Today it is very easy to find out what sort of weather has been forecast, whether it is for a day, or longer periods. UK and Australian farmers, fishermen and the general public did not have this luxury during World War 11
In the early days of the war in the UK, there was a limited one-day forecast issued by the Air Ministry who at that time were responsible for the Meteorological Bureau. However, it soon became apparent that clear skies were an open invitation for the Luftwaffe to attack and a complete ban was imposed on all plain language weather forecasts.
The harvest of 1942 was a critical factor in the outcome of the war, and it changed the farming scene in most parts of Britain. Pastures disappeared as land was ploughed and drained for cereal crops, much for the first time in history. Farmers needed to group together to provide sufficient labour for harvesting and to do this they had to have knowledge of future weather conditions for their area.
After much consultation the Air Ministry finally agreed to issue a daily weather forecast to assist farmers in providing food for the nation. A cypher message was passed through Ministry of Agriculture for a local War Agriculture member to decipher and pass a coded message on to farmers in his area.
A simple code was used. The message would begin with Pubulum (Latin for food for thought) followed by the name of the county and the further outlook and forecast words in sequence. The further outlook code word precedes the forecast code word. For example: ‘Pubulum Kent Buy Dog’ would mean ~ no rain in Kent during next 24 hours, low humidity and sunshine, with a further outlook of continuing settled or good weather for some time ahead.
The code names for the 24 hour forecasts were Dog, Horse, Cow, Sheep and Pig, and for further outlook forecasts Buy, Fat and Sell