Blitzed: Liverpool Lives is an exhibition that has been on display since June this year and will continue until 2021. It’s a careful curation of black and white photographs taken by the city’s police between 1940 and 1941. They demonstrate clearly the destruction the city faced during the onslaught of The Blitz during World War II.
More than 4,000 people were killed in Merseyside during WWII, 10,000 homes were reduced to rubble and 70,000 people were made homeless, including my mother’s family, who suffered this fate more than once.
Liverpool was a prime Luftwaffe target as its docks were a conduit for troop movement and essential goods to supply the nation, keeping morale high.
An already damaged Rotunda Theatre, Scotland Road, was bombed the night of 31 August and 1 September 1940. This stunning photograph caught the collapse of the once-popular venue.
Even Walton Prison was a target trapping prisoners during the night of 18 September 1940. Twenty-two inmates died during this attack.
The day before forever affected my family. On 17 September 1940 Janet Street, Edge Hill was targeted by German bombers. A resident said that he would look at the ‘German aircraft caught in the searchlights’. Was he looking at the planes that machine-gunned my fourteen-year-old uncle two and a half miles away on Scotland Road?
As shared in Killed by Enemy Action, my father’s brother was a civilian victim, shot heading for shelter not far from his home on Milton Street. He died on 18 September 1940 whilst the city was bombed mercilessly.
It’s Remembrance Sunday this weekend and next year we will see the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Soon WWII will be beyond living memory. Exhibitions such as this remind us what previous generations suffered, and to me, are hugely important. They remind us of the sacrifices that were made when siblings lost their brothers, mothers lost their sons and whilst the world fought on an angry stage, families cried.
Photographs above all taken by the author from original photographs taken by Liverpool City Police.
Source: Museum of Liverpool, Blitzed Liverpool Lives