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Duration 01:05:56

Using the 1939 Register: Recording the UK population before the war

The preparations had been made well in advance. Now Britain was at war, and as the uniformed army prepared to face the enemy, a civilian army was mobilised at home. National Registration Officers, registrars, and 65,000 enumerators set about the huge task of registering every man, woman and child in a single weekend. It all went remarkably smoothly. This is the story of the 1939 Register for England and Wales, how it was taken, and what happened next.

This talk is also available as a webinar.



  1. Jan Coward says:

    The TNA link to your talk, shared today via Anglo-Celtic Connections, John Reid, Ottawa, On, Ca.
    Very informative presentation & the speaker very entertaining.
    Living in Canada, & born post WW2, I have never seen a ration or identity card so thanks for including that.
    I have watched Home Fires & appreciate your clarifying its authenticity.
    I have yet to use the 1939 Registry, but undoubtedly will. My four maiden aunts, (maiden due largely to the aftermath of WW1), are likely each living in separate households, in service…My purpose will to be to get those snapshots of their circumstances between the 1911 C, & their death details.
    Just pointing out that when your talk is put on the web, your audience becomes far more inclusive than those sitting in front of you. Therefore, no matter the seemingly “what ought to be obvious”, there are many of us who did not share this 1939 UK experience though location or time-frame, & we value the added details of info you have clarified & shared.
    Thank you.

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