During both World Wars, the famous shipyard of Harland & Wolff built many ships for the Royal Navy.
Over the course of the Second World War, the company built six aircraft carriers, two cruisers (including HMS Belfast, now moored on the River Thames, and the warship said to have fired the first naval shots on D-Day) and 131 other ships. These included LCTs (Landing Craft, Tank) and the larger LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank): both were types used in large numbers on D-Day.
Over 22,000 vessels were also repaired or modified here during the Second World War. For example, Harland & Wolff converted LCTs into LCGs (Landing Craft, Gun). This work involved installing a new deck over the normally open tank deck of the LCT, converting the space that resulted into magazines and living quarters, and mounting two 4.7 inch guns on top of the new deck. The guns of the LCGs were used on D-Day to support Allied troops as they landed. The LCGs’ shallow draft meant that they could go much closer inshore than more conventional warships.
At its wartime peak there were about 35,000 workers at this site, which also built tanks, parts of artillery guns, and Short Stirling bombers. German bombing in 1941 caused damage to many of these facilities.
|Address||Belfast BT3 9DU, UK|
|Site Ownership and Access Information||The site is still a shipyard today and is not open to the public.|
|Contact details||Harland and Wolff can be contacted via their website. Archives relating to Harland & Wolff are held by the Archives of the University of Glasgow, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The latter includes photographs and ships' plans.|
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