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NettyMc Offline OP
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Hi all.
Just looking into a family connection and a story I heard about the 12th March bombing of Birkenhead Docks and the Cathcart St/Price St/Cleveland St/ St Anne St areas.

I am looking for any info at all, anyone recall any stories surrounding the 12th March 1941?
There was a story I remember being told about some of the Cavanagh family.
I think they lived in St Anne St or Beckwith St, they saw a group of parachutes raining down on the night of 12th March and ran out to see if they were German Soldiers, they ran into an entry and sadly came face to face with some bombs.

Michael Cavanagh was killed and his son William has serious injury and later died.

Does anyone know anything about this story of the family?
Would so grateful for any info at all.
I have checked the local papers at the library and found nothing relating to this.

Thank you in advance.



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In the book Birkenhead At War, by Ian and Marilyn Boumphrey, the air raid on 12/13 March 1941 is recorded as the worst inflicted on Birkenhead, with 288 people killed and 275 seriously injured. A large area of the town and its suburbs were blitzed.

The Civilian Roll of Honour in the book includes -
Michael Cavanagh, age 41, of 70 Beckwith Street, husband of Elizabeth Cavanagh. Killed March 12 at Beckwith Street.
Their son William Thomas Cavanagh, same address, age 15. Injured March 12, died at General Hospital.

It's worth noting when researching the Blitz that wartime newspapers were heavily censored and details of casualties and locations would probably not be given at the time.

It may instead be useful to check newspapers from subsequent anniversaries, when they may have published retrospective stories with more details. For instance, in 1971, the Birkenhead News did a series of features marking the 30th anniversary of the Blitz, with lots of interviews of those who had lived through it and stories of the destruction.

Last edited by yoller; 7th Jan 2014 6:07pm.
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To confirm Yoller's info, a couple of images from the GWGC site, civilian deaths. Also a parachute mine which the lads likely mistook for paratroopers.

Attached Images
mc.JPG (28.8 KB, 333 downloads)
w.JPG (42.58 KB, 334 downloads)

God help us,
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Don't send Jesus,
This is no place for children.


Bertieone.
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NettyMc Offline OP
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Thank you so much Yoller and Bert 1 , this info is much appreciated.

I will do as you advise and see if I can find anything out from the 1971 newspapers, worth a try.

Thank you again.
xxx

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Wow love that pic.Its a big bomb i bet there are still alot underground on the wirral ,Tramere did come into my mind.Anyone got into it?

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Doubt if there where a group of parachutes, as I remember it land mines were dropped by parachute singly. for instance I remember one dropped in Patten st where my mates Father was killed name of Davenport. Another dropped in the park where their used to be a bandstand.

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Originally Posted by joney
Doubt if there where a group of parachutes, as I remember it land mines were dropped by parachute singly. for instance I remember one dropped in Patten st where my mates Father was killed name of Davenport. Another dropped in the park where their used to be a bandstand.


Spot on Joney.

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dav.JPG (21.32 KB, 250 downloads)

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Bertieone.
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A parachute mine caused the worst loss of life in a single incident during the Merseyside Blitz.

On November 29, 1940, a direct hit on an underground air raid shelter in Edge Hill, Liverpool, killed 166 people. See ...

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/exhibitions/blitz/blitz.aspx


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Parachute mines were indeed dropped singly. More than one parachutes could have been flares falling.

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I remember a land mine being dropped in Well Lane close to Old Chester Road just down from the police station. There was a great loss of life and you can see the newer houses that were built on the site after the war!

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Sorry I should have said that this was in Tranmere!

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Looking at the google image, the parachute mine that hit that part of Well Lane damaged or destroyed quite a few properties. The aim of a mine is to cause a shock wave explosion, hence the parachute to slow its decent allowing it to explode on contact with the ground and not burying its self into the ground and diminishing the shock wave effect.
Below, the 15 people who were killed in Well Lane, Tranmere, 12 March, 1941, my apologises if I've left any out.

Attached Images
well lane.JPG (94.86 KB, 149 downloads)
12w.JPG (21.54 KB, 152 downloads)
14w.JPG (28.48 KB, 157 downloads)
14we.JPG (69.03 KB, 154 downloads)
16.JPG (67.89 KB, 153 downloads)
20w.JPG (18.39 KB, 154 downloads)
20we.JPG (19.59 KB, 151 downloads)
22 w.JPG (54.49 KB, 147 downloads)

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This is no place for children.


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You're right about the shock wave explosion thing Bert - a land mine dropped at Port Rainbow at the top of Port Causeway in Bromborough in about 1941, and the blast was channelled down the Levers' railway cutting and blew the roof off my grandparents house in Magazine Village, about a third of a mile away.

Sad seeing all those names, seems all the more poignant somehow when they're shown as whole families...


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Mentioned it before on another thread. Think it was a landmine that hit the flour mills causing a huge dust explosion and a paving slab shot through a window in Livingstone Street, just by Massey Street, and landed in bed besides one of the women who slept downstairs as her hubby was away in the army. She escaped unscathed. Used to remember her name years ago but can't now.


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The Flour Mills link is here, Bandy...

https://www.wikiwirral.co.uk/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/358302/The_Great_Float_Flour_Mills.html

You might also find some other useful info about bombed Birkenhead on this one...

https://www.wikiwirral.co.uk/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/488756/1.html

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