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Sunday Dispatch

British Forces in the Middle East, 1945: Before voting at a tented polling station close to the pyramids, Corporal E Hopwood of 10 Maple Avenue, Acton, Wrexham, studies the Sunday Dispatch newspaper lead article on how the two main parties, Conservative and Labour, are faring in the run up to polling day (United Kingdom general election, 1945).

The Sunday Dispatch was a British newspaper, published between 27 September 1801 and 18 June 1961,[1][2] when it was merged with the Sunday Express.[3] Until 1928, it was called the Weekly Dispatch.


  • History 1
  • Famous stories and headlines 2
  • Former journalists and editors 3
  • Editors 4
  • References 5
    • Bibliography 5.1


First published as the Weekly Dispatch in 1801, it was bought by Alfred Harmsworth and Lord Rothermere in 1903[4] from the Newnes family.[5] The pair turned the newspaper around from bankruptcy, and made it the biggest selling Sunday newspaper, changing its name to the Sunday Dispatch in 1928.

As editor Charles Eade had served as Press Liaison officer for Lord Mountbatten during World War II, distribution was up from 800,000 to over 2 million copies per edition in 1947.[6]

In light of comment from Randolph Churchill that Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere was "pornographer royal" for his ownership of the Daily Sketch and Sunday Dispatch, Rothermere fired both Eade and the editor of the Daily Sketch in 1959.[7] Under its last editor Walter Hayes, it still had pre-printed posters with the headline "CHURCHILL IS DEAD," in preparation of the death of his father Winston Churchill[8]

In an era when other papers such as the News Chronicle, the Empire News and the Sunday Graphic were rapidly falling to the influence of television, the Sunday Dispatch ceased publication in 1961.[9]

The possible late 1960s Dispatch was the fictional setting of Philip Norman's 1996 novel Everyone's Gone to the Moon about reporting in the British pop-invasion of America in the 1960s.[10]

Famous stories and headlines

  • September 1927 - In light of the trial verdict of the murder of PC Gutteridge of the Metropolitan Police, the headline read "Hanged by a microscope." An early case of ballistics science, it reflected the fact that microscopic examination of the Smith and Wesson gun cartridge cases had provided the crucial evidence to convict car thieves Frederick Browne and Pat Kennedy of the murder.[11]
  • 1933 - published Harry Price's book "Leaves From a Psychist's Case-Book" in a series of 10 articles.[12]
  • 1945 - the first Miss Great Britain contest was held by Morecambe and Heysham Council in association with the Dispatch, which as a preliminary to the personal appearance heats at Morecambe, photographic heats held in the newspaper attracted contestant from all over the country.[13] The first prize was 7 guineas and a basket of fruit.[14]
  • 2 December 1945 - broke news that British spy John Amery was dying of Tuberculosis. A post mortem revealed after his conviction and execution for high treason that he had not been suffering from the disease.[15]
  • 13 February 1949 - in light of the importation of American "dark humour" comics, the headline read: "Horror has crept into the British nursery. Morals of little girls in plaits and boys with marbles bulging in their pockets are being corrupted by a torrent of indecent coloured magazines that are flooding bookstalls and newsagents."[16] The counter article was co-written by the Reverend Marcus Morris, later founder of "The Eagle" comic[17]
  • 1950 - in late summer, the Dispatch was partly responsible for launching the Flying Saucer debate in the UK, when in a circulation battle with the Sunday Express. Both papers competed to serialise the seminal books by Major Donald Keyhoe Flying Saucers are Real, Frank Scully’s Behind the Flying Saucers and Gerald Heard's Riddle of the Flying Saucers. Eade had been encouraged to promote ‘flying saucer’ stories by his friend Lord Mountbatten whom he had served as Press officer during the Second World War.[18] The Dispatch later reported on the 1951 Mount Kilimanjaro incident[19] and the West Freugh Incident in April 1957[20][21]
  • June 1953 - serialisation of "The Rommel papers" edited by military historian Basil Liddell Hart.[22]
  • 25 April 1954 - the headline read "Doctor's Journal Launches a Startling Campaign - Smoking sensation - MP Urges Ban On Manufacture Of Cigarettes As Move Against Cancer Peril" on the risks of smoking and lung cancer. The article was later cited in 2000 by Gallaher Tobacco to the UK Parliamentary Health select committee showing that such risks had been known for some while[23][24]
  • 1954 - broke the story that racing driver Mike Hawthorn was not called up for National Service because he cited that he was not in the country, while actually he was.[25]
  • 1959 - exposed a story about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, where he sold shares at $65 each in a company that didn't exist. Hubbard apologised, and returned all monies, allegedly commenting: "It's lucky the police did not become involved, otherwise something most unpleasant might have happened."[26]

