London: Ministry of Information, 1941. First edition. Leaflet. "If invasion comes, everyone - young or old, men and women - will be eager to play their part worthily." This wartime leaflet is a tangible reminder that, in the early days of 1941, the outcome of the war was not a foregone conclusion and Britain's peril was quite real. The leaflet provides instructions from the Ministry of Information and Prime Minister Winston Churchill regarding what to do in case of invasion. Measuring 11 inches by 8.25 inches, the leaflet is printed on both sides of a thin, single sheet of paper.
On March 10, 1941, at the request of the Ministry of Information, Churchill wrote the introduction to this leaflet. His introduction takes up two-thirds of the first page. After sober consideration of the timing and effect of such a message to the British people, the War Cabinet decided on April 24, 1941 to print more than 14 million copies and distribute the leaflet to all British households. Today these leaflets are scarce. In his Bibliography, Ronald Cohen writes: "The huge print run might leave one with the impression that the leaflet would be commonly found today. It was, however, only a leaflet anticipating an event that never came to pass. Few copies have survived."
Here is a very good plus, notably clean and complete example for collectors. The paper suffers no losses, no spotting, and no soiling. We note only a very faint "5591" in pencil to the blank bottom margin of the verso which we have not attempted to erase. Searching for flaws, we observe truly trivial wear along the left edge. The age-toning is moderate and uniform. The only creasing marks noted are the customary horizontal and vertical folds, but this copy must have been long stored flat, as the original folds are faint. There is slight wear and creasing along the top edge. Not quite fine, but certainly a collector-worthy copy of this fragile and compelling bit of wartime history.
Reference: Cohen B76, Woods A69. Item #003958