A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


Copy No. 244

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.



826 831 6 834 9 835 10 836 11


6th AUGUST, 1942

(Covering the period from 28th July to 4th August, 1942)


1. General state of confidence and reaction to news

The general level of public feeling appears to have changed very little since last week. Anxiety about Russia, which still takes first place in the minds of most people, is said to have increased in eight Regions, in three of which some lowering of public spirits is reported.

As before, concern for Russia has resulted in “a call for greater action on our part, whether it takes the form of a second front - most frequently mentioned, - more and heavier air attacks on Germany, or an increase of supplies to the Soviet”. In six Regional reports “a feeling of helplessness and frustration” is referred to: people are said to be “aching to hit hard, and yet are forced to be the unwilling spectators of a fight which is really their own”. Opinion seems to be growing that “there remain sections in the Government who are still not willing to give the utmost aid to our Ally”, and that they “are holding back in the hope that Russia and Germany will exhaust one another”. These suspicions, which appear in reports from eight Regions, are directed not only to certain sections of the Government but also to those of whom it is believed that their “old die-hard prejudice against Russia is still influencing or retarding a 100 per cent policy of co-operation”.

A further decline of interest in the Egyptian campaign is reported, and there has been little comment on India or the Far East.

The recent heavy raids on Germany have given some satisfaction, but the conviction persists that “we have not kept up the sustained raids on Germany as they did on London - despite the many speeches saying we would”.

A considerable section of the population is still said to be complacent and apathetic and to take little interest in the war. Even in their concern for Russia many people appear to be detached, and to have only “a slight appreciation of what the Russians are actually suffering”. Such people, it is said, appear to be satisfied with wartime conditions, as they have plenty of food and are earning more money than they were.

(1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

2. Russia

Anxiety about Russia appears to be still greater this week: apprehension over the Germans' advance into the Caucasus “is only partially offset by the spirited Russian defence against the thr[Text Missing]st aimed at Stalingrad and by the progress made by our Allies near Voronezh”. The “deep-rooted confidence which makes people hope for, and half expect, a sudden recovery by the Russians”, seems to have been shaken, and people “now find it difficult to believe that Timoshenko has an ace up his sleeve or that, by some dramatic stroke, he can stop the enemy's progress into the heart of the oilfields”. A minority, however, are described as “still hopeful, as usual”.

The following reactions, arising from the public's concern over the Russian situation, are widely reported:

a) Fear of a Russian collapse : Reports from nine Regions mention a fear - mostly on the part of a minority - that Russia may be unable to withstand the German onslaught, and will collapse, either entirely or at any rate on the Caucasus front. In Northern Ireland people are said to be “steeling themselves for the bad news they fear is coming”: while, according to the Scottish report, “rumours that Russia is about to collapse were rife in Falkirk last week”. Some fear is reported from two Regions that “Russia may jump at a German offer of a separate peace”.

b) Fear of the consequence to this country if Russia collapses : “What will happen to us if Russia is defeated?” is said to be a constant supposition, and anxiety and speculation on this score are reported from six Regions. “Germany is finishing off countries one at a time”, it is said, and will “turn the full brunt of her forces against Britain when she has finished Russia”.

c) Suspicion of anti-Russian feeling “in high places” : The idea that “Britain is leaving Russia and Germany to fight it out because the Government doesn't want Russia to come out of the war too strong”, is reported in one form or another from eight Regions; in one instance the U.S. and British Governments are jointly accused. (There is nothing in any of the reports to indicate that Lady Astor's speech has helped to stimulate these suspicions.)

d) Fear that Japan may soon attack Russia : Some apprehension and, in one case, “a fairly general conviction” are reported from four Regions that “Japan will attack Russia at the favourable moment”.

(1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21 Carlisle, Manchester P.C.s)

