HO 203 - Ministry of Home Security, Daily Intelligence Reports.
This series contains records of the Ministry of Home Security, specifically the intelligence reports received in the Home Security War Room, Whitehall, summarising air-raid damage and other information of significance to civil defence.
Established in 1939 and headed by Sir John Anderson, then Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security, the Ministry of Home Security was responsible for national civil defence during the Second World War. Its responsibilities covered all central and regional civil defence organisations such as air-raid wardens, the Women's Voluntary Service, and fire and rescue services. It was also responsible for giving approval to local Air Raid Precaution schemes, many of which had been in planning since July of 1935, when the Home Office administered a circular to Local Authorities inviting them to consider means to deal with the effects of possible air attacks on Britain. The Civil Defence Act of 1939 made obligatory much of these early civil defence preparations, including the communications system for civil defence, which consisted in the first instance of agents (police and wardens, etc.) reporting to local centres. These reports were then passed to Control Centres and thence to Regional Headquarters, where they were sent by teleprinter or direct telephone to the Home Security War Room.
The subsequent summary reports, which were prepared and circulated twice-daily by intelligence staff for the benefit of the Minister of Home Security and senior officials, provide a running narrative of the home defence situation throughout the war. These cover a variety of topics, including: instances of enemy aircraft flying over Britain; the progress of evacuations; infrastructure and transport disruption; the effectiveness of the blackout; reports of casualties and survivors of attacks; and shipping accidents in British waters.