A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 92 .
Daily Report on MORALE .
Thursday, 5th September 1940 .

In the face of continued bombing morale remains high.

Guidance on sleeping arrangements in shelters is urgently needed, especially in the East End of London, where bombing damage makes the population only too ready to use their shelters to the full, (this does not, however, apply to factory workers on duty, the majority of whom like to carry on until danger is near). The noise of bombs and the A.A. barrage makes sleep in shelters an extremely difficult matter, apart altogether from the problem of crowding people together in a small space.

Hitler's speech is generally regarded as “encouraging”. The public read into it that the work of the R.A.F. and the blockade are taking effect.

Demands for, and satisfaction at, reprisals continue.

There are reports of dissatisfaction at the present education situation, and the requisitioning of schools for non-scholastic purposes is criticised.

While various small intellectual groups are still asking for a definition of war aims, there is evidence that the great bulk of the population are satisfied with the present situation and are prepared to leave this matter until victory is in sight or attained.

A Haw Haw rumour alleging that he threatened damage to a certain street is reported from Leeds, the first for a considerable time.




5.9.40 .

2. NORTH-EASTERN (Leeds). Confidence remains high. Many people are now asking “Is it possible to defeat the lone raider?” There is some feeling that the flashes from trolley trams during air raids act as a guide to enemy aircraft. Rumours are current in Sheffield of high casualties in London and heavy damage in Manchester due to recent raids.

4. EASTERN (Cambridge). Hitler's recent sneers and threats are regarded as evidence that he is feeling the effect of our blockade and raids by the R.A.F. The transfer of American destroyers is still the chief topic of conversation. The rising number of Spitfire funds in the region indicates the admiration and gratitude that is felt for the R.A.F., although doubt is sometimes expressed as to whether the voluntary subscriptions should not be devoted to benevolent funds.

6. SOUTHERN (Reading). Hitler's speech and press comments on it have encouraged people generally. Determination is as strong as ever, but in those places heavily bombed there is some sign of strain, a symptom of which is the dissatisfaction with the present system of warnings. It is felt in Aldershot that in any case “Raiders Passed” should be given, even if the raiders are not announced. From Poole and Basingstoke come complaints of lack of sleep. There is also anxiety as to winter raid conditions, although there is a continuance of the demand for more shelters. In some places our news of air raids is beginning to be questioned, and there is an increase of rumour due to the absence of specific information about raids; this may be on account of comparisons between official communiqués, and stories of damage and casualties which spread across the country.

8. WALES (Cardiff). Some discontent is in evidence because the number of civilian casualties resulting from raids is withheld. The transfer of American destroyers has caused much satisfaction. There is a growing tendency to evacuate school-children situated near dock districts subjected to bombing.

10. NORTH-WESTERN (Manchester). The main reaction to Hitler's speech is encouragement that he is feeling the blockade, and the hope that if any “cities are to raised” we shall do likewise.


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