Carl Henning

Hingham Shipyard

Today Hingham Shipyard is a commercial/residential* area. From 1942 through 1945 it was a very busy shipyard producing 227 ships for the US and UK navies. After Pearl Harbor the Bethlehem Shipyards needed additional capacity to meet the war time needs. It only took months to go from zero to a functional shipyard.

The long steel building went up quickly to house the preparation of the steel plates used to build the ships. There were no experienced ship builders in Hingham, so 400 experts arrived to train the workforce. In less than a year there were 15,000 workers – old men, teenagers, and men unfit for service. The young men had been drafted or enlisted. The shortage allowed 2,500 women to fill out the workforce – including as welders. The documentary History of the Hingham Shipyard interviews some of these women (and men). The documentary is a great half-hour look back.

In order to build the number of ships needed conventional plate-by-plate construction was too slow. They innovated. Sections were built in the building and welded in place on the drydock. Destroyer Escorts were desperately needed to protect the convoys carrying materiel to England. The Navy wanted 60 in 1943. The shipyard built 90!


Destroyer Escorts

From the signage at the pier (more details here):

Displacement: 1740 tons (full load)
Length: 306’0″
Beam: 370″
Draft: 136″
Speed: 23.6 knots
Complement: 15 officers, 198 enlisted

Landing Ship – Tank

Read the LST signage here.


Landing Craft – Infantry

Information from the LCI sign.


I got more excited than I expected about the Hingham Shipyard, so I’ll stop here. But if you are still interested, here are some resources:

Wikipedia. Kind of sparse.

Images at Wikimedia.

The documentary History of the Hingham Shipyard. A half-hour long and highly recommended.

List of the 227 ships built from 1942-1945. Includes their dispositions (some were sent to allies, some were used for target practice, and many were scrapped).


The other D-Day mainstay was the Higgins boat, made in New Orleans with a design suggested by the low-draft swamp boats Higgins made. 


*We were visiting the residential area to see our new great grandson. My interest in the WW2 part was piqued as we walked along the shore with a baby stroller surrounded by admirers.

One thought on “Hingham Shipyard

  1. Jeff Mine

    I read Alec Guiness’ autobiography and was tickled when he included a paragraph about traveling to Hingham to pick up and pilot his Destroyer Escort out of the harbor (or should I say harbour?)

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