africa in a few weeks is said to be taken for granted by a large number”, there seems to be a fairly general realisation that:

  1. “We still have a very tough job against an enemy at bay.” Some admiration is again expressed for “the fighting quality of the German soldier” and “the stiffened Italian resistance”.

  2. “Our losses in men are very heavy” and may become heavier. (One report suggests that Lord Haw Haw's broadcasts may contribute to anxiety about this.) “Though heavy casualties are expected, wishes for the success of the campaign mostly outweigh other considerations.” At the same time, “those with relations in the Forces are said to want some assurance that lives are not being thrown away”, and a few are reported to be asking whether, “as frontal attacks are so costly”, some other means of attack could not have been used, such as “dropping paratroops or landing from the sea”.

  3. “The terrain is difficult.” “The constant attention drawn to the difficulties of the climate and the terrain” have resulted in “a slight suspicion in a few people's minds that this may be a prelude to news of a military failure”.

Praise continues to be reported for General Montgomery and the men under his command. Although “the public still follows the fortunes of the Eighth Army rather than the Allied Forces”, some appreciation is now expressed of the French troops and of the First Army, which is “regarded as having won its laurels and proved itself, a fighting force as fine as the men under Montgomery”. There is praise also for the “air support, and particularly for the shooting down of so many enemy transports”. One report refers to “a mixture of pleasure and ironic comment that the American Army is at last doing good work”. Some critical remarks are reported from two Regions over the fact that “General Montgomery left the battlefront to spend Easter in Cairo”.

The political situation : “The de Gaulle-Giraud situation is still causing some impatience and disquiet.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13. 21 six provincial, one Special P.Cs. 22 twenty-eight P.D.Rs.)

The Russo-Polish dispute

Feelings about the Russo-Polish dispute range from “concern among an intelligent minority” to “fairly widespread dismay”. The subject seems to be one for discussion among all classes and though a large section of the public declines to take sides, sympathy appears to be mostly on the side of the Russians. Only in Northern Ireland is opinion reported to be strongly in favour of Poland. Elsewhere, even among those who sympathise with her, and think that “there may be some truth in the German allegations”, the general attitude is said to be that “she should subordinate her interests to those of her Allies”. But it is the effects rather than the cause of the dispute that seem to arouse most concern. “Few people appear to worry much about the truth or falsehood of the allegations; it is the possible results that worry them.”

The following reactions have been reported; they are listed in order of prevalence:

  1. The suspension of diplomatic relations is regarded as a notable victory for German propaganda (Ten Regions).

  2. It is hoped that the British and United States Governments may be able to mediate in the dispute and so “remedy this triumph of Goebbels” (Six Regions).

  3. The Poles are felt to be “pro-German rather than pro-Russian” (Six Regions) and, although it is realised that Soviet-Polish differences “go much further back”, “the hard reality is that Polish freedom must depend to a great extent on Soviet arms”. To bring the two parties together again it is thought that it may be necessary to make “some changes in leading personnel on the Polish side”.

  4. Poland's action in communicating with the International Red Cross is considered thoughtless and over-hasty (Five Regions). There is “amazement that any Government should believe Goebbels, let alone ask for an investigation under his control”. “Germany will soon see to it that definite proof of atrocities will be available, should an inquiry take place.”

  5. Some anxiety is felt concerning the boundaries of the two countries (Five Regions). It is not forgotten that Russia invaded Poland in 1939, and some people are anxious about the frontier claims that she may make at the end of the war. It is hoped by them that she will give up any claim to territory that she has annexed.

  6. There is some anxiety about post-war international relations (Four Regions). “If relations can be severed when facing a common foe, it does not augur well for continued collaboration after victory.”

  7. It is thought to be extraordinary that the two nations should have “carried their quarrel to such a pitch without seeking the advice of their partners” (Three Regions). Both sides are blamed for allowing a breakdown to come at such a time.

  8. Russia is blamed for breaking off relations too hastily (Three Regions). It is feared that “she is not interested in the fate of her Allies”. There is said to be “some talk of Great Britain having eventually to fight Russia” (Two Regions).

  9. It is considered that this country should exercise more control over representatives of smaller powers here and restrain them from precipitate action (Two Regions).