3. The second front :

The public's feelings on this subject - though in many cases more intense than last week - do not seem to have undergone any radical change, and may be summarised as follows:

a) Desire for a second front : Although one report speaks of “the clamour for it coming from sections not previously in favour”, it would appear on the whole that “the agitation for the second front has not spread to any more people, but that those who were agitating before are now more desperately alarmed”. Some reports make it clear that the demand - however intense - comes only from a minority, and there is some indication that where the demand is particularly strong, it is the result of pro-Russian or Communist Party propaganda. (Ten Regions)

b) Desire for greater action and a more offensive spirit on our part : Although this feeling is not reported from as many Regions as is the demand for a second front, it seems to come from a far greater number of people, including - as it appears - all those who wish we were in a position to invade the continent but who feel that “to do so prematurely would be suicidal”, and who “dread another Dunkirk”. Suggested alternatives include heavier bombing of Germany, more Commando raids, and increased supplies to Russia, but there appears to be an uneasy feeling that these would only be “a second best”. (Eight Regions)

c) Fear that we shall be too late : Many people fear that by the time we are ready to open a second front, we will be “too late again - as we were in Norway, Greece and Crete”, and that Hitler will have been allowed to carry out his usual method of destroying his enemies one by one. (Six Regions)

d) Conviction that the Government knows best : The more thoughtful feel that “the Government is as keen as anyone”, and the decision must be left to them. There is said, however, to be a feeling that “the Prime Minister or another responsible minister” should give some assurance that “a new front will be opened at the earliest possible moment”.

e) “Our shipping position does not allow of a continental landing” : (Three Regions)

f) “There must be something wrong, if we aren't ready to take action yet” : (Two Regions)

g) Irritation at Russian propaganda : Irritation is reported in Northern Ireland at “Russian propaganda designed to force Britain's hand in regard to the opening of a second front”. This is said to have been increased by “the publication of a Reuter message quoting passages from a Pravda article broadcast by Moscow Radio”. (This was quoted in the News Chronicle of 1st August, and possibly elsewhere.) Particular objection is said to have been taken to the statement that the Red Army is resisting alone. This is considered “an unwarrantable slight on Britain”, and as “the surest way to create friction between the two countries”. (In the North Western Region there is a rumour that the Russians broadcast a demand for “a second front now, or we pack up”; presumably this is a reference to the same broadcast).

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21 Aberdeen, Manchester P.Cs)

4. The war in the air

R.A.F. raids : Increased interest and satisfaction is reported at our recent raids on Germany, the attack on Dusseldorf in particular being said to have “caught the popular imagination more than any since the 1,000 bomber attacks”. “Frequent hopes are expressed that Bomber Command is now beginning to fulfil the Prime Minister's promise that German cities would be razed one by one”; considerable impatience is reported at the slowness with which our promised air offensive is thought to be getting under way.

Some criticism is reported of the policy of returning a second night to the same objective, as it is thought that the defences there will be considerably strengthened in expectation of this. The “extraordinary number of raids on Hamburg” has also evoked some “criticisms about our effectiveness”.

R.A.F. losses : A good deal of comment is reported on the number of our bombers lost in recent raids, and opinion seems to be divided as to whether the number is excessive or not. Some people “hear only that thirty-six planes are missing, and do not take into consideration the total number used”, while others appear to regard the number of our casualties as an indication of the size of the raid. There is some feeling that “the total number of planes taking part is not revealed so that the percentage of loss cannot be gauged”, and it is asked whether we can afford this rate of losses in machines and crews, and if the results are worth the sacrifices made.

Expectation of reprisal raids : Fear of reprisals - though it exists - is said to be small. Although there appears to be some feeling that a new series of German raids on this country is just beginning, “most people believe that we have suffered the worst that Germany is able to give. If necessary, they are ready to stand more, but they do not think the Luftwaffe capable of hitting so hard now; it is felt that our new raids are paying off an old score”.

German raids on this country : Recent enemy raids on the South Western Region are said to have been “taken well and calmly, very much as part of the day's work”; while those in the Eastern Region are “regarded by many people as a useful corrective for slackness, and have awakened people from their feeling of comfortable security”. They are described as “having done us a hell of a lot of good”.

The recent raids in the Midlands are also regarded as having had “a jolting effect on many people who had become complacent”.

The new German incendiary bombs : Concern about these is reported from two Regions, and there are rumours of “the dreadful casualties caused by these bombs”. From both these Regions comes the demand for “definite information about them, and how they should be dealt with”.

Our “other devices” : A good deal of interest is reported in these, and some talk about “the damage they do”. It is felt that the lot of the Civil Defence service in air raids will be “even less enviable”, and it is asked, “What will be the position of fire-watchers under the recent request that people shall not stand out of doors to watch the new anti-aircraft defences going into action?”

Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris's broadcast to Germany : Reactions to this appear to have been mixed. The majority view is reported to have been that we have told Germany often enough what we intend, and that we should do the job first and tell them about it afterwards. It is felt not to be “like us to brag”, and that “if the speech was intended for Germany, it should have been broadcast to Germany alone”. A minority feel that “at last we are getting down to real propaganda”. The question of allowing Government policy to be announced by someone who is not responsible to Parliament seems to have interested only “an intelligent few”.

