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    People's War
    How Bedfordshire fooled the Germans!
    Milton Bryan
    The plaque commemorating the work of Sefton Delmer and his programme teams

    A small Bedfordshire village is home to one of the most amazing stories of World War Two. A radio station was built in Milton Bryan, where presenters pretended to be Germans to fool the enemy into surrender. Now listen for the first time since WW2!

    WATCH & LISTEN

    audio LISTEN TO BBC THREE COUNTIES SHOW FROM MILTON BRYAN - 22/04/04

     

    audio Station Ident and Jazz Music
    (Jazz Music was frowned upon by the Nazis for being decadent)

     

    audio News of the final assault on Hitler's Bunker

     

    audio 'Marlene Dietrich' style German music

     

    audio News of Germany's surrender

     

    audio French Music
    (The French had been seen by the Nazis as a defeated nation)

     

    audioJewish Music
    (The Nazis viewed Jewish Music as abhorant)

     

    audioNews of Germany's collapse

     

    audioOne of the last times Milton Bryan pretended to be a German station

     

    audio German Waltz
    (Waltz music was especially popular with U-Boat crews)

     

    BBC download guide
    Free Real player
    SEE ALSO

    People's War

    View the air raid photo gallery

    View the Churchill Tank photo gallery

    View the Vauxhall factory photo gallery

    D-Day revisited

    "May the fathers long tell the children" - St John Fisher School project

    People's War and D-Day anniversary events

    People's War Roadshow in Bedford

    Tank power

    Memories of a war baby

    War child: giving something back

    Vauxhall to the rescue

    Living with the enemy

    The Glenn Miller mystery

    The secret war in Milton Keynes

    World War Two poetry

    How Bedfordshire fooled the Germans!

    WEB LINKS

    The Secret War in Milton Keynes

    Sefton Delmar

    Black propaganda


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    ESSENTIAL INFO

    The WW2 People's War Website aims to capture and preserve for future generations the personal and family stories of the people who lived and fought in World War Two. This is an opportunity to leave a legacy so that the sacrifices of the war can be better understood.

    The Website enables you to write about World War Two, discuss the stories that you read, reunite with others and research the war generation.

    The WW2 People's War Team rely on you, the online community, to provide authentic stories and constructive feedback.

    get in contact

    In 1941, Winston Churchill demanded that a propaganda war should be properly waged against the Nazis and an organisation called the Political Warfare Executive was set up, which ran many of their operations from places in Beds, Herts and Bucks.

    Wavendon Tower

    The main building
    View the Milton Bryan photo gallery >>

    Staff, defectors and prisoners of war were taken to the Sugar Loaf pub in Dunstable, and then put into cars with blacked out windows.

    Only now do we know that they were dispersed to villages across Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to fight their hidden war.

    Propaganda
    One of the most amazing stories is the part played by the small village of Milton Bryan in Bedfordshire.

    On the edge of the Woburn Estate, a top secret state-of-the-art radio station was built to record 'black propaganda' radio shows.

    Led by the former Express Correspondent, Sefton Delmer, a multi-national team pretended to be Germans, and fooled the enemy into thinking they were listening to real German radio stations.

    The programmes encouraged German soldiers to surrender, gave false and misleading instructions to civilians, and played music that the Nazi regime frowned upon.

    As well as the main aim of turning the German people against the Nazis and demoralising enemy soldiers, Milton Bryan also played the latest German hits, and had the latest news from Germany which had been intercepted at Bletchley Park.

    Trick
    Broadcasts were made to the German Army across Europe, to U-boat crews in the Atlantic, and also directly into Germany itself.

    Milton Bryan

    One of the many windows in the main building that still have the remains of the blackout blinds in place
    View the Milton Bryan photo gallery >>

    One trick was to wait until official German radio stations had gone off air during air raids, then Milton Bryan would broadcast on the same frequencies, so the Germans thought they were still listening to the real station.

    The work of Milton Bryan was so convincing that Goebbels, the Nazi head of propaganda, complained about how well they did their job.

    The radio station at Milton Bryan stood derelict for many years after the Second World War, but the main building, guard house, air raid bunker, and some of the living quarters still exist. There are still bars on the windows where German prisoners of war used to broadcast, and the remains of the blackout screens still hang over the windows.

    Secret
    The building is now being gradually renovated by the Ampthill and Woburn District Scouts, who use the surrounding land as a campsite. One of the old Nissen huts has been turned into a canteen, and the other into a toilet block. The side of the main building now has a climbing wall for abseiling!

    Milton Bryan

    The now overgrown guardhouse at the entrance to the site
    View the Milton Bryan photo gallery >>

    Although the work of Milton Bryan remained a secret for many years, the techniques the station pioneered are still being used today.

    In the recent Iraq war, US propaganda experts used modern technology to block official Iraqi government radio stations, and broadcast their own programmes of their own.

    Listen to their broadcasts
    Now for the first time since the Second World War, you can hear extracts from the the very last day of broadcasting from Milton Bryan on 30 August 1945, the day that Hitler committed suicide, and the day that Ravensbruck Concentration Camp was liberated by the Red Army.

    These audio clips come from Kurzwellesender Atlantik (Radio Programmes aimed at German U-boat crews operating in the Atlantic Ocean) and Soldatensender West (Radio Programmes aimed at German soldiers and civillians in Mainland Europe)

    audio Station Ident and Jazz Music
    (Jazz Music was frowned upon by the Nazis for being decadent)

    audio News of the final assault on Hitler's Bunker

    audio 'Marlene Dietrich' style German music
    audio News of Germany's surrender
    audio French Music
    (The French had been seen by the Nazis as a defeated nation)
    audioJewish Music
    (The Nazis viewed Jewish Music as abhorant)
    audioNews of Germany's collapse
    audioOne of the last times Milton Bryan pretended to be a German station
    audio German Waltz
    (Waltz music was especially popular with U-Boat crews)
    BBC download guide Free Real player

    Find out more about:

    Milton Bryan, and the secret war waged in the Three Counties

    Sefton Delmer, the man who made the radio shows

    Black propaganda and the work of Milton Bryan.

    Find out more about the Secret War that was fought around Milton Keynes.

    You can find more stories like this and add your own on the People's War Website.

    your comments

    Nigel Street, Northampton Thursday, 22-Apr-2004 13:28:59 BST
    Sadly, I too shall miss this very intersting broadcast. The subject matter is sure to be of interest to a wider audiance. Could this be repeated in some form or another on the evening regional programme?

    roger spear, kingston surrey Thursday, 22-Apr-2004 11:14:16 BST
    Very interesting and I look forward to hearing the programme.As a "radio amateur" (callsign G4BXM) and member of the Vintage and ~Military Amateur Radio Society"(VMARS) I have researched this subject and its connection with "Aspidistra" and have often wondered why it has never featured on mainstream TV for example,although I am sure Felix Delmer has things to say on that subject.Good Luck.

    Robert Connolly, Kilkeel, Co. Down Wednesday, 21-Apr-2004 20:18:23 BST
    Very interesting, pity the broadcast is regional and I will be unable to hear it here in N. Ireland to learn more about this aspect of wartime work. I have a special interest in this area as my late father was a naval Y service officer stationed at the Beaumanor radio intercept station.

    BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks replies: For anybody who cannot receive BBC Three Counties Radio, we will be adding audio clips of all the interviews from the broadcast to this page later on this afternoon.
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