Sunday Dispatch

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Corporal E. Hopwood of Acton, Wrexham, studies the Sunday Dispatch before voting in Egypt in the United Kingdom general election of 1945

The Sunday Dispatch was a prominent British newspaper, published between 27 September 1801 and 18 June 1961.[1][2] It was ultimately discontinued due to its merger with the Sunday Express.[3]


The newspaper was first published as the Weekly Dispatch in 1801. The name was changed to the Sunday Dispatch in 1928.

In 1903, the Newnes family sold the paper to Alfred Harmsworth and Lord Rothermere. The new owners then turned it around from bankruptcy and into the biggest selling Sunday newspaper in Britain at the time.[citation needed]

Due to editor Charles Eade's role as Press Liaison officer for Lord Mountbatten during World War II, distribution of the Dispatch was up from 800,000 to over 2 million copies per edition in 1947.[4]

In 1959, Eade and the editor of the Daily Sketch were fired due to a comment from Randolph Churchill that Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere was "pornographer royal" for his ownership of both the Daily Sketch and Sunday Dispatch.[5]

Under its last editor, Walter Hayes, the Dispatch still maintained pre-printed posters with the headline "CHURCHILL IS DEAD", in preparation of the death of Randolph Churchill's father Winston Churchill.[6]

In December 1960, the paper had a respectable circulation of 1,500,000 copies. Despite this, the Sunday Dispatch was merged with the Sunday Express in 1961.[7][8]

The Dispatch is prominently featured in Philip Norman's 1996 novel Everyone's Gone to the Moon. The novel is centered around the reporting of the British pop invasion of America in the 1960s.[9]

Famous stories and headlines[edit]

  • 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 & Wesson gun cartridge cases had provided the crucial evidence to convict car thieves Frederick Browne and Pat Kennedy of the murder.[10]
  • 1933 – published Harry Price's book Leaves From a Psychist's Case-Book in a series of 10 articles[11]
  • 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.[12] The first prize was 7 guineas and a basket of fruit.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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."[15] The counter article was co-written by the Reverend Marcus Morris, later founder of The Eagle comic[16]
  • 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.[17] The Dispatch later reported on the 1951 Mount Kilimanjaro incident[18] and the West Freugh Incident in April 1957[19][20]
  • June 1953 – serialisation of "The Rommel papers" edited by military historian Basil Liddell Hart.[21]
  • 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[22][23]
  • 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[24]
  • 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."[25]

Former journalists and editors[edit]


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



  1. ^ Concise History of the British Newspaper in the 19th Century: The British Library Newspaper Library Archived 2008-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Georgian Index – British Newspapers
  3. ^ "Merging of "Sunday Dispatch"". The Times. 19 June 1961. p. 6.
  4. ^ Popular Newspapers During World War II, Parts 1 to 5, 1939-1945
  5. ^ Greenslade, Roy (12 December 2000). "Can Desmond really make things OK! at the Express?". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ Peter Betts || Biography
  7. ^ "Sunday Paper Merger. "Dispatch" and "Express"". The Glasgow Herald. 12 June 1961. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  8. ^ DMGT, Rothermere and Northcliffe: landmarks Archived 2006-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (26 May 1996). "Yesterday's Papers". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Metropolitan Police Service – History of the Metropolitan Police Service
  11. ^ Writings by Harry Price – Introduction
  12. ^ Miss Great Britain
  13. ^
  14. ^ John Amery Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Faber, Michel (24 November 2006). "Review: Great British Comics by Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury". The Guardian. London.
  16. ^ a b The Eagle comic
  17. ^ case histories photo hoaxes
  18. ^ Globe In Transit
  19. ^ ufo - UFOS at close sight: The West Freugh Incident, 1957
  20. ^ "BRITAIN'S SECRET UFO FILES". Archived from the original on 2001-11-25.
  21. ^ Liddell Hart 9 Military writings; books, 1925-1970
  22. ^ House of Commons – Health – Minutes of Evidence
  23. ^ "Gallaher Group PLC - Corporate responsibility - government and society - Gallaher submission to the UK parliamentary health select committee - references". Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  24. ^ 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
  25. ^ The Scandal of Scientology / Chapter 15: Is Scientology Political?
  26. ^ Ursula Bloom (1892-1984) Archived 2013-12-28 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "The Press: The Promising Editor". Time. 9 November 1953. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  28. ^ Departments of Medieval and Modern History
  29. ^ Randolph's Resignation - TIME
  30. ^ Obituary: Alastair Forbes by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The Guardian, Friday 27 May 2005 |
  31. ^ "Aston Martin creator dies". BBC News. 27 December 2000.
  32. ^ News Shopper: About/Contact Us: Our History
  33. ^ "The Art of Donald McGill" | Nick Lewis: The Blog
  34. ^ Tidy, Bill
  35. ^ BBC - WW2 People's War - The Williams at War
  36. ^ "Ian Wooldridge - Obituaries, News -". London. Archived from the original on March 8, 2007.
  37. ^ David Butler and Anne Sloman. 'British Political Facts, 1900-1979. p. 445.
  38. ^ Joanne Shattock. The Cambridge bibliography of English Literature. Vol. 4. p. 2904.


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