A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 101
Daily Observations by Home Intelligence
Monday, 16th September, 1940

Yesterday's aerial successes have produced enthusiastic praise for the R.A.F. There is, however, comment that the A.A. barrage last night seemed less intense than usual. This may be due to nothing more than people becoming used to it.

Most people anticipate an invasion within a few days, and are very confident that it will be a failure. Rumours that it has already been attempted and has failed are reported from many quarters. From the Northern Region it is stated that there are many requests for a public denial or an explanatory statement. From Nottingham comes the rumour that hundreds of German bodies have been floating in the Channel. In north Nottinghamshire the invasion is said to have been attempted on Lincolnshire and the South coast. In Northampton it is said that the attack was launched on the West coast. Invasion rumours are also reported in the South-western Region and Scotland.

The people of London are in the great majority more optimistic, but unplanned evacuation of the “jittery” to Bucks., Berks., Herts., Oxford and Kent continues. These evacuees magnify their adventures and the amount of destruction in London, thus alarming people in reception areas. Nightly migrations to public shelters which people regard as safe in the West End and elsewhere are now routine events. Tubes are also being used as shelters.

There is still criticism of lack of washing and other facilities at rest centres, and suggestions are made that these centres should cooperate more closely with the public baths.

The Lord Mayor's Fund for Air Raid Relief is criticised on two scores; first that the matter is really a Government concern, and secondly that many towns have suffered considerably already but that no national fund has been opened for them.

In the excitement of aerial battles, air raids, and invasion threats, the situation in Egypt is being allowed to pass by the public with little comment.




16.9.40 .

1. NORTHERN (Newcastle) Rumours of an attempted invasion which failed are widespread. There is much evidence that public feeling against the German people is rapidly hardening as a result of the more intensive raids. Complaints have been made that many people fail to hear the one minute warning when asleep, and it has been urged that after 10.30 p.m. the sirens should be sounded for at least 2 minutes. The heating of shelters is becoming a major concern for many people. Feeling is growing in working class circles that certain classes are not pulling their weight in the financing of the war, in view of big interest-free loans made by working class organisations.

3. NORTH-MIDLAND (Nottingham) Widespread rumours are prevalent that an invasion has already been attempted. The continued presence of the King, Queen and Government in London is appreciated. More news of our air raids on Germany is still desired, as there is a feeling that we can stand bombing better if the Germans are getting the same treatment. In Northamptonshire some workers express concern at the sparing use of alarms; they do not mind working through so long as they can feel their families can take cover in good time. War investments have increased in Nottingham mining areas as a result of local bombing.

9. MIDLAND (Birmingham) The relative calm of the past few nights is creating a belief that invasion is imminent and there is absolute confidence in the outcome. People are less worried by siren warnings than formerly, and go to bed until bombs are dropped. Licensing Justices of Birmingham are to consider the earlier closing of public houses in view of the disorderly behaviour of intoxicated people in public shelters.

13. NORTHERN IRELAND (Belfast) There is enthusiastic praise for the way in which the R.A.F. has bombed enemy invasion bases, and brought down so many aircraft in London raids. There is some comment on the relatively small number of planes destroyed by A.A. fire. Anger is expressed at the renewed bombing of Buckingham Palace. The situation in Egypt is viewed with some uneasiness.

7. SOUTH-WESTERN (Bristol) Admiration is expressed for the exploits of the R.A.F. in yesterday's raids, and many people are expressing the hope that retaliation will be made on Berlin. There are rumours of parachutists landing in Cornwall.

11. SCOTLAND (Edinburgh) In Dundee there is general scepticism about invasion, based on confidence in the Navy, but elsewhere there are vigorous rumours of an attempted invasion of N.E. Scotland. There is little talk about the Italian moves on the Egyptian border and this campaign seems to be regarded as a side issue. It is reported that on receipt of an air raid warning in Glasgow last night many lights became visible, and A.R.P. workers complain that they have no power to take effective action.



Big trek each evening to find shelter accomodation for the night - from such areas as Bermondsey, Canning Town, and Paddington. Numbers of people including many children shelter in Underground Stations. In a West-End district, it is reported that people bombed out of a public shelter were refused admittance to the large private shelter of a big stores. A Stepney observer reports:- “need for clothes for refugees at Rest Centres: communal feeding centres working well, though many people ignorant of their existence, and uninformed of changed addresses as the result of fresh raids: many working men unable to obtain meal in evening owing to bombing of market, and lack of gas, electricity and water;” suggests temporary hostels for them. Watford observer reports that district making London refugees welcome; some anxiety about getting in touch with relatives. Improvement in the offering of lifts by private cars reported from several areas.

Home Intelligence,


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