February 27, 1944: the BBC General Forces Programme is launched

The BBC General Forces Programme was a BBC radio station from February 27, 1944 until December 31, 1946.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, the BBC closed the existing BBC National Programme and BBC Regional Programme, combining the two to form a single channel known as the BBC Home Service.

The former transmitters of the National Programme continued to broadcast the Home Service until 1940, when the lack of choice and lighter programming for people serving in the Armed Forces was noted. At that point, some frequencies were given to a new entertainment network, the BBC Forces Programme.

The BBC Forces Programme was replaced when the influx of American soldiers, used to a different style of entertainment programming, had to be catered for in the run up to D-Day. The replacement service was named the BBC General Forces Programme and was also broadcast on shortwave on the frequencies of the BBC Empire Service (itself reborn after the war as the BBC General Overseas Service and now known as the BBC World Service).

After VE-Day, the British long wave frequencies of the General Forces Programme became the BBC Light Programme on July 29, 1945. The service continued broadcasting by short wave to areas that were still seeing fighting, and after VJ-Day to occupying forces in each former occupied and enemy country.

As Britain began to disengage from each fighting area and civilian rule was restored and the soldiers demobbed, the reason for the existence of the General Forces Programme faded. In each area it was slowly replaced by the BBC General Overseas Service until complete closure on December 31, 1946.



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