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21 Birmingham P.C.)

5. U.S. troops in Great Britain

Regional comment on American troops appears to be on a reduced scale this week. Interest in our visitors continues to be reported from Regions in which they are stationed, and where the organisation of hospitality is being attempted; in short, “the opportunity and necessity for cementing cordial feelings” between the two nations seems to be realised.

A Special report by Postal Censorship ( Opinion on American troops in Great Britain ) analyses the results of an examination of all civilian mail from 24th June dealing with this subject. This analysis shows that out of a total of 171 comments, opinions appear to have been almost equally divided between appreciation and criticism, the latter slightly preponderating.

Although in the main adverse talk seems to be decreasing, various Regions (strongly supported by Postal Censorship) criticise the following aspects of the Americans' behaviour:

Their lavish spending of money is reported to be having an unsettling effect on our men causing jealousy, as “all the girls are going mad about them and giving their own fellows up”.

Their attitude to coloured troops . From the Midland Region “local experience” is reported to show that “it is inadvisable to station black and white troops in the same area”.

Their tactless remarks . Variants of the already familiar taunts are still reported; the most frequent refer to the “Dunkirk Harriers”, and the addition of “yellow” to the British colours. In this connection evidence that these tales are largely circumstantial seems to find support in the Postal Censorship analysis, in which the incidents are alleged to have occurred in such widely separated areas as “a Bristol Hotel”, the “John Cockle” Inn at Warsop, the “Crown” at Shrewsbury, and the “Bull's Head”, Amersham.

(3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 16, 21 Glasgow, Manchester, Reading, Special P.C.s)

6. Egypt

Interest in this front continues to wane, and, according to reports from eight Regions, there is little comment on the subject. There appears to be a slight increase in optimism, and in the feeling that “we shall be able to hold out”. Such interest as is reported is said to take the form of “settling down to await developments”. People seem to be uncertain as to how to interpret the news that the enemy is digging in: some are cheered, while others regard it as a bad sign, a minority being anxious over the deadlock and feeling that the Germans are too near Suez”.

(1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

7. Shipping losses

Concern over our shipping losses, particularly in the Northern Region, “where large districts are engaged in the shipping industry”, continues to be reported. At the same time, the publication of figures seems to be thought inadvisable; and “it is often stated that Parliamentary demands for disclosures of facts and figures are considered childish and irresponsible.” It is being asked, however, why, though the United States' losses are published, ours must remain secret. It is also asked why the United States do not provide better protection for coastal shipping, though some belief is reported that the Caribbean Sea is now somewhat safer.

From the South Eastern Region the feeling is reported that “the seriousness of the situation is holding up a second front”.

(1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13)

8. The Government

Criticism of the Government - in addition to that referred to in Section 2 (c) above - is reported on the grounds that:

a) The Government should order and act more, and should not resort to requests and appeals. The Government's “weak handling of the holidays-at-home” in particular is criticised.

b) Parliament should not be allowed “to disperse for the summer recess at so critical a time”, and without making any statement on the war situation.

“Growing disapproval of party politics is reported” from one Region. “The feeling that members are often compelled by the Party machine to vote against their personal convictions and the wishes of the people they represent is frequently expressed”.

Mr. Bevin's speech at the Conference of the National Chamber of Trade on 16th July, is said to have caused considerable dissatisfaction, chiefly on account of his prophecy that the “rentier class” would be entirely gone by the end of the war. What is taken as his criticism of this section of the population is considered as “contrary to all ideas of thrift and self denial”.

(2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12)

9. Broadcasting and presentation of news

Presentation of news . Criticism of the “treatment of news which is not calculated to bring home the seriousness of the situation to the public” continues on familiar lines and is reported from eight Regions:-

(1) Criticism is made of the “bad handling of news” as regards both “the material used and the style of delivery”, and also of the “glossing over of bad news”. An example quoted is “the sharp practice” of announcing our air losses “by averaging over three nights”.

(2) Complaints are made that the Germans “get their news out first, especially when it's bad for us”, and a desire is expressed for “earlier confirmation of news given out by the enemy”.

Preference for the “liveliness” of the European News service, and the “snap” of the Empire News is again reported from two Regions. Reports from one Region express appreciation “for what is said to be the more guarded tones of the news bulletins”. A continued decline in listening to the wireless is reported from five Regions; the following reasons are given:-

(1) “people do not want to listen to talk; they want - and wait for - events”.

