A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 36
Friday, 28th June, 1940


There is little change in the level of morale. People are calm and on the whole confident: there is, however, a growing feeling of “bored expectancy” caused by “Hitler's breathing space”. The public is settling down to air-raids and they are most frequently referred to as “a bore”.

Complaints that sirens are not sounded early enough continue: other A.R.P. arrangements come in for general praise. Attendances at school and factory are being affected by night raids.

There is little public reaction to the Russian move: it has simply added to the general bewilderment about the course of events.

Dissatisfaction at the continued immobilisation of manpower and womanpower is still in evidence. The cutting press stories of incompetence and muddle as by the trajectory of events.

Among intellectual circles fear is expressed that the country will be divided by a peace offensive.

The spirit of the people, however, is still calm, determined and fundamentally healthy: there is a fertile field for strong leadership.


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28.6.40 .

Only four regions comment on Russia's attitude to Rumania. One of these records that people are muddled and confused on the subject. The other three state that the main public attitude is one of indifference, thanks apparently to the personal unpopularity of King Carol and to his recent Axis sympathies. The tendency is to regard the matter as part of the Hitler-Stalin carve-up.

Regions continue to report an undercurrent of resentment and distrust at the presence of appeasement politicians in the Cabinet, in spite of the published statements this morning.

NOTTINGHAM (North Midland) More informed sections of public are stressing the need for limiting anti-French feeling, on account of the danger of its persisting after the war. Some irritation reported at what is thought to be one-sided reporting of our aerial successes. In spite of Geoffrey Shakespeare's clear and specific broadcast instructions many people still think that in the evacuation of children to Canada there is to be a differentiation between the rich and the poor. Night air raid alarms in Leicestershire are causing fatigue among factory workers, and a “go-to-bed-early” campaign is asked for.

CARDIFF (Wales) It is hoped among the public that Churchill will secure the bulk of the French fleet for us. People are still uneasy about our precautions for dealing with an invasion from Eire. From Cardiff come complaints at its small supply of barrage balloons, compared with Bristol and Birmingham. Some anti-French feeling is noticed.

BELFAST (Northern Ireland) Announcement of fine response to appeal for accelerated output has had a stimulating effect. Nevertheless there are still complaints that Northern Ireland is not being given a full opportunity to put all its industry into the war effort. Sharp controversy over proposals for united defence organisation for Northern Ireland and Eire.

MANCHESTER (North Western) Spirit of munition workers is excellent, though they realise increasing odds against us. Many complaints about neglect and mismanagement of L.D.V. Correction of error in report of Tuesday, June 25th: sentence should read, “Communist activities greatly decreased in munition factories during last fortnight.”

BRISTOL (South Western) People much encouraged by Morrison's statement on supply, though there is feeling that previous situation must have been very bad for such improvement to be possible. Rumours about raids, & A.R.P. continue common. There is still some discontent at the slowness of the military call up.

LEEDS (North Eastern) Local registration for evacuation to Canada is very heavy indeed. Still a popular view that authorities have not yet properly got to grips with the problem of conscripting man-power. Much evacuation from Bridlington, where bombs fell on Wednesday night. Indignation is reported there that no sirens were sounded, though eight bombs fell.

EDINBURGH (Scotland) Glasgow reports complaints that balloons were late in going up in recent raids, though great skill of searchlight operators was praised. Little apprehension is expressed about future raids.

NEWCASTLE (Northern) Bitterness felt on French capitulation has diminished as a result of news from French colonial empire. Scheme for overseas evacuation is on the whole welcomed. From Tees-side it is reported that people are going down to their air raid shelters about 9 p.m. and settling down for the night, even though no alarm has been given.

READING (Southern) Continued reports stress demands by public for greater drive in home defence. Newspaper criticism of the Civil Service are being reflected in public comments.

BIRMINGHAM (Midland) Dissatisfaction in part of region where bombs were dropped last night because no air raid warning was sounded.

CAMBRIDGE (Eastern) Main effect of air raids so far has been loss of sleep; many people are readjusting their habits to limit as far as possible their sleep loss. Many suggest that employers should give their staff a rest period. Some reports express fear at lack of elasticity in L.D.V. organization.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS (South Eastern) View is common among the public that two or three nights' disturbed sleep will quickly lead to a breakdown, and it is suggested that public should be informed that many people, for example sailors, work on a four-hour shift system throughout the night indefinitely without ill effect. Comments are still reported that the authorities are far too polite when making reference to Hitler.




28th June, 1940

Cowley Estate, Stockwell reports tenants busy making shelters comfortable with carpets to sleep on, furniture, beds for children, pictures of King and Queen, artificial flowers, Union Jacks, etc. Women scrubbing floors and laughing: “wish Hitler could see us now!” Tenants plan to have “open night” to show off their shelters to their neighbours. Collecting money to buy sand buckets. “All pleased to have something to do themselves.” Fulham Housing Estate has democratic system in operation of shelter marshals and their helpers chosen by tenants. System worked well on Monday night and people who did not leave their beds then decided to do so next time as they had “missed the fun”. Notices of lectures on A.R.P. and self-help posted up in prominent place by Estate Manager, resulting in excellent attendances. Parents with children billeted in Devon “very satisfied”. Lambeth: “Confusion in some peoples minds between warning signal and All Clear.” Siemen's Woolwich: “Workers putting their hearts into their work in spite of long hours. Those guilty of careless talking or spreading rumours are dealt with at once. Chiswick: “Difficulty of getting volunteers for A.R.P. night duty as people have to work by day and cannot do without their sleep.


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