Impossible to tell how many men of the B.E.F. have really been repatriated, but statements appearing in various papers suggest that it is about 150,000 and that the number that originally advanced into Belgium was about 300,000. No indication as to how many French troops were with them. There are hints in several papers that it may be intended to hang onto Dunkirk instead of evacuating it completely. This would seem quite impossible without tying down a great number of aeroplanes to that one spot. But if 150,000 have really been removed, it will presumably be possible to remove large numbers more. Italy’s entry into the war is now predicted to give it a pretext….. General expectation that some attempt will now be made to invade England, if only as a diversion while Germany and Italy endeavour to polish off France… The possibility of a landing in Ireland is evidently believed in by many people including de Valera[1]. This idea has barely been mentioned until the last few days, although it was an obvious one from the start.

The usual Sunday crowds drifting to and fro, perambulators, cycling clubs, people exercising dogs, knots of young men loitering at street corners, with not an indication in any face or in anything that one can overhear that these people grasp that they are likely to be invaded within a few weeks, though today all the Sunday papers are telling them so. The response to renewed appeals for evacuation of children from London has been very poor. Evidently the reasoning is, “The air raids didn’t happen last time, so they won’t happen this time.” Yet these people will behave bravely enough when the time comes, if only they are told what to do.

Rough analysis of advertisements in today’s issue of the People:-[2]

Paper consists of 12 pages – 84 columns. Of this, just about 26½ columns (over ¼) is advertisements. These are divided up as follows:

Food and drink: 5¾ columns

Patent medicines: 9 and a third.

Tobacco: 1

Gambling: 2 and a third.

Clothes: 1½

Miscellaneous: 6¾

Of 9 food and drink adverts, 6 are for unnecessary luxuries. Of 29 adverts for medicines, 19 are for things which are either fraudulent (baldness cured etc.), more or less deleterious (Kruschen Salts, Bile Beans etc.), or of the blackmail type (“Your child’s stomach needs magnesia”). Benefit of doubt has been allowed in the case of a few medicines. Of 14 miscellaneous adverts, 4 are soap, 1 for cosmetics, 1 for a holiday resort and 2 are government advertisements, including a large one for national savings. Only 3 adverts in all classes are cashing in on the war.

[1] Eamon de Valera (1882-1975), Irish political leader, was at this time Prime Minister of the Irish Free State. He became its president in 1959.

[2] A popular Sunday newspaper. Peter Davison

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5 Responses to 2.6.40

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Impossible to tell how of B.E.F. have really been repatriated. Seems 150,000 out of 300,000 that advanced into Belgium. -- Topsy.com

  2. If the first few lines of para 2 are anything to go by we’re at long last starting to write like we know we can!!!
    Now just keep it up, George.

  3. BobRocket says:

    I wonder if the three adverts ‘cashing in on the war’ were

    1. Free range eggs – buy now before rationing starts (Food and drink)
    2. Four to one on – the Germans will invade before June 12th (Gambling)
    3. WW1 tank for sale (spares or repairs) – club together and protect your community (Miscellaneous)

  4. Barry Larking says:

    Files relating to contacts between the Irish Free State and Germany during 1940-45 have been sealed by the Public Records Office. These, it may be sumised, include decrypts of diplomatic cables by Bletchley Park.

  5. Pingback: 1.7.40 « THE ORWELL PRIZE

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