LAST MONTHS RAIDS ON MERSEYSIDE
NEW DETAILS ON DAMAGE
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HOMELESS
It is now possible to reveal further details on the concentrated attack by the Luftwaffe on Merseyside on the nights of the 12-13 and 13-14 of March when casualties in this area were about 500 killed and 500 seriously injured. material damage was considerable.
The civil defence sevices were severely tested, and came through the ordeal with flying colours
March 12th was the "hottest" night Merseyside experienced since the three day blitz in December and, incidentially it was the first occasion on which the Luftwaffe had chosen the full moon period for a concentrated offensive, the half moon phases having been the favourite times in the past.
In view of the sharp lesson taught them, they are not likely to risk losing such a high portion of planes in night operations again-- the number of aircraft shot down by night fighters and anti-aircraft batteries being the greatest ever achieved up to that date in the night onslaughts on Britian. Even London defences could not better our achievements to date.
SOME SERIOUS FIRES
Liverpool escaped comparatively lightly but even so thousands of incendaries were dropped there were some serious fires in the commercial areas. In an explosion 5 Auxillary Fire Service men were killed. Other buildings damaged by fire
High explosive bombs also did some damage, the worst incidents being when a bomb struck a row of tenements and a school where 10 people including Police, Air Raid Wardens and Fire Watchers were killed. A time bomb exploded after a smaller bomb struck the same building.
Churches and Hospitals hit.
Many well known people were among the victims, including the rector of a Roman Catholic Church and an Officer who was killed in a shelter.
The Rector had just returned to his presbytry adjoining the church from serving light refreshments to civil defence worckers engaged in rescuing people from the debris of their homes when a bomb destroyed the presbytry burying him and his housekeeper and a domestic servant. It was not for three days that the bodies were recovered.
During the bombardment four churches were severely damaged The roof and fabric of a Roman Catholic Church severely damaged while a heavy bomb which fell on a public house reduced an adjoining church to almost a ruin, stained glass windows being blown out and the roof of an aisle blown off. Its square tower containing one of the finest peel of bells in the district withstood the shock ot the violent explosion. Beneath the debris of the adjacent public house was buried the Landlord and a member of his staff
Two hospitals were also affected by the arial bombardment. In one the patients and nurses lost their lives through bombs being rained down upon the building. Nurses had evacuated most of the patients from wards in the danger zone, working with great heroism during the terrific bombing by the waves of enemy aircraft during the hours the raid lasted.
In the other hospital the electric light suddenly failed and nurses using torches and candles evacuated patients only just removed from operating theatres to places of safety. Some patients having to be carried downstairs to shelters through the electric lifts being out of commission. In this hospital there was no casualities.
Some buses were destroyed while another bomb fell into an adjoining street in which they had been parked for safety. These buses were blown to pieces some set on fire. Houses in the vicinity reduced to debris their occupants buried underneath. Many houses completely destroyed.
In one district large numbers of people were buried in cellars below their houses and two women were rescued alive after being four days and nights pinned up in the cellar , they survived. In another isolated area many semi-detatched and detatched houses were demolished and their occupants buried under debris.
GALLANT RESCUE WORK
SOLDIERS FINE PART
Throughout the night and next day first aid workers, firemen, police, air raid wardens and volunteers fought hard to rescue people, when the full extent of the damage and loss of life were realised the help of the military was sought. These men worked strenuously to rescue people.
Under Major GIFFORD and Capt HUMPHREYS the soldiers played a part in the rescue, sparing no effort. The civil defence services also worked night and day, many heroic incidents occured.
The work of accommodating the thousands of people rendered homeless was of great magnitude preparations made in advance ran very smoothly.
Billeting officers assisted by voluntary workers, boy scouts and others speedily arrived in the areas where destruction was greatest and centres were opened were the distressed could gain information.
Rest and feeding stations were brought into operation. By weekend large numberes of people rendered homeless had been accommodated.
The distressed met their misfortunes with the greatest calmness their attitude throughout their period of trial won general admiration.
COMMUNAL SHELTER HIT
Neighbouring towns rallied generously to assist in the succour of the homeless both in the provision of food refreshment and shelter. The voluntary services did splendid work as did the precautions and auxillary fire service [ten whom lost their lives] the special police, civil defence and members of the forces on leave.