  10. The Polish Government is criticised as “reactionary” and people wonder if it is “truly representative of its own countrymen” (Two Regions).

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

4. Russia

There is still comparatively little comment on the fighting on the Russian front but some speculation is reported as to when and by whom the next offensive will be made. Hope and expectation are expressed that “we shall soon be doing more to ease the pressure” on our Ally.

May-day celebrations : Such comment as there is on Marshal Stalin's May-day speech (it is referred to in only four reports) welcome it as putting an end to “fear that Russia might make a separate peace”, and for its acknowledgment of “the efforts of his Allies”. “He is regarded as a realist and his statements have received considerable attention.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 8. 9. 10. 21 five provincial P.Cs.)

5. The second front

Comments continue on familiar lines, but reports differ as to the degree of expectancy. In some places “speculation is so rife as to make it a main topic”, while in others there is said to be “little discussion” and “no speculation”. The general feeling seems to be that the second front will take place immediately the African campaign is over, though some think it may even “precede the final close by a few days”. Demands for immediate action - mentioned in only two reports - are said to arise from a desire “to relieve Russia from bearing the brunt of the German summer offensive”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11. 22 six P.D.Rs.)

6. The Far East

Japan : Horror is again expressed at the “murder” of the American airmen, and at the Italian and German reactions to it. Great anxiety is said to be felt by relatives of prisoners of war in Japanese hands, and there is “some apprehension lest Italy should follow suit”. It is asked - “Why don't the Allies bomb Japan?”

China and Burma : Concern is reported over lack of news from China and some disappointment over progress in Burma. “People had expected more from Wavell's offensive.” There is said to be a great desire to help China, and the reopening of the Burma road is considered a “matter of prime importance”.

India : It is felt that the Government should take some step to end the deadlock and that “more publicity should be given to the subversive nature of Congress”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 7. 8. 10. 21 one provincial P.C.)

7. Allied air offensive

In spite of reports showing widespread concern at our recent bomber losses, the R.A.F's present policy of large-scale raids still seems to meet with general approval. Pride and confidence in the “gallant R.A.F.” are widely reported and the co-operation of the American Air Force is appreciated, though there is some disappointment because they have not yet taken part in night raids.

Particular satisfaction is expressed with the raids on Italy, Essen, Duisburg, the Skoda works (more details of this raid would be welcome), and the mine-laying operations of the R.A.F.

While the majority of people believe that our “massed bombings” are having a great effect on German industry and morale, this view does not appear to be held unanimously. The existence of other feelings is confirmed by analysis of a special Postal Censorship report. A small minority of people in industrial areas, particularly women, “regard the mass raids with mixed feelings” which are best summed up by a writer who says: “I suppose that one ought to be quite satisfied with what happened in Berlin last night, but I can't derive satisfaction from the thought of terror-stricken people cowering in the shelters, etc.”. An even smaller minority are said to favour the restriction of bombing to military targets, because they “don't believe that mass raids destroy morale”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 6. 7. 8. 11. 13. 21 one Special and five provincial P.Cs. 22 twenty-five P.D.Rs.)

6. The war at sea

The U-boat menace continues to worry many people, particularly those living near ports, and anxiety and irritation are said to be caused by the “conflicting reports” by prominent American and English statesmen “which make it impossible to form any judgment of the seriousness of our losses and the effectiveness of our counter-measures against the U-boats”. It is suggested that “either the situation is serious or it is not, and to allow contrary views to be expressed is a policy as ridiculous as it is inept”.

On the other hand, the difficulties of publishing details are realised, and confidence in the Government and the ability of the Navy is reported; it is suggested that people would like to hear more of “the wonderful work and exploits of the Navy - the Silent Service lives up to its name too much”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 10. 13. 22 two P.D.Rs.)

9. U.S. miners' strike threat

Very little spontaneous comment has been reported. Only in the Northern and North Midland Regions - both of them mining areas - has much interest been shown. In the Northern Region, however, though “fairly general dismay at the proposed strike” is reported, there is said to be “not much particularised discussion”. The following reactions, therefore, come mainly from the North Midland Region and from only a few people elsewhere:

  1. Indignation with the miners (Six Regions). “All strikes, whether here or in the U.S.A., are strongly condemned as unpatriotic, whatever justification strikers may have for downing tools.”

