A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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The Questionnaire and the instructions given to interviewers


Interviewer: .........

Date: .........

Town: .........

Region 1 2 3 4 5

Urban 7 .........

Rural 8 .........


Male 1
Female 2

Age of informant

Under 20 3
20 - 24 4
25 - 29 5
30 - 34 6
35 - 39 7
40 and over 8


Married 1
Single 2
Widowed 3

Children at home

What service were you in?

Army 1
Navy 2
Air Force 3
Other (specify) 4

How many months ago did your demobilisation leave begin?

Up to 2 months ago 6
2 and under 3 months ago 7
3 and under 4 months ago 8
4 and under 5 months ago 9
5 months and over 0

In what month were you demobilised?

May 1
June 2
July 3
August 4
September 5
October 6

1. Was you release in group A 7 or in group B 8

2.Are you working now?

Yes Full-time 1
Part-time 2
Not at all 3


Building 4
Mining 5
Agriculture 6
Distributive 7
Hotel and Catering 8
Manufacturing Industries 9
Transport 0
Unoccupied and Housewife Y
Other Industry (Specify) X

(Question 3-7 were concerned with another subject)


(Do not record borrowed coupons or coupons bought, official issue only)

8. How many clothing coupons were issued to you when you were demobilished?

(Demob. Issue only. Men 90 Women 146)

9. How many civilian coupons have been issued to you then or since?

Exclude coupons not yet valid. Include Industrial issue, Hardship issue, Civilian issue. (May 36, June 33, July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24, Oct. 21)

Total received



10. What civilian clothes have you bought for yourself or had bought for you, for your demobilisation and since? (Since answers on back page)

11. Have you put any of your coupons into a family supply (pool)?

Yes 1
No 2
Don’t know 3

12. Have any of the items recorded on the back page been bought out of the family supply (pool)?

Yes 5
No 6
Don’t know 7

IF NO or DON’T KNOW TO 11 and 12

13. Have any of your clothing coupons been spent on household goods, or for clothing for other members of your family? (Either given as coupons or goods)

How many coupons ___


14. Have you given or lent (not repaid) any coupons to people outside your family, or bought presents for them?

How many coupons ___


15. How many coupons have you left now? ___

16. Were there any items of clothing which you wanted, but were unable to find in the shops?

16(a) IF YES , what exactly did you want? (Record in detail items and difficulty, e.g. size, colour, type, quality, price, coupon value.)


17. Do you think the number of coupons issued to demobilised men and women is fair in relation to the ordinary civilian ration?

Yes 5
No 6
Don’t know 7
D.N.A. Proxy interview 8


18. What do you think of this sort of inquiry being made by the Government?



COUPONS SPENT . What civilian clothes have you bought for yourself or had bought for you, for your demobilisation and since. (The usual coupon values are given as a guide for interviewers).

Footwear outdoor 2 9
Footwear other 5
Overcoat 9 16 18
Raincoat 9 16 18
Suit 26
Trousers 5 8 11
Jacket 11 13
Shirt 4 5 7
Tie 1
Collar 1
Socks 2
Pullover 4 6
Cardigan 4 6
Pyjamas 8
Vests/Pants 2 4 5 6
Combinations 5 7
Dressing gown 7 8
Gloves/Scarf 1 2
Handkerchieves 1 2
Overall/Apron ¼ ½
Suiting/Material Various
Knitting Wool/Yarn Various
Other items (Specify)


Footwear outdoor 2 5 7
Footwear other 5 7
Stockings 3
Socks 1
Overcoat 9 15 18
Raincoat 9 15 18
Costume 18
Skirt 4 6
Slacks 5 8
Blouse 3 4 5 6 7
Jumper/Cardigan 4 6
Jacket 6 10 13
Dress 5 6 7 8 11
Vests/Knickers 2 3
Corsets 3
Suspender Belt/Brassiere 1
Petticoat/Slip/Combinations 3 4 6
Camiknickers 3
Nightdress 4 6
Pyjamas 6 8
House coat/Dressing gown 7 8
Gloves/Scarf 1 2
Material, various Various
Knitting wool/Yarn Various
Handkerchieves ¼ 1/8
Overalls 11 7 6 4 3 2 1
Other items (Specify)


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This inquiry is being undertaken for the Board of Trade to give “information which will give some indication of any. really large shifts in production which ought to be attempted” as a result of the issue of coupons to demobilised persons, as it is not known to what extent the issue shifts the emphasis of demand.

This means that we have to find out:-

  1. 1. How fast the demobilisation coupons are being spent.

  2. 2. What demobilised men and women are buying for themselves (or having bought for them) with their coupons).

  3. 3. To what extent their coupons are being spent (a) on their own family or household, (b) on people outside their family. We do not want to know what was bought with the coupons used for persons other than the demobilised people themselves, as the Board of Trado has information on this from other sources.


It was found on the pilot that in explaining the survey, especially to men it was useful to mention the need for changes in production, e.g. to more children's clothes on account of coupons being given away, as well as between the different items of clothing. In this way the informants were made to realise that giving away etc., was taken for granted by the interviewer, and felt free to talk about it. It was necessary to make all informants clear that the survey was not a checkup and that the interviewer did not care what was done with the coupons, except to enable the Board of Trade to meet the demands of the public as far as possible. It was found that with women it was useful to stress the need to know what the coupons were spent on in order to produce the items they wanted.


The sample is a difficult one to find. For this reason there are no substitutes, but a double number of names to draw on, which we hope will at least help.