In the areas worst hit the majority of deaths occured when a communal shelter was hit. In one of the demolished small houses nearby a 4mth old baby was found alive after being buried three and a half days with her fathers dead body lying over her and her dead mother's body close by.
Among the premises wholly or partially destroyed was one used in later years as a technical school, a store and a number of churches and schools. Hundreds of windows in a hospital were blown out and 12 houses used by nurses as homes where damaged.
Posters ordering the boiling of water for consumption were put up as a precautionary measure.
In spite of the difficulties and inconveniences the morale of people involved was magnificent and when the first shock was over there was a swift if not impoverished response to be as near normal as was possible.
Thurs May 1st
IN 8 DAYS OF BOMBING in the May Blitz, 1;746 Merseysiders were killed-1,453 in Liverpool-and 1,154 seriously injured. More than 41,000 people were found billets in the city in one week, 10,000 had to be accommodated in other towns
Considerable damage to property was caused in the Low Hill area. At the junction of Low Hill and Brunswick Rd extensive damage to public houses, shops and a Bank was wrecked.
Cazneau St which suffered greatly in previous raids, house, shop and buisness property damaged loss of life small.
North Market previously damaged struck several times.
A heavy bomb struck in the Mile End junction of Cazneau St making a hugh crater, another came through the roof of Lime St Station were trains were stopped because of bomb damage to lines from there to Edge Hill.
Other bombs at Bridport St [ 100 yds from the rear of Paramount Cinema]. London Rd, Craven St, Kempston St, Stafford St, New Bird St , [many people trapped in house] . Fisher St off Grafton St [again many trapped and injured]; Rachel St; Juvenal Place, Arundel Ave, Sephton Park, [cows killed when dairy was struck], the owner his son and 19 cows were buried . One cow was blown into the road and a police man ran into it on his bicycle. Other damage at Wellington Ave, Garmoyle Rd.
A mother and Daughter were killed in their garden shelter in Avondale Rd Wavertree. It recieved a direct hit. The family had only just moved there after being bombed out of their home in another part of the city, they usually stayed under the stairs.
There were incendiaries in many districts,the worst fires at Crawfords Works in Binns Rd, and the nitre sheds at the West Brunswick Dock.
High explosives damaged a cooked meats factory in New Bird St, a timber yard in Kensington, a shop in London Rd and railway lines in Speke.
Robert Gotz , a navigator with one of the German Bombers which made several raids on Merseyside wrote in his diary May 1st 1941, ordered to switch target from Belfast to Liverpool. "The Liverpool flak welcomes us, so then we know exactly where we are".
May 2nd 1941
Just before midnight, in bright moonlight, the alert was sounded, and enemy planes were soon over the city.
The Dock board office was damaged, the Corn Exchange in Brunswick St burned out and extensive damage done in South Castle St where tramcars were overturned. Pitt St was damaged and St MICHAELS Church was completely wrecked. Many houses damaged and many casualities.
A house in Linnet Lane billeting soldiers was hit 5 killed 35 seriously injured
A shelter in Egerton Rd hit containing 80 people only one killed Church house, headquarters of the diocese was completely burnt out all records lost.
Fires at South Queens, Coburg and Wapping Docks; at Sparling St, Bridgewater St, the former White Star building in James St, the Gas Co in Duke St
Raids continued for several hours. Eleven people including two women on fire duty were trapped in a basement when a high explosive bomb sliced away the next door building.
Another explosion blew 2 trams on their sides and stripped the roof off one.
Six people killed and several injured when bomb blew roof off a church penetrated side aisle down into hall below. 340 were in a shelter below and casualties caused when corridor leading to shelter recieved full force of blast.
Two stables struck horses trapped one was put down.
Many people homeless, One man asked where he lived, said, semi-quizzically: "Well I used to live over just there, where that big hole is ".
Nothing could daunt the spirit of the people. Typical of there attitude was the gesture of women in a street that suffered heavily they would get up at dawn and put out Union Jacks.
YOUNG COUPLE MARRIED LAST SATURDAY KILLED
bomb hit wash house they were sheltering in, the husband was home on leave.
Couple celebrating golden wedding with family and six children were among casualties, they had to be dug out of their house.
Ammunition ship SS MALAKAND blew up in Huskisson dock.
Copyright 2002 / To date