The fifth of the BBC radio Postscripts is the first in which J.B. Priestley, gently and with good humour, criticised aspects of government handling of the War.
A drunken man had been fined fifteen shillings for singing Rule Britannia! in the street after the air-raid warning had sounded. Priestley could not help sympathising with this man against the “official and important personages” who were giving people orders but keeping them in the dark about the progress of the war.
He reflected on “Two Ton Annie”, whom he had written about during the early days of the war. She was being evacuated to an Isle of Wight hospital and, despite her illness, was “a roaring and indomitable old lioness”, livening up everyone she met on her journey. He felt that this quality was what Britain needed now: “It isn’t woolly, pussy-footed officialdom that will win this war, but the courage, endurance and rising spirits of the British people”.
This piece reminds me that alongside Priestley’s busy broadcasting schedule, he was writing many newspaper and magazine articles. The item about “Two Ton Annie” had been published in the News Chronicle on 4 September. He also wrote for Picture Post, the Sunday Express, The Times, Answers, London Calling, The Listener, the New Statesman …
This image is from Reynolds News, for which he wrote several pieces around the time of the Postscripts. Special Collections at Bradford holds a complete set, including regional editions, of this publication.
We do not (yet) have copies of all Priestley’s wartime writings, but most of these publications can be accessed via the British Library. Alan Day’s bibliography of Priestley offers a comprehensive list.