Memories of Bootle in the Blitz
Read about the experiences of Bootle people during the Second World War below.
We would love to include your memories of Bootle during the Blitz on this website. Please submit your memories using this form.
I was a boy during the May Blitz and I remember the sadness on women´s faces when that telegram came. My Mam got one and she went out in the street crying. We all thought that my old man had died but he´d been wounded and the telegram was telling Mam he was being sent home. At home he helped our ARP warden. Unfortunately we lost my Father in the Blitz - he just never came home one night after Bootle had taken some beating.
I was born in May 1940, a real Blitz baby. One night after visiting my grandmother, my mother decided to go home despite the blackout and started off. She had a great deal of difficulty pushing my pram in the darkness and at one point found herself pushing really hard and getting nowhere so she gave up and went and stayed the night at Gran´s. Next day when she retraced her steps she found the place where she had been stopped. The pram wheel marks showed that she had been trying to push me into a new bomb crater which was quite deep. Thank goodness I´m still here to tell the tale.
I was born in Bootle and came to the USA in 1960 with my Mum and Dad and brother. As kids we would sit around the kitchen table and listen intently as my Mum told stories of the Blitz and what it was like to be in Bootle at the time. She was one of eight kids and she often wondered how my Nan managed to hold everything together during that time. They were bombed out of a house on Benedict Street and had blast damage to their next house on Wadham Road (where some of her sisters still live). My Dad was from Huyton and was evacuated to a farm with his brothers. The war for him was far different than it was for Mum. I am proud to have inherited the strength of spirit that is such a great part of the character of the people of Bootle, Liverpool, and England herself.
Steve Burke (USA)
In April 1944 my husband George and I went on honeymoon to Anglesey. Everywhere we went we were known as the ´honeymoon couple´ and were given half a dozen fresh eggs as a wedding present. As eggs were scarce in Liverpool, we decided to take them home and share them with the family. On the day we went home we arrived at the Menai suspension bridge to find a two mile traffic jam. The policeman on point duty recognised us as the ´honeymooners´ and waved us on. Imagine our horror the next day when one of the headlines in the ´Echo´ read ´Contraband seized in check point from Anglesey´- we had unwittingly smuggled six dozen eggs into the country! Nobody worried about this as the family thought it was Christmas again having fresh eggs for a change!! A frequent comment made from friends was "there’s only you two who would spend their honeymoon egg collecting, surely you could have found something better to do!" (think about it!)
Life was very hard at times. I hated seeing young boys cycling down our road with yellow envelopes - telegrams bearing good and bad news.
I was 7 years old. We used to hunt for shrapnel in the gutters. I was very disappointed when the teachers in our school (Lawrence Road) put a sack in the cloakroom to put our shrapnel in. We liked to collect it to swap. My sister was born May 1941. How Mum coped I shall never know. There were already three of us - 8,7 and 5 years old. All the Mums should have been given medals.
My father was one of many children evacuated from Liverpool, arriving in Shropshire on January 10th 1941. Every Christmas he reminds us of the year Father Christmas never came, because of the Germans! He still lives in Shropshire but returns regularly to his brother and sisters who returned to Liverpool after the war.
Memories of Bootle. I remember as a youngster of about 8 years old, each night the air raid warning sounding. My mother & I would go under the stairs & stay there, sometimes till morning. Each bomb that came screaming down seemed to get louder & louder. We both were very nervous in the May-blitz 1941 - it got very bad. My father was on ARP duty all of the war. He came home one morning, it was about the 5th of May, and told my mother & I we had to go to Longview, Huyton to his brother´s house as it was much safer. But he had to stay in Bootle on duty. We lived in Oliver St. We had an ariel-torpedo at the top of the street & 3 landmines at the bottom on Stanley Rd. My father had reported in about the 3 landmines but only 2 had gone off, and at the ARP post they said he must be wrong - it was only 2 that fell. So that was that until 2 or 3 days later a soldier came home on leave. He put his key in the door only to find a landmine hanging behind the front door by its parachute. Lucky for him & the rest of the streets it did not go off. The police evacuated about 5 side streets along Stanley Rd until the bomb crew came & dismantled the bomb. They put barrage balloons all along the docks & the ones on the ships in the docks were like sharks with sharp fins. Some days Jerry came over in the daylight & machined gunned the balloons. Then our planes intercepted them. On the days that a warning did not sound all the kids watched the dogfights in the sky over the docks which were about 1.5 miles away. All the family ended up at Dad´s brother’s house in Huyton. About 10 of us or more. My Dad´s sister´s husband came home on leave from the Merchant Navy. He joined us all. Next day he went back home to see his side of the family. He went out in the morning with black hair & came back with a white line over his head. He had found most of his family dead, & had spent about 4 hours sorting limbs out of the debris. About 4 or 5 houses got a direct hit in the street. (NOT THE GOOD OLD DAYS)