Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s vicious attack on Ed Miliband’s war veteran father has given rise to collective head scratching at how his own journalist dad, Peter Dacre, managed to avoid the draft in Wold War II. With Sunday Express reporters hardly a vital component of the war effort, Scrapbook reckons his sometime role as personal assistant to Lord Beaverbrook provides a more likely explanation.
Born in 1925, Peter Dacre was 14 at the outbreak of the war but would have been eligible for conscription by his birthday on 8 June 1943, with nearly two years of European hostilities left to run. By this point the bar on 18 year-olds serving overseas had been lifted — meaning that Dacre Snr would have been eligible to serve alongside Ralph Miliband in the Normandy Landings. Peter Dacre wasn’t in the list of conscription exemptions and we know of no medical condition which would disbar him.*
Around this period, however, Dacre Snr had served as a personal assistant to Express proprietor Lord Beaverbrook, who just happened to hold a number of war ministries under Winston Churchill and who was lord privy seal — the fifth of the great officers of state — from 1943 when Peter Dacre became eligible for the draft.
So did Beaverbrook use his political clout to keep Peter Dacre out of harm’s way?
*If you know otherwise then get in touch.