'If the Invader Comes' Leaflet - June, 1940
With fears of an invasion looming, this leaflet was issued by the Ministry of Information in co-operation with the War Office and the Ministry of Home Security, on 18th June, 1940. Over the next three days, fifteen million copies were distributed, supported by a publicity campaign.
It contains seven ‘rules’ about the way civilians should behave if faced with an invasion. However, some of the instructions are unclear or contradictory and further leaflets were distributed to clarify these points, notably “Stay Where You Are” in July, 1940, and “Beating the Invader” in May, 1941.
In general terms the seven rules are:
- Stay put. (Efforts to defend France and Belgium were hampered by huge numbers of refugees which blocked roads and made military movements difficult).
- Do not believe rumours or spread them.
- If you see anything suspicious, report it to the authorities.
- Don’t give the invaders anything. Hide food, petrol and bicycles. Disable cars and motorcycles when not in use (no information is given on how to do this).
- Be ready to help the military in any way.
- Factories and shops must “organise some system by which a sudden attack can be resisted”. Little guidance is given on how this should be done.
- “Think before you act. But think of your country before you think of yourself.”
The original recipient of this copy was Mr. L. Ridley, of Upper Selsdon Rd, Sanderstead. It comes from the collection of Robin Grainger.