  2. Some feeling “the men may have a case as the U.S. Government seem to have allowed cost-of-living and wages to get out of step” (Five Regions).

  3. Dislike of John L. Lewis (Five Regions). “He seems more concerned with his private fight with F.D.R., than with the American war effort.”

  4. Hopes that “it will speedily be settled” (Five Regions).

  5. Some feeling against America (Four Regions). “We can get on without these upsets, why can't they?” It is also suggested that “America has not yet accepted the general lowering of standards that war entails”.

Raymond Gram Swing's broadcast (Saturday, 1st May) is mentioned in two reports as “putting the case clearly to British listeners”.

(As an enquiry was sent out asking for possible reactions to the U.S. miners' strike threat, the number of reports mentioning it should not be taken as any indication of the degree of spontaneous interest.)

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11)

10. Air raids on this country and Civil Defence

While very slight comment is reported on air raids on this country, a certain “mild apprehension” regarding reprisal raids has been noticed in the London Region, and this is supported by the evidence of Postal Censorship. In Scotland, grossly exaggerated stories of casualties and damage are said to be circulating around Aberdeen, and the recent raid there has stimulated demands from Dundee for talks by Aberdeen Civil Defence workers.

Poison gas warning : There is general approval of the official warning to Germany that any use of gas against the Russians would bring immediate reprisals from our side. Mr. Morrison's warning to the public about the overhaul of gas masks, appears not to have been properly heeded. In the London area, reports speak of “a poor response to the Government's request”, and in Wales gas masks are said to have “been put away and forgotten”. Suggestions are made that the overhaul of masks should be made compulsory, and that definite instructions should be issued about the carrying of them.

Women's Fireguard duty : There is some renewal of complaints by women fire-watchers this week. Women who have been directed to fire-watch on business premises complain of the inconvenience caused “when they have endless domestic duties” and are not able to go home between work and night duty (Three Regions). Some of those who have appealed for exemption complain of the delay in hearing their cases, and of unsympathetic treatment by the Appeals Tribunals.

(2. 5. 6. 9. 10. 11. 21 one Special and one provincial P.C. 22 two P.D.Rs. 32.[Text Missing])

11. The Budget

Comment on the Budget has apparently died down and, although the mood of the majority is still said to be one of “philosophical acceptance”, the following reactions are still reported:

  1. “Widespread and genuine sympathy for old age pensioners” (Seven Regions). “Various suggestions are made for over-coming their new hardships, but it is realised that special prices might lead to black marketeering.”

  2. “Mild grumbling” at the increased price of tobacco (Five Regions), beer (Four Regions), whiskey and the cinema (One Region each). “It's a hard knock on the working man - his drink, tobacco and entertainment, as well as what is deducted weekly for income tax.”

(1. 2. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11. 21 five provincial P.Cs. 22 twenty-three P.D.Rs.)

12. The Beveridge Report and the post-war world

The Beveridge Report and post-war reconstruction in this country (and to a lesser degree in the world at large) continue to be discussed by many sections of the community, particularly working people. Unemployment, housing and education are mentioned as the subjects most discussed.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 9. 10. 21 three provincial P.Cs.)

13. The Jews

During the last three weeks comment about Jews in this country appears to have increased slightly. Jews continue to be criticised for black marketeering, escaping the call-up and “displaying ostentatious wealth”.

In London, the North Midland and the North Western Regions, there is said to be an increase in anti-Semitism - “the spreading of which is seemingly in some cases deliberately organised and fostered”; it is suggested that in Hornsey “anti-Semitism due to ignorance and prejudice is exploited by Fascist elements”. Reference is also made to “undue prominence shown in the Press to court cases against Jews”.

The persecution of Jews in occupied countries : Sympathy with “the treatment they are getting” is again reported, but “since the Bermuda Conference”, this is said to be allied with “some dissatisfaction at the delay of the Government in taking action on their behalf”. To quote from Postal Censorship: “If we don't hurry up and do something, they'll all be killed”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 9. 10. 21 two provincial P.Cs. 22 two P.D.Rs.)

