WORLD WAR TWO ARMED SERVICES NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES

Recently, I was quite surprised to receive a request from the son of a German submariner asking if I had any WW2 British propaganda WAR magazines. Despite a search, I was at a loss to find any such material, especially material which could have been blatant propaganda.  Obviously, and how could I  miss the enormous pile of anti Nazis material which was both widely distributed within the UK as well as being dropped from the skies over German cities being attacked, I knew that German leaders were caricatured and ridiculed, and just as in WW1, the bestiality of the Hun was laid bare for all to see. I always thought that propaganda wasn't necessarily the truth, but a way of telling lies about the enemy and its abilities/capabilities designed to raise the morale of the gullible who implicitly believed every word written by their ever desperate and failing war leaders. The caricatures and the ridicule were just; very plausible and often portraying the truth, but the murderous treatment of the Eastern Europeans was known to be true, even by the Germans themselves, even though the immediate post war years suggested that only a handful had been Nazis and devotees of Hitler, with the majority either anti Nazi or ambivalent, and to be the latter in WW2 Germany was a crime in itself!

This German told me that U-Boats inter alia often receive literature from British sources, printed in England, telling them unequivocally what the Royal Navy were doing in prosecuting the war, which was seen by Germans as being proverbial propaganda, but manifestly not, for when I finally found what he was referring to, I noted that the source was a magazine designed to educate our allies, neutrals and our enemies in facts.  Facts may seem fanciful to an enemy and therefore construed to be lies and propaganda.

What I found was a magazine, published monthly, the first issue being April 1940, and I had come upon others, namely Number 22  and Number 25 etc. Each publication was  printed in four different languages, English, Spanish, Portuguese and German, although it is thought that this same magazine was jointly [month by month] printed in several other languages like Russian, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Italian and later Japanese and several others. They were published by The Continental Publishers and Distributors Limited of 16/17 William IV Street, London WC2 and printed by L.T.A. Robinson Ltd., London whose association is relevant in a moment or so.

This is the front cover of issue 22.

Note the four separate languages underneath the picture, but also note that on the top left hand side, in the published languages, that English, Spanish, Portuguese and German are catered for, and that on the top right hand side Number 22 is English, Numero 22 is both Spanish and Portuguese for 22 and Nummer 22 is German.

In a moment, I will show you the full contents of this magazine.

Before I do that, this is my experience when visiting the NAVAL HISTORY SITE for guidance.

Service Newspapers/ Magazines of WW2 for Sailor's, Soldiers and Airmen

On this site they don't even mention or recognise the magazine, except for one published for the British Mercantile Marine [Merchant Navy] in English only. That misses an important British way of communicating its maritime position, nothing short of a gaffe.

Moreover, in the left hand column of the above URL, viz 'INTRODUCTION', the author states, in his first paragraph, that  there were few purely Royal Navy papers/magazines, and misses out the R.N. Magazine called "The Dittybox", which was published monthly from 1944 until 1949 and was a very popular Magazine. Of importance it was published by the H.M.S.O. and printed by the same firm as that used to print the 'Neptune' Magazine, namely L.T.A. Robinson Ltd, London. This company printed many R.N., documents all of them designed to boost the morale of the Royal Navy. The NAVY HISTORY site appears to have missed them!

Once again, I will publish THE DITTYBOX No 29 dated November 1946 so that you can get a feel for the first ever "The Navy's Own Magazine" which had a monthly cost of 6d = 2½p today, or accepted an annual subscription of 8 shillings including postage = 40p. The Magazine states:

Copyright Reserved
Published for the Admiralty by His Majesty's Stationary Office
London 1946
S.O. Code No 72-13-11-46
Printed by L.T.A. Robinson Ltd. London.

This is the front cover

The German enquirer will see the answer to his question here, and who knows, he might try and source a copy or copies of the almost international NEPTUNE magazine of WW2. However, I wonder if he will consider it [or them] as propagation material.  I certainly don't! Like the Dittybox Magazine, it would have been nice to see both on the Naval History page.

Now, re-live a bit of history by viewing examples of each magazine.

First the NAVY'S OWN WW2 NEWSPAPER THE DITTY BOX
NB. A large files @ 58 Megs
DITTYBOX MAGAZINE.pdf

And finally, the NEPTUNE MAGAZINE
in English, Portuguese, Spanish and German.

WW2 NEPTUNE MAGAZINE.pdf