Although his home was an elegant Victorian mansion, it was in the heart of industrial Bootle. He would have been aware of the sounds and smells of that industry; the smell of treacle being made just over the road on Merton Grove, or biscuits being made next to the corn mills on the other side of the canal, and the sight of smoke from the toffee factory chimney 1/4 mile away. Perhaps on his way to work, he would watch the canal barges delivering coal to the docks and canal side factories, or watch the cargo being unloaded at Carolina Street; maybe destined for his own ship.
Although Merseyside became a target for the Luftwaffe as early as August 1940 and remained a target for as long as the Luftwaffe was able to put bombers over it (Jan 1942), the first full week of May 1941 is known locally as The May Blitz. There were no guided weapons at that point in history, and bomb aiming was very much a hit and miss (more miss than hit) affair. Consequently, during that first week of May, 74% of the housing in Liverpool and Bootle was either destroyed or structurally damaged. Damage was so extensive that clearance of bomb damaged buildings is still going on today.