Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our main image this week shows sappers from the Royal Engineers and US soldiers handling cargo at Liverpool docks in June 1942.

They are busy unloading one of the first American ships bringing supplies to the UK during World War II – six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941.

The crates contain much-needed provisions, including peas and salmon, during a time of rationing.

Liverpool was the focal point for shipments from the USA throughout the war, particularly after the signing of the Anglo-American Mutual Aid Agreement in February 1942.

The agreement allowed the allies to provide each other with goods, services and mutual aid without charging commercial payments.

Second World War
Mersey River Festival 2017 and the Tallships in the docks on the waterfront
In effect, the USA supplied the UK, British Commonwealth, Free France, China and later the Soviet Union with food, oil, warships, aircraft and weapons in exchange for leases on army and naval bases.

Canada, which traded extensively with Liverpool, adopted a similar programme called Mutual Aid.

The scale of ‘lend-lease’ up to 1945 was immense. More than 50 billion dollars’ worth of US aid was shipped – the equivalent of nearly 600 billion dollars today. The lion’s share of shipments, worth 31.4 billion dollars, went to the UK.

Very different craft are moored at the docks in our modern image from June 2017. The occasion is the Mersey River Festival which included spectacular tall ships from Denmark and Russia.

*Unmissable wartime images from Liverpool and the North West are included in Clive Hardy’s latest hardback book The Home Front – Britain 1939-45. It’s available at the special price of £14.99 plus postage and packing.

Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.