WW2 shipyards

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by TriciaF, Sep 4, 2018.

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  1. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    I've bought a book called Tyneside in the 2nd World War. Written by a local man.
    There were a few shipyards along the Tyne, and I was surprised to see that many of the workers were women and teenage boys. Welding riveting caulking etc.
    I haven't finished reading it yet, but I believe the Tyne shipyards kept going throughout the war, repairing and building ships. In spite of the very heavy bombing in the area.
    One of my uncles was an engineer at one of the yards, can't remember which one, not Swan Hunters.
    I wonder if the young lads were volunteers, or conscripts?
     
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    At the start of the war my father, then a 15 year old school leaver, worked at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. I have his Indenture papers somewhere but I know that he was apprenticed for 5 yrs, as a Fitter. However he volunteered for Irish Guards aged 18. (NI was not subject to conscription.)

    He also mentioned that when the shipyard was bombed during the Belfast Blitz, none of the apprentices were allowed to return to work until clearance work had been carried out.
    Belfast Blitz Luftwaffe interview
     
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  5. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Fantastic stories, dbf .Thanks :)
    Shows what young people can do if the time needs them.
    And congratulations to your father, I've heard of Harland and Wolff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Dad would've ended up in H&W, war or no war. His parents arranged the apprenticeship for him, his father having worked there previously as a clerk.

    My husband's grandfather also worked in H&W but died in 1943 as a result of infection contracted after a work accident. Hot rivets fell out of a bucket above him burning him badly.


    Harland and Wolff - Wikipedia
    "The shipyard was busy in the Second World War, building six aircraft carriers, two cruisers (including HMS Belfast) and 131 other naval ships; and repairing over 22,000 vessels. It also manufactured tanks and artillery components. It was in this period that the company's workforce peaked at around 35,000 people. However, many of the vessels built in this era were commissioned right at the end of World War II, as Harland and Wolff were focused on ship repair in the first three years of the war. The yard on Queen's Island was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe in April and May 1941 causing considerable damage to the shipbuilding facilities and destroying the aircraft factory."
     
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  7. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I know that Vickers-Armstrong had a factory there (at Elswick) that built Valentine tanks and then Archer tank destroyers. I am guessing that would be at least one of the tank factories involved.

    edit: a whole lot of photos there: Armstrong Vickers: Workshop of the World
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  8. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    HMS Kelly was repaired at Palmers Shipyard in Hebburn in 1940 after losing her bows, there were other yards at Wallsend (Swan Hunters), there was the Naval Yard at Walker

    More info at : Tyne Built Ships & Shipbuilders
     
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  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    GLASGOW SHIPYARD: SHIPBUILDING IN WARTIME

    GLASGOW SHIPYARD: SHIPBUILDING IN WARTIME, GLASGOW, LANARKSHIRE, SCOTLAND, UK, 1944
    Two young boys working in the shipyard
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer
    Catalogue number: D 20810
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    GLASGOW SHIPYARD: SHIPBUILDING IN WARTIME, GLASGOW, LANARKSHIRE, SCOTLAND, UK, 1944
    Informal portrait of a shipyard worker.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer
    Catalogue number: D 20829
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    GLASGOW SHIPYARD: SHIPBUILDING IN WARTIME, GLASGOW, LANARKSHIRE, SCOTLAND, UK, 1944
    Informal portrait of a welder in the shipyard.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer
    Catalogue number: D 20852
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION
     
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  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    MEN AND WOMEN BEHIND BRITAIN'S SHIPS. MAY 1945, YARROW'S NAVAL SHIPYARD, GLASGOW.
    Object description
    Mary McCleod, of the Outer Hebrides, who came down to Clydeside as a shipyard worker, welding on the deck of a destroyer.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Catalogue number: A 29109
    Part of ADMIRALTY OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    MEN AND WOMEN BEHIND BRITAIN'S SHIPS. MAY 1945, HARLAND AND WOLFF'S SHIPYARD, GOVAN, GLASGOW.
    William Perry of Glasgow, marking beams. He has worked in the yard for 29 years.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Catalogue number: A 29127
    Part of ADMIRALTY OFFICIAL COLLECTION
     
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  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    IN A BRITISH SHIPYARD: EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY, UK, 1943
    A portrait of a young apprentice fitter at a shipyard, somewhere in Britain.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Beaton, Cecil, Ministry of Information official photographer
    Catalogue number: DB 149
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    IN A BRITISH SHIPYARD: EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY, UK, 1943
    A portrait of a young apprentice fitter as he sits on a large pile of cables at a shipyard, somewhere in Britain.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Beaton, Cecil, Ministry of Information official photographer
    Catalogue number: DB 153
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    CECIL BEATON PHOTOGRAPHS: TYNESIDE SHIPYARDS, 1943
    A boy, who is an apprentice fitter, sits on some canisters posing for the photographer.
    image.png
    Category: photographs
    Related period: Second World War (production), Second World War (content)
    Creator: Beaton, Cecil, Ministry of Information official photographer
    Catalogue number: DB 151
    Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION


    Search objects | Imperial War Museums
     
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  12. HA96

    HA96 Member

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  13. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Before my father was called up in July 1940, he was a fitter's mate at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, where my grandfather was also employed. They both worked on the aircraft carrier Ark Royal (launched 1937) and on the battleship Prince of Wales (launched 1939). On the Ark, they helped install the anti-aircraft guns and my grandfather later went out on the carrier’s sea trials.

    Cammell Laird, founded in 1824 as the Birkenhead Ironworks, was in its heyday one of the world’s most famous shipyards and built many warships. It launched a ship every 20 days during the Second World War.

    In August 1940, while being fitted out at the wet basin in Laird’s, the Prince of Wales was damaged by a German bomb, but was quickly repaired. The Ark Royal was sunk by a U-boat in the Mediterranean in November 1941. The Prince of Wales was sunk by the Japanese in the South China Sea in December 1941, along with the battlecruiser Repulse during the battle for Singapore.

    After the war, my father worked on the second aircraft carrier named Ark Royal, launched at Laird’s in 1950. After many ups and downs, Cammell Laird is once again in business and in July this year launched the polar research ship Sir David Attenborough, aka Boaty McBoatface.
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  15. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    This is a celebrated picture of the 1950 Ark Royal taken by Edward Chambre Hardman from Holt Hill, Birkenhead, looking down on Laird's yard. He entitled it The Birth of the Ark Royal ...

    Birth of the Ark Royal by E. Chambré Hardman
     
  16. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    HA96 wrote:
    "Real good stories, let me add one from Germany. A 14 year old carpenter apprentice worked in a POW camp repairing fences and ramming wooden barriers underneath the perimeter fence to avoid these Brits to dig tunnels. At the age of 16, he was fisent east to fight the Russians."
    Conscription of young teenagers - yet another example of the disregard of human life by those 'in charge' at times of war.
     
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  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Seeing the young lady with the welding gear reminds me of when one of our process operators had a disagreement regarding the definition of skill.This was between an operator running an electrical generating unit and a maintenance fitter.

    We had fitters who tuned up coal pulversing mills..... tensioning up the mill rollers and minor servicing.The operator was driving a 100 Mw generating unit and a fitter declared he was more skillful than the operator.The operator turned round and said don't be silly, my wife as a young woman had 6 weeks training on welding,then she was on the line welding tanks at Chilwell.(Nottingham)

    Proof that training is the key.Ascertain the aptitude for the role, then train to achieve ability for the particular role....fundamental in harnessing labour as those involved in war production proved.
     

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