In all interviews the person who is responsible for spending the coupons of the demobilised person should be seen, unless the demobilised person himself knows in detail about their expenditure where he does not spend them. Only wives should be interviewed as proxies, and then only if it is clear that they know about the expenditure of coupons in detail; you will be able to judge this. You should make a re-call for the informant himself or take another name from your list if he is not available, if the proxy’s information is inadequate.

When a wife knows more about the coupons thon the real informant, as sometimes happens, you should ask the coupon questions of her. In such cases you should ask the real informant Q. 17 and 18. If he is not there and if it is at all possible you should make a re-call for him for this purpose.

Where only a proxy can be seen Q.17 should not be asked, and should be coded accordingly.


The questions can be taken in any order expect for Q. 17, which must follow all the other coupon questions . The classification questions may be taken where they are printed, or asked at the end, which ever you feel is most convenient.

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Town. Urban & Rural. In a rural district record the name of the R.D. you are working in, as given on your quote sheet.

Status. Widowed includes separated and divorced.

Children at home in this case children means children of the informant who live at home, whatever their age.

How many months ago did your demobilisation leave begin? and In what month were you demobilised? are similar questions and the two can be asked together, but the answers cannot be deduced from each other, and both are needed for analysis. The date of demobilisation, for the purpose of this survey, is always counted as the day on which demobilisation leave began.


We do not want to do elaborate sums, only to get as good an indication as we can of the way that the coupons are spent and on what they are spent, so do not worry if the coupons recorded do not ‘balance’; in many cases they can’t.

Where the numbers you record are unavoidably only approximate please indicate that this is so beside them.

Question 8. Simply enter 90 or 146, as appropriate. There is no need to ask the informant.

Question 9. Make sure coupons not yet valid are excluded. Ask each informant whether they had industrial or hardship issues; All will have had some of the civilian issue of coupons. Industrial issues are given to civilians in certain types of work. Hardship issues are added to the demobilisation issue where hardship (e.g. loss of clothes in blitz) is proved. The Civilian issue is in this case the current civilian coupons given on demobilisation at the rate of 3 a month for the remainder of the current period, together with any ordinary civilian coupons that have become valid since that date. This can be calculated from the month in which the person was demobilised; the total civilian issue for persons demobilised in each month is printed on the form.

Please fill in the total of coupons received (from official issues) below questions 8 and 9.

Question 10. This question has been printed separately and you may find it convenient as a starting-point. Otherwise this is its logical position among the coupon questions. Get as much detail as possible. (Sometimes you will be able to check expenditure with coupons received and still left, but not where a family pool was used, or where coupons were received as presents).

Be careful not to record the demobilisation issue of clothes among the items for which coupons were given.

The coupon values printed are the usual values and are for your guidance. Coupons may have been given may not always be the only ones.

Try to get a complete record of coupons spent, using the list of clothes as a reminder to the informant. All items bought for the informant's use should be recorded, even if the coupons spent on them were not all received from official issues.

If some items of clothing are forgotten but the total expenditure on them is known nevertheless, place enter this amount, giving as much information about the items as you can.

Question 11 and 12. By Family supply or pool is meant a collection of the family’s coupons used indiscriminately for its different members. Sometimes coupons are lent and repaid but each person's supply kept separately. This is not a pool. Numbers put into the pool are not wanted. Here we cannot estimate the amount spent on the informant and on the household.

Questions 13 and 14. These show how far the coupons are diverted to the family and household, and how far to outsiders. In 13 members of your family is defined as ‘relations with whom you are living’. Expenditure on all persons other than these should be recorded in 14. Any coupons sold should also be recorded in 14. Find out about this tactfully if you have suspicions and can do so. No detail is wanted, only the total spent outside the family.

Please do not fill in the total of coupons given or spent after question 14.

Question 15. This should not be based on calculations, unless the informant is very certain of the numbers given, pooled, or spent. The informant should know, or be able to find out by looking to see how many coupons he has left. If only an approximate figure can be arrived at please note on the form that the answer is approximate.

Question 16a. Two answers are wanted - (a) the item, e.g. “Coat”, (b) The reason(s) which prevented the informant from getting the item he wanted, e.g. “could not get small size”.

Questions 17 and 18. Please be careful to ask these questions without biasing the answer by your tone of voice.

Question 17. Please record all comments (sum up the sense of them if they are long) but also press for a Yes, No, or Don’t know answer, where am ambiguous answer is given.


Question 9. Record Hardship and Industrial issue as a separate entry from Civilian issue. This is very important. The Hardship and/or Industrial issue should be recorded beside the words “Hardship issue” on the questionnaire and the Civilian issue beside the details of the civilian issue given in brackets. If no hardship or industrial coupons have been received record ‘none’.

Question 10. Where a dress or material by the yard is mentioned, please specify wool or non-wool , or how many of each kind, beside the item. It is necessary to do this in all cases.

Question 15. If any coupons may have been put into a family pool (i.e. ‘yes’ or ‘D.K.’ to question 11), question 15 need not be asked and should be left blank.

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What do you think of this sort of enquiry being made by the Government? i
The distribution of the samples ii
Service and release groups iii
Month in which demobilisation leave began iv
Numbers demobilised up to 30th September 1945 v
Age and status vi
Occupation vii
Time since demobilisation viii


Number of coupons received 1
Number of coupons left at the time of interview 2
Clothes bought by the informants 3
Number of informants contributing to ‘pools’ and using coupons from them 4
Coupons spent on other members of the family and/or on household goods (where no coupons were pooled) 5
Coupons spent outside the informant's family 6
Total of coupons spent on others excluding pooled coupons 7
Number of informants who could not find some item of clothing in the shops 8
Clothes informants could not find in the shops, and what their difficulty had been 9
Informant's opinions of the number of coupons they received 10

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