Liverpool Blitz: Attacks on the docks
The docks were the reason Liverpool was so heavily bombed. Liverpool was the main port for convoys crossing the Atlantic from America. The river was full of all kinds of ships, both military and merchant. If the port could be closed, Britain might starve. As well as bombs, mines were parachuted into the Mersey to disrupt shipping. These, as well as unexploded bombs, caused great disruption long after the bombers had left Merseyside's skies.
The bombing seriously damaged the docks. By the end of the 1941 Blitz, 69 out of 144 cargo berths were closed. There were serious losses of ships, food and fuel. Had the bombing continued for just a couple more nights, the docks could have been totally disabled.
On the worst night of the Blitz, 3 May 1941, the S.S. Malakand, a steamer loaded with over 1000 tons of shells and bombs, was destroyed in Huskisson No 2 dock. It is thought a deflated barrage balloon fell onto the deck and burst into flames. As it burnt, German bombs set fire to neighbouring sheds and soon the Malakand itself was on fire. Despite all attempts to put out the fire, eventually she had to be abandoned. The resulting explosion completely destroyed the dock. Parts of the ship were thrown up to two and a half miles away. Miraculously, considering the size of the blast, only four people were killed.
The docks were defended by a variety of means:
Despite the attacks Liverpool docks remained open, which was important for supplies but also encouraged local people not to give up - they weren't beaten.
While all of this was going on 29,000 dockworkers provided a 24-hour service (many had been taken on with permanent contracts for the first time in March 1941). You can imagine that with blackouts and air raids working was very difficult for these men, who had an average age of just over 50.