The Liverpool Blitz
On one Saturday night in May 1941 Liverpool burned at the height of the Blitz. Al Capleton tells of his experiences that night. “…it took us about 3 hours to get to Renshaw Street and there, before us was the devastation. Lewis’s was a black shell and still smouldering… high up on top of a wall was a flag-pole, on that flag-pole was a tatty Union Jack fluttering in the hot breeze!”
The Luftwaffe air raids lasted for the entirety of the following week. There was utter destruction through whole swathes of the city centre and the surrounding back-to-back housing. Black smoke billowed up from scores of bomb craters.
But some of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks, like the Anglican Cathedral, the Victoria Monument and the Liver Buildings, escaped the bombs virtually unscathed. They said that the German bombers spared the Cathedral and the Three Graces, as they acted as landmark beacons for them to identify the docks. Other famous buildings, such as Blackler’s department store were less fortunate. It was totally destroyed.
Hundreds of people lost their lives during the Liverpool Blitz – more than 4000 in the city throughout the War. Many more were seriously wounded. Whole families were taken or left decimated. The entire city was affected as badly as the other Luftwaffe targets of Coventry, London, Birmingham and many others. But, the indomitable spirit of the Scousers shone through. Liverpool had been hurt but it remained unbowed as the heartbeat port for the Atlantic convoy’s war effort.