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Mary: Liverpool Blitz

by liverpoolagec

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24 March 2004

I was fourteen years old and had been working for the past five months making ground sheets and tents for the forces. On several occasions I had almost been caught in an air raid whilst walking home from work. I would just reach the corner of our street when the sirens would start. These were times when people could actually see the eneemy planes. Thankfully I never did, but I was able to distinguish the soulnds of enemy planes and our own. The German planes had a distinctive throbbing in the engine while ours was a continuous sound. Duringng these first days of May the warning would sound from 6.30pm. Previous raids had mostly been during late evening or throughout the night. Each evening then I had 'run the gauntlet' so to speak, from the corner of the street to our flats - a distance of only a few yards. But once inside, I felt safe. We would then have our meal and fet ready for our 'upstairs visitors'. All the tenants from the floors above would come down to the ground floor during the raidss, everyone assuming that, if the bombs did come, they would hit the roof first and subsequently give us all a fighting chance for survival. The building was very strong and well built and certainly looled more solid than the outside shelters that had been erected. For five nights high explosive and incendiary bombs pounded us. There were great fires everywhere and a lot of the emergency tanks built for the fire service were destroyed as of course, the mains. And water was naturally in very short supply.

The raids would cease about 2am and everyone would wearily go home to try and get some rest. We were all so tired. On the morning of 6th May our city was almost at a standstill. H
ow much longer could it go on? When I left for work there was a smell of beans in the street - ships cargo no doubt - but it brought a few smiles though. Thank God for Liverpool humour.

That evening as I was returning home from work, I noticed a neighbour of ours walking with her son who was home for a few days leave from the RAF. She must have been grateful for his company during the bad times we were having. THat night there were about eight people in our livin room. Dad had gone to bed as usual, he never stayed up late like mam and myself. My sister Winnie was with him in out bedroom. Billy,Ros and Claire were inthe other bedroom. Mam, our neighbours and myself were sitting in a semi-circle around the fireplace talking, toallay our fear mostly, ffor it was a heavy raid. This then was how it was when the bomb fell, though not aas xpected through the roof of the building. According to an eyewitness it floated down quite slowly, pooibly having a parachute attached. It struck the dividing wall berween the basements directly beneath ours and the adjoining flats, and therefore exploded upwards.

Inside our flat the talking continued. Then suddenly darkness and all was very quiet and still. My ears felt as if they were about to burst. My head seemed to be expandiog. The slence must have lasted a few minutes through the blackness, before I could hear a low moaning. I could suddenly see flashlights and hear men's voices callingus. Then I could see dad in the glae of a light, he was calling for mam. I remember screaming out then, in sheer panic for I was so afraid. The resuers led me out first and took me to a nearby house. The realisation tht we has been bombed and seeing the blood on dad's neck frightened me so much, I can't explianit but I always felt guilty afterwards that I managed tgo get out so quickly, I don't know why. It would have been about 1.30am when I was rescues and all durin that night I was visited by Defence Wardens and I realised that they still hadn't found mam. I knew dad was alive, but what about the children? The all clear sounded about 2.30am, it would soon be daylight. I knew there were casualties but not how many. Small pieces o news ffiltered through from the A.R.P/ and Civil Defence workers that some peoeple had lost their lives and others had been taken to hospital.

Morniong came and withi it Dad. He hadmanaged to get MAm out. He must have worked all through the night with the other helpers. The children wee also safe though he had not locatd themall yet. We were all united about noon. Clare and Billy had been taken to the local Police Station. Mam had to be dug out of the debris and waas the most seriously hurt. It was important for hr to get medical attention - she was sweven months pregnant.

ALl hte neighbours in our flat were taken to hospital but none were badly hurt. Mam should also have been taken along with them but it tookso ong to find her. I'm sure that by then most of the ambulances had gone to other badly hit areas. The hospitals must have been full that night.

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