14. Church bells

Pleasure continues to be expressed, both in Regional and Postal Censorship reports, at the lifting of the ban on the ringing of church bells. It is feared, however, that “people are taking this to mean that we are past the danger period”, and that “the threat of invasion no longer exists”. It is thought, too, that this will “discourage interest in Home Guard training, which is said to be flagging in some units”. Some people are even reported to be saying that “the blackout will go next”. “War workers living in close proximity to churches fear that their Sunday rest will be broken.” “Bellringers are anxious that a practice evening shall be permitted.”

(1. 3. 5. 5SE. 10. 21 six provincial P.Cs. 22 five P.D.Rs.)

15. Rifleman Clayton's death

Indignant comment is mentioned in three Regional reports on the subject of the regimental sergeant-major at a detention camp who is “alleged to have struck and bullied a man who subsequently died”. “Comparisons with Nazi concentration camps are said to have been pretty general”, and “an enquiry into the whole question of the treatment of men under detention is urged”.

(2. 6. 9. 32.)

16. Broadcasting and presentation of news

Little comment is reported on news presentation. Criticism is again made of “too much padding”, and it is felt that a short recital of the main news should be “read straight through”, and recorded comments put at the end. The B.B.C's early morning bulletins are commended for being “short and to the point”.

Admiration is reported of the way news is broadcast in America; “Just a bald statement of fact with no trimmings”.

Broadcasts from war correspondents with stories of extreme heroism are appreciated, and interest is also shown in commentaries on the war.

Statements in the press and on the radio which are thought to give information to the enemy are deplored. There is some objection to the release of details about ‘Typhoons’. "The enemy may know something about the machine, but there is no reason why we should play into his hands.”

Some complaints are also reported of sensational headlines in the cheaper types of newspapers, also some criticism of “special journalistic articles on war subjects which are considered ‘likely to induce depression’”.

Further appreciation is reported this week of Lt. Commander Peter Scott's Postscript on 25th April.

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


17. Industry

Wages (Seven Regions): There is considerable discussion among working-class people on the disparity in pay between skilled and unskilled workers, and also workers receiving different pay for the same work at different factories. There is some comment, too, on “the huge wages paid to some young men for very little work”, and on the salaries paid to certain unspecified Government officials.

Enforced idleness (Six Regions) appears to be slightly more discussed this week than last, when it was reported from four Regions. It is suggested that dissatisfaction might be less if more explanation were given “about switching over production to new models”.

Strikes (Five Regions): Strikes are criticised very generally: “All these damn strikers are hindering the war effort; they should be packed off to Tunisia to take the places of our men in the front line - the only strike they could do out there would be to strike the enemy or be struck down themselves; do them good”. It is also asked “why the Government is so weak-kneed and doesn't take drastic measures to prevent all strikes”. In London, it is suggested that in the case of any transport strike “the military should be called in to drive if the need arises”.

Transfer of labour (Five Regions): Dissatisfaction is again reported: (i) by workers transferred from one industry to another; (ii) about the transfer of Scots girls to England; (iii) about loss of pay as a result of transfer: “jobs being graded for pay” is still not understood; (iv) “the difficulty of getting digs, and the extortionate prices charged for poor rooms, bad food, and no fire”. On the other hand, it is suggested that “the billeting of transferred workers is always disliked”.

Fatigue of workers (Four Regions): It is felt that definite weariness is resulting from “the burden on civilian workers of Home Guard and fire-watching duties, transport difficulties and, for women, shopping difficulties and household duties - on top of long hours at work”.

Government control (Three Regions): While approval is reported from the North Western Region at the taking over of Messrs Short Brothers, some “mistrust” is mentioned in the London report: “Is the Government trying to stop private enterprise? The Civil Service mentality will hamper production”.

Prosecutions for absenteeism (Three Regions): It appears to be felt in mining areas that such prosecutions are useless, either because “offenders are mostly young men who want to join the Forces and have no real interest in pulling their weight in the pit”, or because “it is impossible to attend work regularly whilst often working twelve hour shifts”. Miners say: “Cut out overtime and you'll cut out absenteeism; some wonder “why the Government don't give a definition of reasonable overtime, as set out in the Essential Work Order”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 21 three provincial, one Special P.Cs.)

