A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 35
Thursday, 27th June, 1940


Today cheerfulness is more in evidence than at any time since the French capitulation. The news of British landings on the French coast spread with amazing rapidity and had a very stimulating effect on morale: “There's plenty of kick left in us”, “At last we're showing them”, “Most heartening”.

Air-raids were taken calmly. “A bore rather than a terror”. From the North East come reports of great courage and cheerfulness during bombing. There is a notable increase in public confidence in shelters and great ingenuity and adaptability is being shown in their use. Apart from complaints that sirens are not sounded early enough there appears to be growing confidence in A.R.P. arrangements. One of the chief grievances is lack of sleep. There is a good deal of discussion about the meaning of official phrases like ‘little damage was done’.

Eden's speech was excellently received and widely heard. “He was confident but didn't boast”, “Inspiring”, “He's a young 'un and he sounds it”, “Let's have more of that kind of thing”.

The presence of Dominions troops in London is having an excellent effect. Many observers report that the fact that these men are being seen is stimulating confidence.

There is still great uneasiness about the French Fleet and the presence of French sailors in British ports has created uncertainty and speculation. The morale of French troops in this country is widely commented upon in our reports.

Suspicion is being expressed that plans for evacuating children to the Dominions are not being pushed forward with sufficient speed and enterprise. Rumours that refugees will be sent to Canada are creating a grievance.

The demand for more energetic leadership continues.


27th June, 1940

181 182 2


27th June, 1940

NOTTINGHAM (North Midland) Eden's speech well received; Coast raid welcomed. Public comment on excessive use of Napoleonic parallels. Raids taken very calmly. Anti-French feeling increasing. Some scepticism about denial that Hoare is putting out peace feelers in Madrid, as Hoare-Laval pact is remembered. Incoherent shouting by news vendors in Nottingham is strongly criticised.

CARDIFF (Wales) Public confused about non-sounding of sirens when bombs are dropped. Authoritative statement needed if High Command is going to use its discretion about when to sound sirens. Eden's speech “one of the best yet; a fighting speech yet not bombastic.” Continued anxiety as to whether we have adequate arrangements for dealing with an invasion from Eire.

BELFAST (Northern Ireland) Eden's speech welcomed. Public rallying to Civil Defence Organisations. Message of new Minister of Public Security well received.

MANCHESTER (North Western) Eden's speech impressed people very deeply; excellent delivery, a fine fighting speech, good to hear a young man speaking with determination and decision. Megan Lloyd George also made good impression. French Government's betrayal of French people has increased fear of secret betrayal plans in our own Government.

BRISTOL (South Western) Public confidence increased this morning in Bristol by intense anti-aircraft fire (without air-raid warning). Rumours of places bombed in the Western Region continue excessive and Home Security's statement that Wednesday morning's raid lasted 40 minutes when most people know there was a second warning lasting over two hours has helped with the rumours. Raid on French Coast has raised public spirits.

LEEDS (North Eastern) Public believe our air-raids on Germany are more effective than their's on us and this helps considerably. In spite of bombs in working class part of Hull, there was no panic or evacuation, but great praise of Anderson shelters.

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND) Coastal raid has pleased public considerably. Black coated workers in Glasgow regard French Government's betrayal of French people as a possible indication of what may happen here, and are naming the would-be traitor. Patriotic Clydesiders on war production contrast slow tempo with Government's “Go to it” propaganda. Air raids have led to a feeling of relief that effects are so much smaller than was anticipated. In Dundee recruiting of volunteer labour to assist in building defences has been excellent.

NEWCASTLE (Northern) Middlesborough and Stockton were heavily raided last night; poor people whose houses were damaged showed amazing courage and cheerfulness, and were not easily persuaded to abandon ruins. Confidence in shelters of all types has increased. Though scalp-hunting mood is passing, first reports today express anxiety at retention of appeasement statemen in Government, in view of French experience.

READING (Southern) Reaction to air-raids is impatience, complaint by employers and workers at hours of work lost and a fear of growing tiredness at loss of sleep. Eden's speech not invariably favoured “He may be right but Hitler seems to succeed in all he undertakes”.

BIRMINGHAM (Midland) Air-raiding is taken very calmly; an injured old lady said “Well I hope the R.A.F. is serving them better”. At Stoke a man took an incendiary bomb to the Police Station in a bucket, and his only complaint was that Police retained bucket. Public liked Eden's speech and asked for marshal patriotic music on B.B.C. such as the Germans get on their wireless.

CAMBRIDGE (Eastern) Air-raids now taken as a matter of course. British coast raid on France and Eden's speech “heartening”. Public very curious about fate of France in the hands of the Axis Powers.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS (South Eastern) Hythe acutely agitated about evacuation poster - “It made people distinctly windy”. Folkestone has taken it calmly. Ramsgate voluntary evacuation suddenly increased after the poster. Public stated to be on tenterhooks.


Landing on French Coast had stimulating effect, reported from many districts. Some defeatism reported from Harrow Area. “Conditions could not be worse even if the Germans come”. Propaganda demanded. In other quarters French capitulation has stiffened peoples' attitude. Comments made that evacuation to Dominions should be speeded up as West Coast Ports will be needed to unload grain and food if East Coast ports are heavily bombed. Some apprehension that Germany will use bacterial warfare reported among middle classes. West Ham: “Parents opposed to children going alone to Dominions.” “Air-raid siren affected grown-ups but did not frighten children”. Bethnal Green Housing: “Jewish more excited during raid warning than Gentile tenants. People sore about Home Office cuts in shelter amenities. Chief complaints that young men near calling-up age cannot get jobs.” Chelsea: Suspicion that the reports of “No damage” after air raids conceals considerable damage. From all quarters Eden's speech praised as giving confidence. Harrow: “People disturbed as no warning given last night but noise of aeroplanes and explosions overhead”. Standard Telephones: “Morale high; more leadership needed from top. Plain North Country voices go down better on wireless than University voices”. Silvertown Factory: “Other Labour M.P.s besides Cabinet Ministers should give talks, especially Greenwood, to stop suspicion that Labour Ministers are only figure heads”. Suggestion made by workers that 9.00. p.m. news should be given at 8.00. ar 8.30. p.m. to allow more sleep when nights are disturbed by warning. East End woman collecting toys and books for children in shelters. Informal visits by officials to factories suggested as helping morale. “People feel someone is interested in them.”


We use cookies to track usage and preferences.

Privacy & Cookie Policy Accept & Close