Ministry of War Transport

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Ministry of War Transport
Department overview
Formed1 May 1941 (1941-05-01)
Preceding agencies
DissolvedApril 1946
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Government of the United Kingdom
Ministers responsible
Department executive

The Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) was a department of the British Government formed early in the Second World War to control transportation policy and resources. It was formed by merging the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Transport, bringing responsibility for both shipping and land transport to a single department, and easing problems of co-ordination of transport in wartime.


The MoWT was founded on 1 May 1941, when Lord Leathers was appointed Minister of War Transport. Following the general election of July 1945, Alfred Barnes was appointed Minister of War Transport, [1] remaining in the post after the department was renamed the Ministry of Transport in April 1946.


The jurisdiction of the MoWT covered all forms of transportation and it inherited numerous and varied responsibilities from its parent organisations. From the Ministry of Shipping these included: [2]

In 1942 new divisions were created responsible for ship repairs and concerned with statistics and intelligence. After the end of the war in May 1945, those divisions not dissolved or absorbed by other divisions, gradually assumed duties in connection with peacetime shipping policy.

From the Ministry of Transport it inherited responsibility for all of Britain's roads, railways, canals and ports, and included:

The Middle East Supply Center was an Anglo-American agency that had complete control over the flow of civilian supplies to the Middle East during the war. It was created by the British in April 1941 [13] starting in Egypt, Palestine and Syria, reporting to the Ministry of War Transport. [13]

See also

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  1. "List of Ministers (WWII)". The National Archives . 2012. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  2. "Records inherited and created by the Ministry of Transport, Shipping Divisions". The National Archives. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  3. Vickers, Hugo (29 April 2003). "Obituary: Max Nicholson – Environmentalist of rare vision". The Independent . London. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  4. Admiralty, Great Britain (July 1946). "Ministry of Transport:Sea Transport Department". The Navy List. London, England: HM Stationery Office. p. 1790.
  5. "History and Functions of The Sea Transport Services". The National Archives. 2012. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 "MT 59 : Shipping Control and Operation". The National Archives. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
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  8. Buttle, Geoffrey William (2008). A signal failure? The organisation and management of British railways 1948–1964 (PhD). Durham University. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Records inherited and created by the Ministry of Transport, Road Safety and Vehicle Regulation Divisions and successors". The National Archives. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  10. 1 2 "Records inherited and created by the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Highways Divisions and successors". The National Archives. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  11. "Records of the Marine, Harbour and Fisheries Departments". The National Archives. 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  12. "Coastguard History". Swanage Coastguard Online. 2012. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Middle East Supply Center (MESC)".