In May 1941, over 8 nights, Bootle became one of the most bombed places in England.

Over 1,000 people were killed or injured and over 80% of houses were damaged or destroyed. Very few families escaped the blitz unscathed; over 20,000 residents were left homeless following the bombing.

There was no electricity, gas or water and thousands relied on the Nation Canteen services to feed them. The trains, and trams were badly affected as many bridges had been bombs and tracks ripped up by the bombs.

Many families went to live with relatives in ‘safer’ parts Merseyside, some went into the countryside each night to sleep in church halls, community centres or fields to get away from the carnage. Returning to Bootle the next day to go to work or school.

Many schools, churches and shop were destroyed by the high explosives and parachute mines that rained down on Bootle, over those momentous eight days. Warehouses, Timber Yards and factories were set alight by incendiary bombs and completed destroyed by the huge fires that ensued. One of the large bakeries was destroyed, so bread was in short supply and had to be brought in from other parts of Merseyside.

There were tales of great courage and stoicism; Fire Watches used stirrup pumps to try and tackle fires, before they took hold. Wardens ventured into collapsed buildings to save residents, boy scouts carried messages by bicycle when the phone lines went down and the ladies of the WVS service manned rest centres where bombed out families sought refuge and comfort, after their homes had been destroyed.

To commemorate this momentous event in Bootle’s history, Sefton Library Service, with support from The National Lottery Heritage fund, have created a new book – Bootle in the Blitz.

The book is based on a manuscript by Major George Salt, Bootle’s Air Raid Precaution Officer during World War Two. The book contains some of the tales of heroism and courage of those engaged in services to protect and save the residents during the blitz. A photographic display to compliment the book, will be unveiled in the autumn.

The book is on sale at all Sefton Libraries and also available to purchase via the library website – click here.