Delaware Valley Shipyards and their Contribution during War

Over 2,400 ships, boats, and barges built by over 200,000 shipyard workers in 31 shipyards large and small.


The Ship That Saved Malta, Sun Ship Built SS Ohio, Chris Mayger 1973

A presentation by Dan Cashin, Rigger Instructor – Philadelphia Navy Yard and Philly (Aker) Shipyard

With the major ship information courtesy of Tim Colton at

Tuesday, December 10, 2019   7:30 PM

The painting depicts the struggle of the SS Ohio, the Sun Ship all-welded tanker, during “Operation Pedestal.” This convoy was tasked with resupplying the fortress island of Malta in August 1942. Our story is about the Ohio, and her many Delaware Valley sister ships, which struggled through the worst the enemy threw at her and succeeded.

Combat, first and foremost, requires heroics and steadfastness; it also requires tons of food, water, shelter, mail, weapons, ammo, fuel, medicine, and a myriad of mundane things needed to keep a human being operating in a distant, hostile environment. In the tri-state area 31 ship and boat yards, with over 200,000 workers, built over 2,400 ships, boats, and barges. 

Prominent builders were the Big Three shipyards of Chester’s Sun Ship, Camden’s New York Ship, and Philadelphia’s Navy Yard and providing no less support were Wilmington’s Dravo and Pusey & Jones, and Kensington’s Cramp. These 6 yards built 20 aircraft carriers, 4 battleships, 2 battle cruisers, 20 cruisers, 14 submarines, 294 tankers, 78 cargo ships, 39 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 6 hospital ships, 16 LSTs, 9 repair ships, 213 landing ships and craft plus hundreds of smaller vessels and landing craft.

In addition, there were over 20 smaller yacht, barge, and boat builders that provided the absolutely vital support vessels needed to get the supplies to their final destination. Nowhere was their contribution more vital than through the efforts of over 400 LCM(3)s built in Wilmington by Bethlehem Steel at the old Harlan & Hollingsworth yard. Any beachhead photo will have a picture of one of these  vessels on the beach disgorging men and machines.

Our story is also about the thousands of unskilled men and women who came to the yards and quickly learned their trades, patriotically coming to work each day in the heat, the cold, the dirt, and the danger to turn out the weapons arming the men and ships of the Navy. 

More information on shipyards at

The Historical Society of Frankford
1507 Orthodox Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Tuesday, December 10, 2019   7:30 PM
Parking is available in the lot across the street thanks to Frankford Friends