Anglo American co-operation

Given the title 'Head of the Political Mission', from 1942 until 1944, David Bowes Lyon represented P.W.E. in Washington and at the preparation for his departure important questions would be directed to Leeper. As for lesser matters, 'Daytime affairs to stooge'! The Americans were in fact well briefed by P.W.E. and around 1943 British broadcasts in Japanese began once a week, from San Francisco. From mid 1942, representatives of the American equivalent had begun weekly meetings with P.W.E. in London, to discuss matters of common interest and during August, members then went to Woburn to study the methods of leaflet production.

Printing facilities
Operating from Marylands, as the kingpin of the P.W.E. printing operations Harold Keeble, from the Daily Express, by 1943 had some 50 versions of leaflets a month being produced, in 10 languages, at a cost of £9 million. Some examples were single sheet, others 4 colour photogravure and the more elaborate productions could be up to 48 page booklets. In fact P.W.E. perfected the art of producing miniature magazines and books, one example being that which contained Churchill's speeches, reduced to the size of a lady's folded handkerchief. Apart from Le Courier de LAir, the French material also included La Revue de la Presse Libre. Suitable leaflets advertised the black broadcast stations whilst fake issues of the German
army news sheet, Skorpion West, were also made. Even more devious, the British took to dropping forged ration cards which, in 1943, caused the German authorities great confusion. Another ploy, that greatly assisted the aircrews involved, was the release of radar blinding 'Window', printed to appear as propaganda leaflets and so disguise their true purpose.

Whenever new P.W.E. operations were planned, those propaganda staff involved were 'ticketed', that is formally cautioned by the security officer and given a special card. No discussion of the operation could then be held with anyone unable to produce a similar card. Colonel Chambers was P.W.E'.s elderly security officer and also the liaison with MI5 and at Milton Bryan one serious incident he had to deal with occured in March, 1943, when the police brought in a wallet found at The Swan, Aspley Guise. Amongst the contents were a pass to 'Simpsons' and letters mentioning Leeper and Ingrams.

As a general rule, propagandists enjoyed no formal instruction although personnel selected for fieldwork by the P.W.E. and S.O.E. underwent some specialised training at a school near Woburn. Instructed by P.W.E. and S.O.E. officers, the course covered aspects to include intelligence, broadcasting, leaflet writing and printing, thereby preparing the agents for their role as organisers or active propagandists, when smuggled or dropped into occupied countries.

Principally through the means of oral propaganda and the writing of leaflets, for local printing, they were assigned to feed the clandestine press, supplied with material from Britain dropped in containers. As a further means of creating havoc in the occupied countries, Churchill, after reading a John Steinbeck novel, had decided a small and easily hidden incendiary device, for use by agents, would be a worthwhile addition. Yet Bomber Harris refused the request that the R.A.F. should drop the device and so S.O.E. allowed Delmer to have them. He planned for around 25000 of them to be dropped every night by American Flying Fortresses on leaflet raids and included were leaflets printed with instructions on how to use them, for foreign workers. At The Rookery Delmer had tried one of the devices on the lawn and having been warned by S.O.E. that they might be 'stale' he then found this out. Even when he put it on the fire it didn't burn! However, the overall plan worked and created suspicion against the foreign workers. S.O.E. agents also planted fake notices in German passenger trains urging passengers to search for these devices under the seats and by ripping out suspect fittings.
Le Courrier De L' Air
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