Tag Archives: Liverpool

Sea mines on North Wales beaches

30 Jan

Having failed to close the port of Liverpool by bombing the Germans changed their tactics in January 1943. In the first week of the month they resorted to laying sea mines by submarine in the approach channel between Point Lynas, Anglesey and the mouth of the River Mersey.

On the evening of the 2nd a sea mine exploded on the foreshore at Penmaenhead near Colwyn Bay, damaging the windows of two properties but causing no casualties. The following morning saw a number of mines washed up on the Denbighshire coast.  Just before six in the morning people living close to Pensarn railway station got an early wake-up call when a German sea mine exploded, damaging 87 houses while a second device did not detonate and 15 people were evacuated from their homes while it was rendered safe.  Elsewhere that morning further mines were washed up opposite Sunnyvale Camp, Towyn and another on the beach at Sandbank Road, Towyn. In this instance over 250 people were evacuated to rest centres while the Royal Navy defused the bomb. Later that day a mine was found in Foryd Harbour, Rhyl and 40 people were evacuated from Kinmel Bay while that was defused.

On the 4th of January further sea mines were washed ashore.  In Colwyn Bay, 400 people were evacuated from their homes and 1600 civil servants working at the Ministry of Food were moved from their offices when a sea mine washed ashore by the Rothesay Hotel. The police closed the promenade and surrounding roads while the, now overworked, Royal Navy bomb disposal team got to work.  A further two mines were spotted in the sea off Colwyn Bay pier and to minimise the risk to life from these devices the Chief Constable of Denbighshire made an order under the Public Entertainments (Restrictions) Order to close the Victoria Pier in Colwyn Bay during the hours of darkness.


Littlewood’s Parachute Division

3 Jan

Littlewood's Parachute Division

Littlewoods converted a warehouse on Hanover Street, Liverpool into a factory for producing parachutes shortly after war was declared in September 1939. Groups of girls who before the war were employed in the company’s pools and mail order divisions were instructed by experts in the techniques of cutting, sewing, rigging, and assembling the parachutes. The first parachute was produced on 11 December 1939 and one month later the first 20,000 parachutes were delivered to the Air Ministry.
During the Second World War, Littlewoods produced 12 million shells, 5 million parachutes, 50,000 dinghies, 20,000 barrage balloons, and more than 40,000 pontoons and storm boats across its 16 factories and employing 14, 000 workers.

Letter to Sweetheart

21 Dec

I recently came across some letters sent from Battalion Quarter Master Sergeant Jim Flanagan to his wife Cissy of 20 Phoebe Anne Street in Liverpool.  I have started to transcribe them and will put them on the blog over the next couple of months.  They offer a fascinating insight into wartime social history.



Letter from BQMS Flanagan to his wife Cissy


1570641 BQMS Flanagan

171 A.A. ‘Z’ Bty R.A.

Chattenden Barracks





My Dearest Sweetheart

I received your letter today of 3/8.  Post seems to travel more slowly from your end.  If this letter seems hurried and scrawled you must forgive me, but I have just come in and am trying to rush one off to you by the afternoon post.  It is just possible that if I can catch it you will have this letter for tomorrow, Saturday.  But even if not, and you have to wait till Monday I should not be very many hours behind the letter.

I am pleased to hear that baby is so industrious even if her industry includes egg breaking, and I am very much looking forward to seeing her in this much improved new role of hers.

I am afraid that I spoke too soon, your next letter has also arrived and I have just been reading it as I commenced this page.  (I had to put this in because I guessed that you would be puzzled stiff with my reference to a letter which I had not apparently received).

I do want to say though that you must forgive this very short note, but when I get home I will be able to put into words and actions the things which have been locked inside my heart for the past ¼ of a year.

I can say that my love for you is really and truly deep and lasting and only in your arms only will I find my true and comfortable happiness.

I want you only my darling to remain faithful and true to me under these circumstances and I know that our future life can be nothing but pleasant and happy.

Think of me, and wait patiently for me, who will be seeing you very, very soon.

I always am your loving and faithful husband.