18. The call-up

The main points of discussion are again: (i) “The number of young men “sheltering” in Government Departments, “especially in newer ones arising directly as a result of the war”, and in industry and large business concerns (Three Regions). (ii) Are people being employed on the most suitable work? (Two Regions). “The authorities' idea of helping the war effort is to take a girl from a useful job and put her to work for which she's entirely unsuited.” (iii) The shortage of domestic help (Two Regions): “Where are the home helps promised by Mr. Bevin?”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5SE. 8. 11. 21 one provincial, one Special P.C.)

19. Food

“I do think the food front is wonderful. One grumbles away at having one's style cramped, but to have food as we do in the fourth year of the war is quite marvellous”; this quotation from Postal Censorship, seems to sum up the general reaction to the food situation.

Reports from three Regions, however, suggest “an increase in complaints lately”. A minority complain that:

  1. “Food is monotonous” and “lacks variety” (Three Regions).

  2. “The present inadequate diet” is a cause of poor health (Three Regions). Two reports mention that “working-class people miss and need fats”; others stress the need for fruit and vitamins.

  3. “There is less food available than hitherto” (Two Regions); “the position is deteriorating”. One report mentions the suggestion that there has been a steady increase in restaurant feeding and that this has led to a reduction in supplies of food on sale to the public.

Food queues : Complaints of shopping difficulties - and particularly of food queues - are mentioned in reports from nine Regions. There is said to be “evidence from several towns that women start queueing three or four hours before the shops open, sometimes as early as 6 a.m.”. Particular reference is made to:

  1. Fish queues (Seven Regions): Fish is described as “the housewife's major problem”, and some form of rationing is again suggested, such as “a Fish Card on which the date of each purchase could be marked, so that people with leisure should not be able to go round from queue to queue and get more than their share”.

  2. Cake queues (Five Regions): “Women who cannot spare the time from work to queue are resentful that they cannot get any cakes”, and feel that these should be rationed or put on points.

  3. Preferential treatment of favoured customers (Four Regions): Particular objection is reported to “some customers having standing orders put up by their fishmongers, and thus receiving fish week by week, although others have to do without any”. Telephone orders are particularly resented.

Sweets : The shortage of sweets is reported from five Regions, in one of which “coupons could not be used, and children had to go without”. “The ‘lavish assortment of sweets’ in London shops is contrasted bitterly with ‘the meagre and limited array in other places’, and this is often quoted as an example of unfair distribution.”

Food for heavy workers is mentioned in four reports, particularly for those who have to take packed lunches. “It is asked whether something could not be done to increase the cheese or the fat ration for workers such as builders and carpenters whose mid-day meal is taken away from home and who cannot attend a canteen or feeding centre”.

Milk : The additional allowance is welcomed (Three Regions), but women still complain of having had their milkmen changed, and of “the poor quality of milk”.

The allowance of sugar instead of jam is said to be much appreciated (Two Regions), but “the news that soft fruit will go to factories for jamming and canning has been received with much heart-burning by those who have no fruit in their gardens or live out of fruit-growing districts”.

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

20. Clothing and footwear

Coupons : Slightly less comment is reported on coupon difficulties this week. Problems continue to be greatest for:

  1. People who have to replace household linen (Seven Regions). Poor families with no pre-war stocks, miners' wives and those with people billeted on them, are thought to suffer most; the demand “for even a small extra allowance” continues.

  2. Families with growing children (Five Regions) - “My two kids are stalking about a foot out of their clothes at both ends”, writes a mother quoted in Postal Censorship. Three Regions refer to a suspicion that as coupons become rarer, poorer working-class mothers with big families are increasingly tempted to sell the family coupons to more prosperous neighbours. It is suggested that different coloured coupons for children would overcome this difficulty.

Very little comment is reported on the suggestion in the press (May 1st) that next year's coupon allowances will probably be reduced, though two Regions report that housewives are worried by the suggestion.

