News - Invasion of Poland

Newsreader Lionel Marson announces that Germany has invaded Poland and the armed forces in Britain and France have been mobilised in response. Many Polish towns have been bombed and Danzig (Gdansk) has fallen under German control. Translated excerpts from Hitler's proclamation to German citizens are also read out, revealing his objectives and his view of recent negotiations for a settlement.

In London preparations for war continue; Queen Elizabeth, consort to HRH King George VI, visits the Women's Voluntary Service, while the evacuation of children gets under way. The bulletin also includes an appeal for all emergency services personnel to report for duty immediately. Picture shows Lionel Marson, who served in the army.

During the war, BBC news bulletins were heavily relied upon, both at home and in occupied Europe, as a source of accurate information. Newsreaders often started a bulletin by giving their names so that audiences would come to recognise their voices and know it was a genuine BBC broadcast. The announcement about changing wavelengths refers to the fact that domestic broadcasting was going to be restricted to one wavelength only (called the Home Service). Therefore, if one transmitter had to be shut down - to avoid accidentally guiding German bombers to their targets - others would be able to take over.

↗ Originally broadcast 1 September 1939.

News - Hitler defies final warning
World War Two - Outbreak, 1939
War and Conflict