In the summer of 1940 Britain’s clear blue skies were filled with German bombers in close formation their droning engines clearly heard while around them white puffs of smoke from anti aircraft shells exploding, doing nothing to deter their their flight.
We looking north from Ellesmere Port’s edge witnessed this and saw as the bombs fell the skies turn to flaming red across the miles of horizon that was Merseyside.
In the air raid shelter we heard the hum of the German bombers returning and left the shelters and went to bed some a short time before getting up for work.
Liverpool, Bootle , and the Wirral were the most heavily bombed areas of the country outside of London. They provided anchorage for naval ships with the Mersey’s ports and dockers handling over 90 per cent of all the war material brought into Britain from abroad.
The first major air raid took place in when 160 bombers attacked the city on the night of 28 August. This assault continued over the next three nights, then regularly for the rest of the year. In December 1940, referred to as the Christmas blitz. 365 people were killed .
The last German air raid on Liverpool took place on 10 January 1942, the bombs had killed 2716 people in Liverpool, 442 people in Birkenhead, 409 people in Bootle and 332 people in Wallasey.
We saw for ourselves the devastation of Liverpool’s buildings flattened and shops we had once visited there no longer. The Scousers, giving no signs of defeat. The scars left by these ferocious attacks were on view for years afterwards.
This detail shows how lucky we were as despite having the Manchester ship canal docks near bye, with just three bombs only landing in the Port’s confines.
Once my mother and I after visiting Aunt May in Birkenhead took to running with the crew and passengers of a bus we were travelling at the wine of a bomb dropping. In the dive to the ground by the conductor stumbled and the loose change from his bag went jingling all over the street. After a short time in an raid air shelter we were unharmed and soon home in its safe haven.
WE did once from behind the wood saw a “dog fight.” at about 100 foot was a German bomber accompanied by two Hurricane fighters which, it seemed guided it down to Hooton Aerodrome just about two miles from us.
This maiming and killing in Britain and Germany of thousands of men, women and children in their homes and workplaces along with the armed combat continued. For another year. Then two two atom bombs were dropped on Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing all that dwelt in the area and causing devastation beyond anything ever seen before. Ending the war.
On May 8 1945 we celebrated Victory in Europe In front of the shopping Parade on Overpool Road with singing and dancing as I recall and goodies to eat. What we learnt from this particular conflict and carnage seems to be little.
This is an extract of my autobiography being prepared for publication later this year. Roy Jones.