A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 100
Daily Observations by Home Intelligence
Saturday, 14th September, 1940

People in London are slightly less cheerful today. The decline in the activity of the anti-aircraft barrage has caused comment, and there are many questions about the effect of cloud and rain on the barrage.

Unplanned evacuation from London is continuing. Most people leave without giving any indication of their destination A report on the reception of refugees in Oxford and Buckinghamshire will be provided on Monday.

Conditions in many shelters are still unsatisfactory. Complaints are mainly about insanitary conditions, lack of ventilation and overcrowding.

Many of our reports show criticism of the Lord Mayor's “charitable appeal” for relief and consider the charge should properly be carried by the Government.

Exaggerated stories of damage and Haw Haw rumours continue to circulate.

There is little interest in the possibility of invasion, nor does the prospect alarm people.

Public opinion about the bombing of Buckingham Palace is divided: most people feel a fresh bond with their leaders, others think that “the King and Queen ought not to be exposed to such danger”.




14th September, 1940.

2. NORTH EASTERN (Leeds) All eyes are still on London, and newspaper accounts of the behaviour of Londoners have stiffened public resolve in the North. Despite warnings about invasion, it cannot be said that most people take the threat seriously. THE WAR WEAPONS WEEK has had a brilliant send-off in Leeds. Although morale is high, more people than for some time past are listening to Haw Haw, and it seems that people hope to pick up hints about coming events. There is strong feeling because bombs fell again this week and there were no sirens sounded or A.A. fire.

4. EASTERN (Cambridge) The chief reactions to the bombing of London appear to be anxiety concerning communications. The accounts of the bombing of Buckingham Palace have captured public imagination. There has been an increase in rumours although not of an unduly alarmist nature. Complaints of non-arrival of postal packets sent to the U.S.A. have caused a suspicion that certain letters are being systematically stopped.

6. SOUTHERN (Reading) There is some anxiety as to the possibility of continued night raiding through the winter. An authoritative statement on the damage which is being done to Germany would undoubtedly have a tonic effect on many people. Although the public is alive to the possibilities of invasion, there is a general feeling that it can only be a disaster for the Germans. There is a feeling in some quarters that there is too much emphasis placed on damage by press photographs, and the attitude that “we can take it”, which suggests our ability to suffer rather than our power to hit back.

8. WALES (Cardiff) Interest is centred on activities in S.E. England, the prospect of invasion, and additions or improvements to shelters to meet winter conditions. The continued presence of the King and Queen in London and their tours has enhanced the respect felt by all. There is some call for reprisals by random bombing in Germany.

10. NORTH WESTERN (Manchester) Today's topic of conversation is surprise at getting through a whole night without an alarm. There are fresh reports that Liverpool dockers are not co-operating and are far too ready to stop work for alarms. The deliberate bombing of Buckingham Palace is thought to be a blunder by Hitler.

12. SOUTH EASTERN (Tunbridge Wells) Tunbridge Wells suffered considerable damage on Thursday as a result of a lightning raid. No siren was sounded but members of the Civil Defence behaved splendidly, but soon after the streets became full of curious sight-seers who interfered with the work of the fire services. If the raider had returned there might have been many casualties.


We use cookies to track usage and preferences.

Privacy & Cookie Policy Accept & Close