HC Deb 16 July 1941 vol 373 c577
12. Sir Cooper Rawson

asked the Minister of Information why the name of the gunner on a ship belonging to the local electricity authority of a South Coast town who brought down a German aircraft into the sea should be suppressed, as information such as this increases the morale of the public, and affords satisfaction to the gunner and his parents and to the inhabitants of the town?

The Minister of Information (Mr. Duff Cooper)

There is no reason why the name of a gunner concerned in such an incident should be suppressed, provided that the story in which he figures is not itself held up for security reasons. In the present case the whole story of the attack was stopped for the time being in order to prevent the enemy getting any accurate report as to its results. The story and the name are now released.

Sir C. Rawson

Why cannot news about incidents of this sort be released at once instead of having to wait for months? Is it not better to publish good news of this sort rather than to broadcast news of coming events which do not materialise?

Captain John Dugdale

Will the Minister consider adopting the course followed by our Russian Allies in publishing the names of officers and men who have undertaken acts of gallantry and referring to those specific acts as often as possible, so as to encourage the morale of the troops?

Mr. Cooper

The name of this man has been published. As I have already explained, the general rule is not to publish information which can be of value to the enemy as long as it can be of value.

Sir C. Rawson

How could it have been of value to the enemy when the pilot of the Messerschmitt was under the sea? Would it not have been all to our advantage to publish it?