A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


NO. 94
Daily Report on MORALE
Saturday, 7th September, 1940

Morale is unchanged.

Reactions to the Prime Minister's last speech can now be summarised. On the whole it aroused less interest than his previous speeches, though it was well-liked. The parts which created the greatest interest were his references to sirens and to the number of houses demolished. The casualty figures have caused little comment. The siren question is still much discussed as reports from Leeds, Manchester and Wales indicate today. There is surprise that only 800 houses have been totally demolished, as many people thought that 1,000 houses were destroyed at Ramsgate alone. There appears to be confusion between damage and destruction.

There is evidence to show that night raids cause far more upset to people than daylight raids.

There are still requests for clearer instructions to bus drivers in rural areas about what they are to do in air raid warnings.

Regional complaints that London receives excessive publicity for its raids, both in the press and on the wireless, while important provincial towns have to hide their identity even from themselves, are still reported.

Local Information Committees and others associated with the work of the Ministry of Information contrast the lack of publicity given to the positive aspects of the Ministry's work with that given to the work of the Ministries of Food, Home Security etc.


Corrigendum : Yesterday's Daily Report on Morale (No. 93) should contain the word “favourably” after the word “mentioned” in line 4 of paragraph 4, page 1.



7.9.40 .

2. NORTH-EASTERN (Leeds). Morale and confidence is unchanged throughout the Region, although there is some anxiety about the effects on health of the serious loss of sleep which has lately been suffered. Siren policy continues to be “a very general topic of conversation”.

4. EASTERN (Cambridge). Morale is high, and owing to the fact that the Region is now fully accustomed to air raid warnings, and because raids themselves have lately been less frequent, there is less feeling of anxiety. There are some complaints about the amount of working time which is lost through warnings. Traffic conditions, east and west across Norfolk, are reported as being very difficult when raids have occurred in that area; this refers particularly to bus services.

6. SOUTHERN (Reading). Although “nerves are somewhat frayed by the constant movement of enemy planes”, the public continues to be in a fairly cheerful frame of mind. There is some divergence of opinion about the attitude which the public should take towards the sounding of sirens. Whereas the Southampton L.I.C. “stresses the necessity for people not to jump up and seek shelter directly the sirens go”, Totten Sub-Committee “thinks that people should be educated to pay more attention to warnings”.

8. WALES (Cardiff). There is no change in the feelings of the public, upon whom the war of nerves “is having little effect”. There has been “a wonderful reaction” to the Prime Minister's speech.

10. NORTH-WESTERN (Manchester). There is evidence that the public in this Region is concerned rather more than it is elsewhere about air raids. “Morale is seriously threatened on Merseyside”, where employers are anxious because night work is seriously hampered through warnings and by the fact that workers engaged on it are tired by daytime raids.

12. SOUTH-EASTERN (Tunbridge Wells). In spite of continuous raids “morale remains at a high level throughout the Region”. There are some complaints from Eastbourne at the ban on visitors, “and if the local authorities were told why it is not possible to give them facilities which are granted to Brighton, it would help to do away with this grievance”.


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