Who we are History 1939 3 September 1939: War is declared. 4 September 1939: The first 200 bureaux open. From the start, volunteers run the service working from public buildings and private houses. Advisers deal with problems relating to the loss of ration books, homelessness and evacuation. They also help locate missing relatives and prisoners of war. Debt quickly becomes a key issue as income reduces due to call-ups.