(2) the monotony and repetitiveness of news bulletins, “people who formerly listened, now switch off after the news summary”.

(3) “The news is so depressing that it makes people too miserable to listen to it”.

“Indiscretions” . “Strong feeling” against so-called “indiscretions” of M.P.s and of statements in the Press and on the radio, are reported again this week from five Regions. During the last three months complaints on the following lines have been received:-

(1) Information given out during the ‘Baedeker raids’ as to whether or not historic buildings had been hit, were said to “invite the Germans back again”; announcements about movements of population, either for industrial purposes or to holiday resorts, are also said to invite bombing.

(2) “Too much information is given over the radio” and in the Press on the arrival of convoys or troops; about invasion exercises and the training of troops; and of war materials going to Russia, and other industrial particulars which are regarded as “giving valuable information to the enemy”.

(3) Complaints about M.P.s who ask questions in the House “without considering the effect it has on the country or on the enemy”, and who are accused of “abuse of privilege regarding secrets and the quoting of production figures”.

B.B.C. Programmes : Satisfaction continues to be reported from four Regions at the B.B.C.s decision “to drop ‘slush’”.

Lord Woolton's postscript is reported to have been well received; “his reference to the family and the need to consider the individual are particularly welcomed”, and he is praised for “his strong human sympathy”. (4 Regions)

“I am John Citizen” broadcasts are also reported to have been “well received”, but a suggestion is made that “the choice of a young man not in the armed forces is not particularly representative, and his ardent patriotism is rather suspect among service listeners”. (2 Regions)

Government instructions : “The changes in Government policy in connection with the carrying of gas masks” is reported to have been greeted with “amusement and mystification”. It is asked “what about the poster ‘Hitler will send no warning?’”. (2 Regions).

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)


10. Industry

(No reports have so far been received on public reactions to the Minister of Supply's review of Royal Ordnance Factories in the House on July 5th)

Criticism continues along familiar lines, which may be summarised as follows:

  1. Enforced idleness in factories . (Six Regions and Postal Censorship). Specific mention is made of the Bristol Aeroplane Co. at Winterstoke Road, and Westinghouse Ltd. at Chippenham; also mentioned in this connection is a maintenance depot near Carlisle where “young women are alleged to do two hours of work a day”.

  2. Managements . (Three Regions and Postal Censorship) are blamed for:

    1. being “more concerned with profit and preparations for after the war than with putting a 100% effort into a drive for victory”. Fifty per cent of the machines at the Bristol Engineering Co. are said to stay idle at night while the small staff on duty are put on commercial work - not on war work”.

    2. Laziness, and “for refusing to adopt schemes calculated to increase production”.

  3. Workers are criticised for being “more concerned with their pay packets and conditions of employment than with the war effort.” (One Region and Postal Censorship).

Women Workers : From ten Regions and from Postal Censorship comes “wholehearted praise of the work being done by women in factories”. It has been suggested, however, that “their enthusiasm, in particular, is damped by instances of slackness”.

Irish labourers : Those working on construction sites are again said to be a source of trouble in some districts; “They will go miles for a drink and then become fighting drunk”.

Essential work : The question is again revived of the effect upon workers of knowing the ultimate use of what they are making. They are said to be encouraged by knowing the destination of their products. As a writer quoted by Postal Censorship says: “This work makes me feel very important; when I read of a thousand bombers over Germany - to think I have had parts of them in my hand!” Service speakers, who tell workers of the uses made of their products, are also quoted as a source of encouragement.

It is felt in the Eastern Region “that if workers were to see where their particular share of the work goes (for instance, if makers of aeroplane parts were to see bombers when assembled) they would be very encouraged”.

(2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 21 Birmingham, Special P.C.s)

11. Wages

The following complaints continue to be reported about disparities in pay:

  1. between industrial workers (including labourers on aerodrome sites) and Servicemen. It is felt that Servicemen's dependants, particularly, should be better provided for. (Four Regions and Postal Censorship). “Everyone here, except the soldier's wife, has money” says one letter; while a report from London Region states that: “The cut in the hardship grant corresponding to any rise in the soldier's pay through promotion or proficiency, is said to cause distress in cases where the man does not make up the amount to his wife”.

  2. between U.S. and British soldiers.

  3. between industrial workers and miners.

