The Censor's Pencil.

Discussion in 'General' started by von Poop, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Censored images with evidence of cropping etc. are interesting.
    Sometimes obviously hiding a tactical or strategic detail. Sometimes changing the 'message'.

    'Let's not think about the smashed buildings; focus on what those bastards might do to your car.':

    BOMB DAMAGE: 1944

    6th Gds. Churchills & AA:
    Cropped purely for artistic impression, or to hide the AA Crusader or some other detail?


    Negative obliterated.
    Focus on the child. 'Why we fight'...

    'Don't photograph maps, you silly sods.':

    German censor wanted something removed:

    Too much sky!
    And, I suppose, identifiable features.

    God knows!
    Boomish defence maybe.

    (BTW - type 'negative' into IWM collections for some odd & interesting pictures.)
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  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Anytime the word Censor is mentioned I always think of what he did to my friend Lew Fox's letter home !
    Lew & the Censor.JPG
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  3. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Please forgive me for drifting a little way 'off-topic' but your post reminded me of 2 examples of self-censorship from my mum & dads WW2 stuff.

    Imagine this, mum pulls out a photo to send to dad and starts writing "Dear Tadpole".


    Quickly realising that this might cause embarrassment if his mates see it, she first tries to rub it out, then cross it out. Finally she rejects the photo and it was never sent. (I only discovered this photo a couple of days before mum's funeral. As I told the assembled congregation about this newly discovered pet name for my dad, I'm sure I heard a little heavenly voice say "Doh!").

    This extract is from a letter dad wrote to another soldier.


    A few years after the war, dad was now a family man having produced 2 sprogs. He must have re-read this letter at some stage and used a blue Biro to sensor his own letter. The word he scrubbed out is "piss".
  4. HA96

    HA96 Member

    Just another thought,
    I know for sure, censors in OFLAG Vb were checking each other and were risking punishment for overlooking naughty stuff,

  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'm sure this was on some other site, but this is the only link I can find for now, (vaguely recal it being bigger elsewhere so possibly cropped much later to this version)
    New book examines tragic impact of the Belfast Blitz

    A/A emplacement, Belfast, 1939:
  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 18.59.47.png
    Aberdeen Press and Journal 23rd August 1945
    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 19.09.24.png
    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 19.09.43.png
    Birmingham Mail 1st November 1940, story published alongside a permitted photograph of bomb damage
    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 19.10.19.png
    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 19.15.28.png
    Scotsman 18th June 1940
    Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 19.18.26.png
    Marylebone Mercury 5th August 1944
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  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Something secret being hidden?
    Spitfires? Not to be mentioned?
    (No idea what the 'color' is. Maybe a colour image available instead, or colour printed monochrome for a quick check.)

  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    Seafires were still pretty new at that time, weren't they? That's Operation Torch, I think. Maybe the Germans hadn't seen them yet.
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  9. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    The sensor failed himself, three of them at the end of the aircraft carriers with engines running.

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  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Sometime it was easier to supply cards to the services without worrying about censoring all you could put on was your first name.

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  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Assuming real colour (on the phone & can't face the rigmarole of triple checking that's now required. Looks right.), That's rather splendid.
    So the 'color' on some shots in the IWM uncaptioned area quite possibly does indicate composition proofs. Expensive &, more importantly, awkward business to print in colour, but you can still bang out a quick monochrome print.
  13. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Delete as applicable!
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  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I assume the question needs asking of Wiki - the cropped colour photo does not really show any Seafires except as bofors mentions those right at the far end of the carrier which can't really be seen in the colour cropped picture [except with a magnifying glass and expert knowledge].

    So Wiki why are you showing a picture that doesnt show Seafires on a Wiki page entitled Supermarine Seafires ??????

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  15. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Very interesting editorial on censorship and reporting of Dover at war.
    Dover Express 30th August 1940
    Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 09.24.51.png
    Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 09.25.46.png

    H.P. ANDREWS ACME Staff photographer in England, perched high on a Dover rooftop with camera ready to catch some of the dramatic action along England's south east coast.
    1st October 1940

    Andrews Dover.jpeg
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  16. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member Patron

    Love that story.Gives such personal insights.
  17. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Do you know how Wikipedia works?
    Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a reliable source - Wikipedia
    Reliability of Wikipedia - Wikipedia
  18. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Surely the three on the left have been 'removed' because the identification numbers/codes are visible (no such thing as pixelation in those analogue days!)
  19. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Yes, I should say that I don't know who censored my dad's letter, but I have a number of reasons to think it was done by him, post-WW2.

    The letters I have seen that bear the mark of the official censor appear to have been either obliterated by (what looks like) black ink applied via a small paint brush, or red ink where comments are possibly contentious (e.g. in one of dad's letters he says "...until victory is announced..." and the censor has put a red blob over "is" (but its still readable).

    In dad's letter in my earlier post, the word "piss" has been crossed out using a blue ball-point pen. I seem to have been surrounded by Bic-Biros as a child in the 1950/60s, but as far as I know, the László József Bíró ballpoint pen didn't go into production until after WW2.

    Dad didn't use or allow the use of colourfull language in our house (he would occassionally exclaim "bugger!" or "bloody!" but I think he considered them part of the English language).

    When dad was 65 his mother died, and he discovered her marriage certificate. He was very upset to discover his parents were married in the same month as he was born, so he tried to obliterate the date.

    So to quote The Sweeney, "he's got previous".
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  20. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    This note of my fathers when “Browned off” in desert with 5 RHA.

    It may have past the censor but got back to his OC via Eighth Army Journal ,who then gave him a right “rolloking”.

    Of course our letters were censored, you wrote on one

    side of the paper and having passed the censor it was photographed

    reduced in size and sent on. But once a month you had a green envelope

    that we could send home direct without censor.

    I directed one of mine to the Eighth Army Journal.

    ”What about the Officers’ who go and have a bath at Mena,

    What about us supposed to be having a high old time, the chinking of wine glasses and dancing girls in Cairo what if our wives hear it

    and what about the echelon whallas getting all the troop comforts and what about us

    running round the gun site picking up paper the last of the RHA bullshit.

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