Department Electra House

The recruiting of expert typographers and graphic artists caused a significant improvement in the quality of the work and printing was now carried out by the Sun Engraving Co. at Watford and also Waterlows at Dunstable, who were experts in photogravure. The employment of these facilities now allowed both the use of colour and the ability to reproduce photographs successfully. Also, engaged from the beginning of the war were the Luton based printers, Home Counties Newspapers and using their presses at Luton and Leagrave they were to make a substantial contribution.

Every day the print blocks would be collected from Woburn Abbey by car with the newspaper group’s original commission being for half tone and line blocks of print. The long hours of work ensured impressive results and soon
Two GI's loading a "Leaflet Bomb"
led to a request for a new weekly ‘white’ publication for distribution over France, the ‘Courier de L’Air’. Written in French the production took place at another printers by gravure with Luton News - as a part of the Home Counties Group - being awarded the typesetting contract. With the work completed in the evenings the text was set at four times normal size and the proofs were then reduced photographically. Eventually staff would be setting papers in five languages, requiring the use of two evening shifts to cope with the demand.

When necessary the printing talents could also be employed for a specialised one off production and the defection of Hess, in May, 1941, provided just such an
An engine from the aircraft piloted by Rudolf Hess to Scotland
occasion. Produced under conditions of the tightest security, faked versions of Voelkischer Beobachter were deliberately planted for him to read, having been produced – with suitably altered pages - at Luton News.
As well as printed propaganda the need also became apparent for the radio transmission of ‘black’ propaganda, in contrast to the white variety of the B.B.C. and this required the services of the 48 year old Colonel (Brigadier from 1943) Richard Gambier-Parry, an extrovert old Etonian. His was the task to set up and improve the S.I.S. radio communications and he therefore became responsible for providing transmitters for the black broadcast requirement.