There are also complaints about wives earning more than their husbands who are in the same factory, and of the high wages of juveniles and the demoralising effect of their “earning sums out of all proportion to their usefulness”. It is felt to be “a great pity that youngsters should go into dead end jobs with good pay instead of into less well paid work where they could learn a trade”. (Four Regions and Postal Censorship)

(1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 21 Aberdeen, Glasgow, Special P.C.s)

12. Women's call up

Reports continue of “people asking why some women are compelled to go into war work, while others ‘get off’”. The “too many idle women” who are believed to be making virtually no contribution to the war effort include the following:

  1. Young married women with no family ties. Dissatisfaction with them is particularly expressed by workers with young families, and also by women of forty to forty-five.

  2. Middle-aged women with husbands and grown up families away from home.

  3. Healthy women who obtain medical exemption certificates - granted too easily, it is thought, by certain doctors. Some young married women are said “to claim exemption on the grounds of non-existent pregnancy”.

Domestic labour : Mention is made of the shortage of domestic labour for women who are themselves in war work; as regards voluntary work, it is felt “among wealthier circles” that this will have to be reduced on account of the servant situation.

On the other hand, the servant question is not worrying everybody. To quote from Postal Censorship: “I am still in the same old place. The new people, one gentleman and one lady, have brought their own cook and lady's maid and chauffeur, so that we are now, with the gardener, six employees for two people......and at that they are in London for half the week”.

(1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 21 Aberdeen, Special P.C.s)

13. Manpower

Dissatisfaction is again expressed at “the dozens of young men eligible for service who have still not been called up”. Many are said to be “hiding in munition factories”, having entered them for that purpose. They cannot be regarded as skilled in their new calling and their deferment is considered “unaccountable”.

It is also felt that clerical staffs in factories, young men in the shoe trade, and others “who could be replaced by women and older men, should be de-reserved”.

(2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 21 Special)

14. Fuel

The fuel economy campaign is said to be causing interest, and there appear to be signs of “economy consciousness” among the public.

Other comments, each reported from only one or two Regions, refer to (a) queries about filling in the fuel consumption forms, particularly where more than one family lives in the same house; (b) anxiety at the possible prospect of fuel rationing; belief that this is inevitable, and, from one Region a preference for it, since “it would be fairer all round”; (c) anticipated difficulties in rural areas of transporting fuel in the winter; (d) dissatisfaction in an area where “supplies of coal were so short that in June and July people were unable to obtain more than half the 10 cwt. ‘allowance’”; (e) discontent at flat rates of electricity which mean “paying for fuel economised”.

(1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 26, 32)

15. Holidays

Criticism of Government “shilly-shallying” over holidays continues to be reported in five Regions, and the “running of excursion trains” is thought to be “contrary to the holidays at home policy”.

Difficulties of travelling, feeding and accommodation are said to have been experienced by many of those who have gone away. “It was hardly worth while” is reported to be a frequent comment from Scotland, and there are reports of visitors having had to return from Bournemouth “for lack of accommodation”.

Reports from three Regions express appreciation of facilities for holidays at home, and in Gloucestershire people are reported to have “responded well to the stay put arrangements”.

Holiday opening of schools . The response to the opening of schools is said to have been poor in Scotland and in some districts of the North Western Region. A child quoted by Postal Censorship writes: “Nobody is coming (to school) from our form, and nobody from two other forms, so I bet its a farce. The staff will be mad”. Many teachers criticise the scheme and are reported to feel “that their energies could be better employed than in supervising the few children that do turn up”.

(1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 21 Special, Manchester P.C.s)

16. Food

Satisfaction with the food situation, and with Lord Woolton and his Ministry in particular, continues to be widely reported in all Regions. Of the Minister himself, a writer quoted in Postal Censorship says: “Wish we had others like him, then the war would end this year”.

Sweets rationing : Sweets rationing is reported to be approved, although, in a number of Regions the feeling is expressed that children should receive a larger allocation, even if this should entail some sacrifice from adults. Considerable surprise and some amusement seem to have been shown at “the large amount and wide selection of sweets and chocolates now on view”. A certain amount of cynical curiosity is expressed as to why these stocks were not available before. “The recently unfamiliar courtesy of sweet shopkeepers is also attracting comment”. (Ten Regions)

Tomatoes and soft fruit : The scarcity of tomatoes and soft fruit is criticised, (six Regions) and “the belief that retailers have given preferential distribution to monied customers” is reported to have caused some discontent.

