10 photos show how the May Blitz ravaged Liverpool 80 years ago

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10 photographs show how the May Blitz ravaged Liverpool 80 years ago

The eight nights of sustained bombing killed 1,746 people and left 75,000 homeless

Panoramic view of the destruction caused to the city
Panoramic view of the destruction caused to the city

It's been 80 years since the Lutwaffe's bombs devastated the city and changed its landscape forever.

A week-long campaign of targeted air strikes known as the May Blitz in 1941 brought terror and destruction to the city.

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For eight successive nights from May 1, bombs rained down on Liverpool killing 1,746 Merseysiders and injuring 1,154 others.

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More than 90,000 homes were destroyed or damaged and 75,000 people were left homeless.

It was the city's reputation as one of the most vital ports in Europe that made Liverpool a prime target in the early years of the Second World War.

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The Nazi war machine soon realised that we were perfectly placed to receive troops, weapons, supplies and other essentials through our docks – the stuff every fighting country needs if it wants to win.

It was also a strategic command point where the war in the Atlantic was concerned.

Thousands of people fled the city each night seeking the safety of the countryside while others gathered in public shelters and in cellars at home as hundreds of bombs rained down, destroying some of the city’s best-known buildings and bringing destruction to long-standing communities.

  1. Panoramic view of the city's destruction caused by eight nights of sustained bombing

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  2. Ruins of Liverpool Museum following air raid on May 3rd 1941.

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  3. Lord Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, during the clean up of the fire damage area resulting form the May 1941 Blitz.

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  4. Mill Road Infirmary, Liverpool, after it is bombed in World War Two. The bomb landed in the courtyard at the rear of the hospital, killing many mothers and their new born babies.

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  5. Air raid in Liverpool. May 1941.

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  6. A house demolished in the Liverpool Blitz. At the centre is a clock on the wall – it is still ticking the correct time.

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  7. A section of St Georges Crescent damaged by fire during the May Raids in Liverpool. May 1941.

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  8. Cook Street Arcade which was attacked by German bombs on the 3rd May 1941.

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  9. The shell of Lewis's building which earlier that day had been crowded with shoppers. 3rd May 1941.

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  10. St Luke's Church after the Liverpool May Blitz of 1941 Credit: Liverpool City Council

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