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Bombs in Birkenhead

by elmroadnorthprenton

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Percy Elliott, Emily Elliott, Geoffrey Elliott, Joyce Elliott
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Contributed on: 
07 November 2004

In the eary 1940s the Liverpool docks were a significant target for the Luftwaffe, and as we lived in Birkenhead my parents, my student age brother and I, aged 8, were vulnerable, as were our neighbours and friends locally. Our house in Prenton was a terraced, double fronted property. My father, who was in the timber trade in Liverpool, reinforced the area under the stairs and we spent our nights there. It was reasonably comfortable, with mattresses on the floor, and I was young enough to sleep through most of the air raids. Often one of the men would be out, on duty firewatching, and my mother would worry audibly about the safety of her husband or son.

One night in March 1941, I do not know the precise date, there was a strong north west wind blowing and consequently much of the ammunition intended for the Liverpool waterfront came to ground in Birkenhead.
During the air raid on the night in question there was a very near and very loud "hit" and we discovered that the windows and back door of our house had been blown in. In the light of dawn we went outside, by that time it was raining, and there at the bottom of the small back garden was embedded a large round greyish green cylinder, which the ARP said was a sea mine. It had not exploded, so we were all hastily evacuated and the disposal experts called in to deal with the hazard. They had a busy morning for we had not been the only unwitting target.

We were not able to return to our house for several months, for the damage to the doors and rear walls had to be repaired in order to make it habitable, and we realised we had had a very lucky escape. If that mine had exploded, I would not have been here today to recount this tale. There was talk of sabotage in the manufacture of the mine, but we shall never know.

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