Dried eggs : These still win approval, (two Regions) but growing ill-feeling is reported “because of their unequal allotment by different grocers, some allowing one tin per ration book per month, others only one tin per family per month”.

Austerity meals : In two Regions comment is aroused at the “fatuous” order regulating meals in restaurants; the measure is felt to be “a farce”. Increasing difficulty is reported in purchasing a light meal; some hotels and restaurants are said to be “demanding the price of a full dinner when only a plate of soup or some similar item has been ordered.”

Food Offices and holiday makers : Congestion at Food Offices by people requiring Emergency cards is reported from two Regions; it is felt that large towns, such as Manchester, require more than one Food Office.

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21 Aberdeen, Cardiff, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester P.C.s, 32)

17. Agriculture

From six Regions come reports of farmers' difficulties over “shortage of labour, filling up of forms, and keeping books for tax purposes”; these problems are said to be keeping farmers so busy “that they have little time to think about the war”.

Post-war subsidies : It is felt that farmers should be given “some reassurance about post-war subsidies if the increased ‘ploughing out’ is to be a success”, as they feel that they will be left after the war “with crops they can't sell with profit, and will not be able to regain their markets for milk and beasts.” (Two Regions)

Income Tax : In the Eastern Region the dislike of income tax among farm labourers is reported to be arousing criticism. “It is felt that they are getting a ‘good deal’. They have new bicycles and their wives new rig-outs”.

(1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13)

18. Post-war planning

While the subject of post-war planning appears to have lost favour in most parts of the country, there seems to be some support for the feeling reported from the North Western Region: “Plan by all means, but do not talk ‘until victory is won’”.

(1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 21 Cardiff P.C.)

19. Petrol restrictions

There appears to be “a good deal of comment on the number of private cars still seen, particularly parked outside shops and restaurants - and pubs at night”.

There are some complaints of petrol wastage by the military and by “officials” and also of “the issue of petrol to young boys for motorcycles for pleasure alone”.

The more vigorous rationing is said to have been accepted “with no more than healthy complaining, and more and more unexpected people are to be seen on bicycles”.

(4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11)

20. Small firms

Considerable concern is reported for the position of the small business and small shopkeeper, who are thought to be getting “a raw deal”. It is felt that “the trend of the Government is in favour of large concerns”, which, if it entails the elimination of the small and medium trader from the life of the nation, “would be generally considered disastrous”.

There is strong feeling in the South Western Region about the call-up of heads of small businesses, which are thus compelled to close down, “while, at the same time, younger men are allowed to go free”.

(7, 9, 10, 11)

21. Constant topics and complaints

  1. Dissatisfaction at the “petty concession” to old age pensioners, and disappointment of “careful savers who now feel penalised”. (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

  2. Inadequacy of transport, both for workers, and in rural areas. (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12)

  3. Rationing of poultry food, and discouragement resulting from the new restrictions. (1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12)

  4. Waste of paper, especially of that caused by Government orders and instructions. (3, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12)

  5. Inadequacy of children's clothing coupons. (4, 5, 7, 8, 10)

  6. Non-collection, or inadequate collection of salvage. (2, 3, 5, 8, 11)

  7. Shopping difficulties, due to lunch time and early evening closing (2, 5, 10)

  8. High price of furniture and timber. (1, 5, 6)

  9. High price of green vegetables. (2, 10)

  10. The house-to-house calls of “Jehovah's Witnesses”, with literature and gramophone records, and their increase in numbers. (1, 6)

  11. The insufficiency of wartime nurseries; in one Region status of ‘helpers’ is under discussion, as they are now paid not as nurses but as “uncertificated teachers”. (1, 2, 6)

  12. Shortage of crockery. (5, 10)

  13. Inadequacy of Army allowances. (5, 6)

  14. The difficulty of finding accommodation for workers, high rents when found, and, for the landlady, the inconvenience of their early breakfasts. (4, 5, 6)

  15. Discourtesy of shop assistants. (6)

  16. Anti-Semitism. (2, 12)

  17. Waste of food at military camps. (7)

  18. Shortage of British Restaurants. (10)

  19. High price of goods in short supply. (10)


This week again the principal rumours are concerned with the imminence of a second front. Evacuation rumours are reported to persist in Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Middleton. From the Southern and South Western Regions the second front is said to be due either this week or next.

(6, 7, 12)



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 75183-1 2,500 D/d R.79 7/42 P R P

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