Utility clothing : Criticism of the poor quality and high price of utility stockings continues, though in one district the “new supplies of better fashioned stockings” are said to have been greatly appreciated.

Both praise and criticism for utility clothes are reported. They are considered to be “good value” but still “too dear for working people”.

Footwear : The shortage, and the “quota system” in shoe shops is criticised by war workers who say that “they cannot get to the shops before they are sold out”. The difficulty of keeping children shod is particularly emphasised; the quality of leather for repairing their shoes is also criticised.

(2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10. 21 four provincial P.Cs. 32.)

21. Health

Complaints of fatigue - “not by hard work, but by long hours” - nerve strain, and minor illnesses are reported from seven Regions. An illness described as “acute enteritis” is said to be attacking “a big percentage of the population” [Text missing] in the Ministry of Health that “the nation was never in better health” are jeered at.

Venereal disease campaign : This campaign continues to receive approval. It is asked whether the indication of symptoms given in the advertisements is explicit enough, and it is suggested that the address of the nearest treatment centre should be given publicity. In the North Western Region it is said that some cinema managers are reluctant to show “Subject For Discussion” on the grounds that it lacks that “entertainment value which other ‘Into Battle’ films possess very highly”. This Region also reports that “Loose living” posters recently put up were torn down almost immediately in some districts. They were thought by some to be “melodramatic” and “cheap and nasty”.

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

22. Transport

Reports from eight Regions refer to transport difficulties this week. The main complaints are still:

  1. “The crowding out” of workers from buses - shoppers and schoolchildren on holiday are mentioned as the chief offenders.

  2. Empty buses running to or from factories or other termini and refusing to pick up ordinary passengers.

  3. Long waits in bus queues.

  4. The nine p.m. curfew, “which is becoming a sore point now the light evenings are on us”.

  5. “Too limited Sunday transport”; war workers cannot travel “a few miles from home and get a break”.

Petrol : The waste or misuse of petrol is also referred to in reports from eight Regions. Examples given are: (i) The use of taxis for race meetings. (ii) “The running about in cars on journeys other than business.” (iii) Lorries and workmen's buses travelling empty: “Couldn't better arrangements be made for return loads to be carried in the lorries?”

There is again some reference to “the anomalous method of petrol allocation”.

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

23. Salvage

The removal of gates and railings from private houses continues to be criticised by householders with (a) young children, and (b) gardens and allotments which are now at the mercy of vermin and neighbouring dogs”. People are said to be particularly dissatisfied when they already possess enough old wood to replace the iron work taken for salvage, and are not allowed to use it, and to be resentful when they see more fortunate neighbours “getting their gates restored”. In the South Western Region people are reported to be confused about the regulations governing the replacement of gates and railings, and from Northern Ireland come demands by land owners for compensation “at replacement value rather than at scrap value”.

Complaints of the non-collection of rubber scrap, particularly from “the thousands of tyres idling on unlicensed cars”, are reported from two Regions, and it is asked “why the price for such scrap is so low when rubber is so scarce and important”.

(1. 2. 4. 5. 7. 8. 13.)

24. Fuel economy

The following matters have been commented on during the last two weeks:

  1. The “embargo” on central heating (Three Regions): This is “still said to be causing trouble” in the North of England and the High Peak district of Derbyshire. Office workers blame the embargo for bad colds; some are said “to be sitting in their overcoats frozen stiff and unable to work well”.

  2. Major Lloyd George's broadcast (18th February) and Mr. Arthur Horner's speech at Cardiff (29th April) . People are said to feel that both speakers gave too much credit to the miners: “Consumers have pulled their weight in the economy campaign, but miners, as a whole, have not”. Major Lloyd George's broadcast is compared with his Bristol speech (17th April) and there is some adverse criticism “because they are the direct opposite of each other. A few days ago he said the loss of reserve coal had been made up, and a day or two later he followed this by saying there was a serious drop in the output of coal and unless it was made up, we should feel a serious shortage very soon”.

  3. Laying in coal during the summer (Two Regions): A report from one Region refers to “great joy in rural areas that coal may be stored in summer”; but another report suggests that “the proposal produced a howl from those living in modern council houses which have no accommodation for anything like twenty-five hundredweight”.

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



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

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