My research has moved on now to Liverpool during the second world war.
Liverpool suffered the most appalling bomb damage from late 1940 until May 1941 peaking with the seven night May Blitz. The Commander in Chief of the German Navy General Admiral Erich Raeder wanted to destroy Liverpool as he believed that this would effectively cut off Britain from it's supply route via the Atlantic. His plan was to bomb the city to such an extent that the docks would be destroyed and the supply ships from America which were bringing much needed food, fuel, raw materials, weapons and troops into the country would be stopped. His plan would have starved Britain into a surrender. Fortunately Hitler didn't listen to him and even though the city and it's people suffered during the many air attacks they were not on a sufficient scale to close the docks. By the end of the Blitz 69 out of 114 cargo berths had been closed and if the bombing had continued for just a couple of nights more the docks would have been totally destroyed.
I find it incredible to believe that during the May Blitz 681 planes dropped 870 tonnes of explosives and 122,000 fire bombs making 76,000 people homeless and killing 1,700 and none of this was reported in the national press.
Obviously I need to be able to put my characters into an historical context but more importantly I need to know how ordinary people went about their everyday life, going to work during the blackout, trying to feed a family on rations, where do you sleep when your house has been destroyed in an air raid. The National Museum of Liverpool has been a treasure trove of information and their Nuggets of Knowledge website has been good starting point for my research. For example, did you know that during the war there was an Internment Camp in Huyton? The authorities fenced in a council estate and turned it into a temporary holding camp for Germans, Austrian and Italian internees before sending them to the Isle of Man. However in July 1940 a ship deporting the internees was sunk and 682 people died on the Arandora Star, there was a huge public outcry about the deportations and the government were forced to stop the practice. The camp was then to become home to hundreds of internees until the end of the war.