Former journalists and editors


1801: Robert Bell
1815: George Kent
1816: Robert Bell
1818: Williams
1838: Joseph Wrightson
1856: Sydney French
1862: T. J. Serle
1875: Ashton Wentworth Dilke
1876: Fox Bourne
1883: W. A. Hunter
1892: Frank Smith
1895: Charles John Tibbits
1903: Evelyn Wrench
1911: Monatagu Cotton
1915: Hannen Swaffer
1919: Bernard Falk
1933: Harry Lane
1934: William Brittain
1936: Collin Brooks
1938: Charles Eade
1959: Bert Gunn

Source: [38] [39]


  1. ^ Concise History of the British Newspaper in the 19th Century: The British Library Newspaper Library
  2. ^ Georgian Index - British Newspapers
  3. ^ "Merging of "Sunday Dispatch"".  
  4. ^ Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere
  5. ^
  6. ^ Popular Newspapers During World War II, Parts 1 to 5, 1939-1945
  7. ^ Greenslade, Roy (12 December 2000). "Can Desmond really make things OK! at the Express?". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ Peter Betts || Biography
  9. ^ DMGT, Rothermere and Northcliffe: landmarks
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (26 May 1996). "Yesterday's Papers". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Metropolitan Police Service - History of the Metropolitan Police Service
  12. ^ Writings by Harry Price - Introduction
  13. ^ Miss Great Britain
  14. ^
  15. ^ John Amery
  16. ^ Faber, Michel (24 November 2006). "Review: Great British Comics by Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury". The Guardian (London). 
  17. ^ a b The Eagle comic
  18. ^ case histories photo hoaxes
  19. ^ Globe In Transit
  20. ^ ufo - UFOS at close sight: The West Freugh Incident, 1957
  21. ^
  22. ^ Liddell Hart 9 Military writings; books, 1925-1970
  23. ^ House of Commons - Health - Minutes of Evidence
  24. ^
  25. ^ Mike Hawthorn's Tribute Site - the story of Mike and National (Compulsory Military) Service - and how he managed to intentionally avoid it. During the enforcement period, 2.5 million young men did their time for National Service with around 6,000 called up every month. The disruption caused by national service to young lives was major
  26. ^ The Scandal of Scientology / Chapter 15: Is Scientology Political?
  27. ^ Ursula Bloom (1892-1984)
  28. ^ "The Press: The Promising Editor". Time. 9 November 1953. 
  29. ^ Departments of Medieval and Modern History
  30. ^ Randolph's Resignation - TIME
  31. ^ Obituary: Alastair Forbes by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The Guardian, Friday 27 May 2005 |
  32. ^ "Aston Martin creator dies". BBC News. 27 December 2000. 
  33. ^ News Shopper: About/Contact Us: Our History
  34. ^ "The Art of Donald McGill" | Nick Lewis: The Blog
  35. ^ Tidy, Bill
  36. ^ BBC - WW2 People's War - The Williams at War
  37. ^ ""Ian Wooldridge - Obituaries, News - . London. 
  38. ^ David Butler and Anne Sloman. 'British Political Facts, 1900-1979. p. 445. 
  39. ^ Joanne Shattock. The Cambridge bibliography of English Literature 4. p. 2904. 


  • N.J.Crowson - Fleet Street, Press Barons and Politics Cambridge University Press/Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-521-66239-7
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