Reference HO 199/452
Title Women's Voluntary Service; weekly confidential letters
Former Department Reference HSI: 200/57
Government Department Ministry of Home Security
Themes Information Services and Propaganda
Subthemes Public opinion and morale, Foreign nationals and newcomers, Publicity campaigns and initiatives, Rumours and gossip
Document Types Reports and Surveys, Official Correspondence
Civil Defence Regions Nationwide
Locations Bristol, Cambridge, Channel Islands, Cornwall, Dover, Dunkirk, Falmouth, Folkestone, France, Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milford Haven, Netherlands, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norway, Oldham, Ramsgate, Reading, Southampton, Staffordshire, Stratford-upon-Avon, Weymouth, Wigan
Organisations Auxiliary Territorial Service, British Army, British Broadcasting Corporation, Civil Nursing Reserve, Home Guard, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Women's Land Army, Women's Voluntary Service, Young Men's Christian Association


A file containing documents relating to letters prepared by Lady Reading, reporting on public morale as experienced by the Women's Voluntary Service. Documents in the file include Lady Reading's letters; and official correspondence on the circulation and usefulness of the information contained within them. Topics covered by the letters include public opinion on the progress of the war; attitudes towards leading government figures; the resignation of Neville Chamberlain and his replacement by Winston Churchill; and social tensions arising from the influx of aliens and foreign refugees. Other topics discussed include the effectiveness of both enemy and government propaganda; reactions to the return of British soldiers from locations such as Norway and Dunkirk; subversive activity by fifth columnists; the evacuation scheme; and issues with supply levels, both at home and for the military abroad.


air-raid precautions, air-raid shelters, air-raid warnings, Alfred Duff Cooper, aliens, Belgian nationals, bomb damage, British Dominions, children, clothing, communal feeding, conscription, defeatism, Dunkirk evacuation, Dutch nationals, enemy propaganda, Ernest Bevin, espionage, evacuation, factories, family, first aid, food supplies, German nationals, homelessness, internment, Jews, John Anderson, Labour Party, local authorities, Lord Halifax, Lord Haw-Haw, military casualties, military equipment, munitions, munitions industry, Neville Chamberlain, nurses, overseas evacuation, pacifism, prisoners of war, propaganda, public morale, public opinion, Queen Elizabeth, race relations, radio broadcasts, refugees, rumours, social class, soldiers, threat of invasion, volunteers, wages, Winston Churchill, wives

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