Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard

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HMS Calder (K349) under construction as USS Formoe (DE-58), with USS Foss (DE-59) on the right at the Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard

The Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard of Hingham, Massachusetts, was a shipyard in the United States from 1940 until 1945. Located on Hewitts Cove, it was owned by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company and operated by the nearby Fore River Shipyard. During the three and a half years that the yard was operational, it produced 277 ships,[1] including a destroyer escort delivered in 23 days.[2]

History[edit]

Shortly before the entry of the United States into World War II, the United States Navy began designs on destroyer escorts and commissioned Bethlehem Steel to be the major contractor. Because Bethlehem's shipyards were operating at full capacity, there was need to build a new shipyard. A location for a shipyard was chosen in Hingham, Massachusetts, at the site of the former Bayside Airport.[3] Within weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a survey team arrived in Hingham and crews worked around the clock to clear 150 acres of land. After the land was cleared, a steel mill stretching a third of a mile was erected, and wooden cradles that would hold each ship were built.[1] Sixteen ways were also constructed at the yard, which was managed by the nearby Fore River Shipyard.[4]

Facing a lack of skilled labor, 400 shipbuilders were brought in to train a workforce that totaled 15,000 within a year. Included in this number were 2,500 women due to a lack of available men.[1]

A simplified process was created to streamline how ships were constructed at the time. Steel would be first cut into patterns, numbered, and then welded together separate of the ship, building the ship from the ground up by this process. This enabled a construction rate of around six ships a month. As a result, the Navy ordered sixty ships to be delivered in 1943, a quota which was matched and exceeded when the yard produced ninety ships that year, for which it was awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award.[1] The nearby Fore River Shipyard had earned the same honor the previous year.[2]

Around this time, orders in the yard shifted from destroyer escorts to Landing Ship Tank craft, which were first delivered in 1944. The last ship delivered at the shipyard was LST 1080, which was delivered on 29 May 1945.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "The History of Hingham Shipyard – From the documentary Remembering the Hingham Shipyard". Hingham Shipyard Marinas. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Rines, Lawrence S.; Sarcone, Anthony F. "A History of Shipbuilding at Fore River". Thomas Crane Public Library. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Southeastern Massachusetts". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Bethlehem-Hingham, Hingham MA". Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company. ISBN 978-0-87021-773-9. 

Coordinates: 42°15′5.37″N 70°55′3.55″W / 42.2514917°N 70.9176528°W / 42.2514917; -70.9176528