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Thread: Memories of the Merseyside Blitz

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    Newbie scouse exile's Avatar
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    Default Memories of the Merseyside Blitz

    As everyone keeps reminding us, it's almost seventy years to the month since war was declared and the Liverpool boys who were boys when I was a boy are old men now. So, allow one of them to reminisce --- and more specifically ask three questions which continue to intrigue me.
    1, Anyone who was a lad during the Blitz of 1940/41 will remember going out on the streets after a raid collecting shrapnel --- bits of shell casing from anti-aircraft fire. Those jagged lumps of pretty ueless metal became highly prized and collectable. I recall my gang even used them to play ollies (marbles ) tossing them along the gutter and collecting the other kid's shrapnel if you were able to hit it. I wonder, has anyone kept their shrapnel collection from seventy or more years ago?
    2, Those barrage balloons tethered on cables and hung in the sky all over Merseyside to deter German bombers. Was there any recorded case of a balloon bringing down a bomber?
    3, My first wife, as a little girl of about five, making her way home to the Liverpool district of Roby from Wavertree during a raid, tried to take refuge with her mother in an enormous underground shelter situated on waste land near The Rocket. It was so crowded they couldn't get in and continued home on foot. The shelter was hit by a land mine shortly after and many were killed. Does anyone have more details about that incident? For example, were there any survivors?

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    Could't imagine any survivors from a land mine hit. They were big muthers and used to demolish streets.

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    Default small correction

    Sorry people. Should have written 'useless', not 'ueless'!
    As everyone keeps reminding us, it's almost seventy years to the month since war was declared and the Liverpool boys who were boys when I was a boy are old men now. So, allow one of them to reminisce --- and more specifically ask three questions which continue to intrigue me.
    1, Anyone who was a lad during the Blitz of 1940/41 will remember going out on the streets after a raid collecting shrapnel --- bits of shell casing from anti-aircraft fire. Those jagged lumps of pretty useless metal became highly prized and collectable. I recall my gang even used them to play ollies (marbles ) tossing them along the gutter and collecting the other kid's shrapnel if you were able to hit it. I wonder, has anyone kept their shrapnel collection from seventy or more years ago?
    2, Those barrage balloons tethered on cables and hung in the sky all over Merseyside to deter German bombers. Was there any recorded case of a balloon bringing down a bomber?
    3, My first wife, as a little girl of about five, making her way home to the Liverpool district of Roby from Wavertree during a raid, tried to take refuge with her mother in an enormous underground shelter situated on waste land near The Rocket. It was so crowded they couldn't get in and continued home on foot. The shelter was hit by a land mine shortly after and many were killed. Does anyone have more details about that incident? For example, were there any survivors?

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    I have read somewhere of Barrage Balloons bringing down aircraft. I have no idea where or when though. If you look at old photographs of D Day, you will see lots of them over the ships. So, they must have been effective to keep using them for such a long time. They would've been particularly useful during beach landings by keeping straffing aircraft on their guard and above the balloons. When I did my first parachute jump it was out of one of these balloons. There was a basket hanging underneath and we jumped from that.

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    Those posts of barrrage balloons triggered off a few memories. Being born in 1942,I gradually became conscious of my world and it was a world full of soldiers,airmen and sailors. The skies were full of barrage balloons,I never knew what they were for,like the sun and the moon they were just up there. There were still some balloons flying in late 1945 and I can remember one being pulled to the ground near Crown Street .
    BrianD

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian daley View Post
    Those posts of barrrage balloons triggered off a few memories. Being born in 1942,I gradually became conscious of my world and it was a world full of soldiers,airmen and sailors. The skies were full of barrage balloons,I never knew what they were for,like the sun and the moon they were just up there. There were still some balloons flying in late 1945 and I can remember one being pulled to the ground near Crown Street .
    BrianD
    Brian, where the balloons stretched all along the Mersey or just over the City and the Docks?

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    There was a few balloons which were put aloft every night in Lambeth Road
    school yard and also in Kirkdale Rec.They looked like elephants in the sky with their fins and stabilizers.
    Sometimes they would deflate and there would be a rush to get some of the material to make bags or to cover bikes and motorbikes in backyards
    I think all the women in our area of Kirkdale had shopping bags made out of the barrage balloon material.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregs dad View Post
    There was a few balloons which were put aloft every night in Lambeth Road
    school yard and also in Kirkdale Rec.They looked like elephants in the sky with their fins and stabilizers.
    Sometimes they would deflate and there would be a rush to get some of the material to make bags or to cover bikes and motorbikes in backyards
    I think all the women in our area of Kirkdale had shopping bags made out of the barrage balloon material.
    I love that, I can just picture the war lords complaining about their war toys going missing, and they were used for carrying potatoes home.

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    You may be interested to know that the civilian war
    memorial in Anfield cem as been cleaned up. For those
    that dont know this is a communal grave for 540 people
    killed in the blitz, it is 170 ft long and 8 ft wide and extends
    at the back of the memorial. The coat of arms onmthe memorial
    is by Tyson Smith

    Steve

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    Default Wartime Memories

    As a young boy, (aged 7 to 14) during the war, I remember well the collecting of schrapnel after raids, also incendary bomb tails, and of course the Barrage Balloons, we had many around the Garston/Speke Airport area, I think also that although they would have brought down a plane if it ran into a cable, the main purpose was to deter planes, (Bombers) from certain strategic areas such as the Docks and the Airport, Don't forget Rootes aircraft Factory, and other important Industrial plants were protected in this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveb View Post
    You may be interested to know that the civilian war
    memorial in Anfield cem as been cleaned up. For those
    that dont know this is a communal grave for 540 people
    killed in the blitz, it is 170 ft long and 8 ft wide and extends
    at the back of the memorial. The coat of arms onmthe memorial
    is by Tyson Smith

    Steve
    Thanks for that Steve, never heard of that. Seen a small memorial in Salford once. Not much bigger than a ciggie packet. 300 souls died in that spot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pablo42 View Post
    Thanks for that Steve, never heard of that. Seen a small memorial in Salford once. Not much bigger than a ciggie packet. 300 souls died in that spot.
    Pic pre renovation
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by steveb; 08-20-2009 at 11:39 AM. Reason: additions

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveb View Post
    Pic pre renovation
    Great that Steve, never knew it was there.

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    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    I came across this when I was looking for a photo of the Illustious, I hope you can make it out. If you can you willbe able to build your own barrage balloons,
    Cheers' or should that be Ack Ack Pip Pip,
    BrianD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian daley View Post
    I came across this when I was looking for a photo of the Illustious, I hope you can make it out. If you can you willbe able to build your own barrage balloons,
    Cheers' or should that be Ack Ack Pip Pip,
    BrianD
    Thanks Brian, me and the neighbours are building our own barrage balloon this afternoon. There'll be no more Germans over Wallasey.

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