Reporting Courage: The MI 7 Propaganda Machine

Hugh Colvin [“Tales of the V.C. “]. Contributed by Jeremy Arter to Available as CC BY-SA.

The archive Tales of the VC comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they can still move the reader. Authored by Lt James Price Lloyd, a War Office writer, many of the papers are stamped ‘MI 7(b)’ (part of the War Office, set up to work in the fields of propaganda and censorship). The articles are thought to be the sole remaining record of a propaganda operation that the War Office launched in response to the perceived threat that support for the war was waning and that revolution was in the air. The drafts of the articles show corrections, annotations, and censorship offering a unique insight into the propaganda machine at work.

In 1920 the entire archive of official MI 7(b) documents was destroyed by government order, and begs the question – if all their work was meant for publication, to rally the public in support, what was the secret that caused it to be shredded? Was the need for these tales of heroism and propaganda far greater than history may acknowledge?

The archive was submitted to the Europeana 1914-1918 initiative by Jeremy Arter and are available under CC-BY SA. Explore the collection using this interactive map – double click/pinch to zoom into the map, shift and double click to zoom out – click on the dots to display the tale of the VC linked to that location. Alternatively you can view the map on Google Maps which will display place names.

The visualisation shows the locations where actions took place to receive the Victoria Cross (previously done for the post For Valour: The Victoria Cross) together with data from the archive in Europeana 1914-1918. The dataset is available in our Github account, along with the KML file.

Cite : Reporting Courage: The MI 7 Propaganda Machine ( by Pat Lockley ( licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales (

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About Pat Lockley

I helped to develop this site's structure and elements of the theme. I worked to develop a series of visualisations and open data resources for this site and to help approach World War One from new perspectives More examples of my work exist on my website
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