North Carolina-Liberty Ships-December 13


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-December 13

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Last week was the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. A lot of ships were lost in that attack. North Carolina actually had a role in replacing part of what the US and its allies needed in WW II.

pearl-harbor

When war broke out Europe in September 1939, the merchant fleet was caught unprepared to handle a massive sealift of war material. With continental Europe under German control, and Great Britain under devastating air attack, President Franklin Roosevelt decided to increase the pace of production to provide ships to America’s British allies. The result was the emergency fleet program, which introduced the assembly-line production of standardized ships–the Liberty ships–in 1941.

liberty-ship

A total of 2,710 Liberty ships were completed.

Along the Tar Heel coast maritime industries mobilized with the coming of World War II. Mine sweepers were built at New Bern and submarine chasers at Elizabeth City; naval repair stations operated at Morehead City and Southport.

By far the largest construction effort of the war, the building of 243 Liberty Ships and other cargo vessels took place at a shipyard on the Cape Fear River three miles south of downtown Wilmington.  Workers there could complete a ship, from the laying of the keel to launch, in 25 days.

Photo below shows a Liberty Ship being launched into Cape Fear River.

liberty-ship-cape-fear-river

 

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