Lord Haw-Haw | The Nazi broadcaster who threatened Britain

Rumours

Haw-Haw rumours are spreading across Britain.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT
Date Unknown

[Handwritten letter]

Reference [left blank]
See Lees. Ed. Bernard Newman.

To Mr Andrew Stewart

From Dr Taylor.
Home Intelligence

Rumours.

The Haw-Haw rumours have been astonishingly dull. They simply consist of predictions of visits or return visits to certain towns. At Peterboro' a rumour of an attack to be made on a factory, caused absenteeism. They are spread by people who are normally responsible and sensible, and cause genuine alarm.

Attached is a list of towns from which they have come.

The only local variation is to add some definite military objective (a factory or a Gvt. office) and say "Haw-Haw knows about it".

[initials] ST

[Page 2 of 2]

Reference [left blank]

List of Towns about which or at which Haw-haw rumours are circulating:

Peterborough,
Bristol,
Guildford,
Nottingham,
Cambridge,
Oxford,
Reading,
Aldershot,
Hazlemere,
Andover,
Bournemouth,
Sheffield
Exeter
Cheltenham
Leeds
Plymouth
East London
Southampton
Worcester,
Newcastle,
Weston-super-Mare,
Barnstaple,
Northampton,
Coventry,
Wrexham (and N. Wales generally).


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Document Type | Letter

circa 1941

Document version

Writtencirca

1941

Synopsis

Dr Taylor from Home Intelligence writes to Andrew Stewart (a BBC member of staff seconded to the Ministry of Information) about the Lord Haw-Haw rumours that are spreading across the country, listing the towns where they are circulating. At one factory in Peterborough, the workforce was absent due to false information about an attack triggering unfounded fears of being bombed.

Did you know?

Dr Stephen Taylor (1910-88) was a neuro-psychiatric specialist who served in various sections of the forces before becoming Director of Home Intelligence and Wartime Social Survey for the Ministry of Information (1941-45). After the summer of 1940, Haw-Haw's propaganda was more feared than enjoyed. This gave rise to an increased amount of rumour-mongering. German propagandists did, however, talk of terrifying 'secret weapons' such as new gases and the atom bomb. Consequently, Haw-Haw's words were given more sinister meaning by listeners. The belief that he knew a public clock in Cambridge was set at the wrong time resulted in fears of Nazi spies at large and of the town being selected for attack.

Contributors

Subject of document
Recipient

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