The Government was secretly opening the mail going out of the country. It was partly a counter espionage measure but it also enabled them to monitor the state of morale in the country. On the 7th October the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, asked that the latest report ‘Home Opinion – As Shewn in the Mails to USA and Eire’ be circulated to the rest of the War Cabinet:
REACTION TO AIR-RAIDS …
Morale is highest in London, but the provinces run a good second, and only a few letters from Liverpool, mostly from Irish writers, show any sign of panic.
The almost incredible bravery of the people, their fortitude and endurance, and in especial the stoic calm of those who have lost their homes and possessions, beggars description. London and the provinces share equal honours in this last respect, and all writers are touchingly grateful for the kindness shown to them.
“Now the windows are all boarded up and tarpaulin put on the roof it does not seem so bad ….. The people around here have all been so kind. So many offered us a home… We did not know we had such wonderful friends.” (Bedford Park, London.)
“I don’t know whether you heard of our bit of bad luck or rather good luck, last Tuesday. We were left without a home, but not a scratch to anyone.” (Liverpool.).
“It is no longer necessary to make window displays, the chief reason being that I have no windows. On the boards which have replaced the glass are two notices, which have, caused a deal of comment. – “Business as usual, everybody safe. Not an ache and only a few panes …… .” (Liverpool)
“These people who are left without a thing in the world, except the spirit of winning the war ……” (London, E.8,)
“In the East End they seem more annoyed at Buckingham Palace being hit than their own homes ….. in some cases had spread out the Union Jack on the houses that had been hit (Southampton)
Londoners agree universally that the noise of the big guns is music in their ears, and that they sleep better when the barrage is in progress.
“The great and lovely guns that burst Hell’s fire into the . Heavens, What a sight” (London)
“The splendid noise of our guns ….. the best tonic Londoners have ever had.” (N.W.1.)
“It’s an awful noise, but it’s wonderful music all the same and we like it and are able to get some sleep while it’s on.” (N.15.)
Londoners have found a new pastime in the collecting of pieces of shrapnel and fragments of crashed planes. “One of my friends has a piece of wing of an aeroplane. We all treasure our shrapnel here, for they are good souvenirs.” (E.1.)
See TNA cab/66/12/37