May Blitz - Reflection by Canon Philip


Read Canon Philip's reflection for Thursday, 6 May, 2021.

In the early days of May 1941 the Luftwaffe brought terror to Liverpool, the last sustained bombing of a British city before Germany turned its firepower East, invading an unprepared Soviet Union later that month. The so-called May Blitz became part of our folklore, and for a certain generation of older Liverpudlians it is something they remember vividly, having endured nights in air raid shelters, or under the stairs, in childhood or early adulthood.

But for those of us who grew up in peace, with only the scars in the city’s built environment as evidence, a recording released by the BBC last weekend is well worth hearing. One of the Corporation’s sound engineers, a Scouser, with the gentle accent of that era, took up recording equipment to a tower where the fire watchers were, in the middle of one of the night-time raids. He describes how St Luke’s church at the top of Bold Street, ‘the bombed out church’ had succumbed, because the firemen couldn’t get any water, bombs having shattered the water mains. And as we hear the blasts all around him he describes how the local people are coming out with buckets, asking to firemen for some water, to make tea, but they can’t have any. It’s a poignant and almost comical detail in the middle of the tragedy. Many lost their lives.

As we remember, we pray for peace, and commit ourselves to being peace-makers. Our Cathedral was being built in the middle of this destruction, a sign of hope, by the people, to the glory of God. As we prepare to welcome the city and diocese next month, with our further reopening, and the installation of the Peace Doves in the Well, we ask that many would encounter and drink deeply from God’s peace, in our hospitality and worship.

You can listen to the recording here, from c. 25 minutes in:

Canon Philip 

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