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Memories of the Merseyside Blitz in 1941 by Shirley Cawthra (nee Beardwell)

by Stockport Libraries

Contributed by 
Stockport Libraries
People in story: 
Shirley Beardwell, Reg Beardwell
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
08 July 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Elizabeth Perez of Stockport Libraries on behalf of Shirley Cawthra and has been added to the site with her permission. She fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I lived in Birkenhead. I remember night after night at 6.30pm, the drum of German aircraft and the subsequent noise of bombs dropping, anti-aircraft guns etc. I was ten years old and very frightened. Indeed, when I hear an air raid siren on film etc., it sends a cold shiver down my spine. On one night my Father took me up to a back bedroom to show me the whole of the Liverpool waterfront ablaze. He said "That shows you the evil of war".

Although he was in a reserved occupoation, my Dad volunteered for the Army, so my brothers, my Mum and I saw very little of him from 1942-45. Possibly he volunteered because his younger brother was in the RAF. He had parachuted from his Lancaster bomber over Germany. He was 6'3" tall and was marched along with many others (soldiers and airmen) to a camp. German civilians were apparently so incensed by RAF bombings that they hung RAF POWs from trees. One small soldier swopped uniforms with Uncle Reg and marched in the middle of the crowd unobserved. I presume Uncle Reg had half-mast Army trousers on. For the rest of his life he had nightmares of his experiences both in the air and subsequently.

A cheerful memory - Italian prisoners of war working in roads locally with much banter.

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Childhood and Evacuation Category
Prisoners of War Category
Liverpool Category
Germany Category
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