Posts tagged with 'Second World War'
21 December 2011 by Sarah
I have been trying to find a photograph on a Christmas/Winter theme for a festive blog post to advertise the Maritime Archives & Library online exhibition Christmas at Sea. I discovered this photograph of the crew of the Canadian Pacific vessel Montrose shovelling ice off the deck after the ship struck an iceberg in fog off Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. I could have passed this off as a winter event, but unfortunately it happened on Easter Monday in April 1928. This is not the festival I was looking for, but a good reminder of how harsh conditions can be at sea. The Montrose was requisitioned during the Second World War and renamed HMS Forfar. It was torpedoed and sunk on 2nd December 1940 with the loss of 184 crew – a tragic winter event. Read more…
12 December 2011 by stepheng
I have some fabulous foxtrot 78 rpm wax records from the 1920s which evoke the crazy days when people reacted to the horrors of the Great War.
This was also a time when countries such as the United States started to put restrictions on immigration after the great free-for-all when virtually any healthy person could settle.
The three sister ships took settlers to Canada in the closing years of the great age of emigration which lasted from 1830 to 1930. Read more…
The Maritime Archives & Library holds a very large collection of records relating to the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (MDHB), who ran the Liverpool & Birkenhead dock system from 1858 until 1971. The MDHB, like most large organisations, were keen on committees and reports, and produced a lot of documents. These are a great resource for studying the history of Liverpool, but can be a little overwhelming. Occasionally a box reveals something unexpected, such as this piece of shrapnel stored amongst a file relating to the repair of the Dock Office, the Port of Liverpool Building at the Pier Head. The note on the envelope states that the shrapnel was taken out of the ‘copper covering of Dome, Dock Office’. The Port of Liverpool Building was hit by a mine on the morning of 3rd May 1941 which caused a fire that destroyed most of the east side of the building before being brought under control. Read more…
26 September 2011 by Sarah
Ok it’s a poor link, but as we don’t have any photographs of politicians, apart from ex-merchant seafarer John Prescot, I thought I’d throw in this photograph of the Harrison Line vessel Politician while the Labour Party Conference is on in Liverpool.
T & J Harrison, like many shipping companies, used a theme when naming their vessels. In their case it was professions, which are slightly easier to remember than Blue Funnel’s(Ocean Steamship Company) use of characters from Greek mythology. Harrison Line never named a ship Archivist, but they did have 3 vessels named Custodian, which is pretty close to my job description. Read more…
7 June 2011 by Lisa
I think this story illustrates how timing and quick-thinking can create major shifts in events.
In wartime things move very quickly and often with momentous consequences. I have often wondered what would have happened if war leaders had made different decisions. So often the individual plays a key part in the drama.
The controversial sinking of a British liner just hours after start of the Second World War and the foundering of a German U-boat submarine are strangely linked. Read more…
Seventy years since the May Blitz, the spirit of Pitt Street lives on.
Seventy years ago this month, a devastating aerial bombardment struck Liverpool, ending lives, demolishing homes and displacing whole communities. It is in tribute to “the spirit of an unconquered people” that Liverpool’s Anglo-Chinese community were part of the effort to keep calm and carry on, piecing back together not just buildings but homes and livelihoods.
Pitt Street, 1915, shaped by tall converted warehouse buildings and cobbled streets, stretches out under the constant watch of St Michaels Church spire, busy with dozens of Chinese businesses, from boarding houses to grocers and tobacconists. This was the birthplace of Liverpool’s Chinese community, the destination for seamen from all over the world including Spain, the Philippines, Italy, the West Indies and Scandinavia – to name just a few. To the people who lived and grew up there, this was ‘world’s end.’ Pitt Street was the place to go, bustling with shops and cafes all within easy reach of the docks. Kwong Shang Lung was one of the city’s earliest grocers to specialise in Chinese food, trading from 1915 until the bombs fell in 1941. Read more…
8 March 2011 by stepheng
Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo
I would not like to be a pirate – apart from being illegal, the chances of meeting a violent end are too great– but I do like the swashbuckling aspects.
The sight of the Jolly Roger (the pirate skull and crossbones) being raised is pretty exciting – it is a part of pirate lore which has been adapted by submariners.
A British commander first flew the notorious flag in modern times nearly 100 years ago. Read more…
14 February 2011 by stepheng
Image courtesy Liverpool Daily Post & Echo
A submarine is the last vessel I would choose to go to sea in – the idea of being unable to escape in an emergency would be terrifying.
Submarine crews have played a vital role in warfare for nearly a century. Their successes in the First World War sounded the death knell for the battleship era.
The submarines of the past were minnows compared to those of today. I have attended a number of naming ceremonies at Barrow-in-Furness and been astonished by the enormous size of modern subs. Read more…
7 February 2011 by stepheng
My first construction kit was of a galleon with a solid balsa wood hull and colourful cardboard cabins and sails.
All the later ones were plastic. I have fond memories of making a big model of HMS Hood with The Searchers on the radio in the background singing ‘Ain’t Gonna Kiss Ya’. Strange how music can imprint pictures in the brain.
My favourite aircraft construction kit was a Swordfish – I marvelled how this hugely-successful biplane was put together, with a lethal torpedo slung beneath its fuselage.
Among the measures used by Britain to protect beleaguered convoys in the Second World War was a unique type of ship which catapulted fighter aircraft into action. Read more…
31 January 2011 by stepheng
The Victorian child’s brass telescope attracted my eye in the cluttered window of the old junk shop in Mount Pleasant, Liverpool. After some cajoling, it was mine and I was soon down at the river scrutinising the great ships coming and going from the docks.
I still have the little telescope bought all those years ago and continue to be fascinated by the hidden worlds revealed by lenses.
The invention of the telescope helped transform safety at sea as mariners could now see distant shorelines and other vessels not easily visible to the human eye. Read more…