BEACHLEY and the First World War
"The Story of a Shipyard, a Railway and the Transformation of a Rural Parish"
A very interesting book on an unusual subject, which manages to embrace local history, railways, shipbuilding, World War 1 military and naval matters and industrial archaeology.
Beachley is a village near the tip of the peninsula which forms the northern bank of the River Wye where it enters the River Severn downriver from Chepstow. Historically Beachley had been largely a farming and fishing community, but in 1917 the inhabitants were given 10 days to leave by the government, which was going to build a large shipyard there in reaction to the success of the German Navy’s ‘U’ boat campaign.
A railway was laid, and the considerable shipyard was eventually built, mainly by German POWs, but never built any ships as the tide of the war turned. The shipyard was sold and dismantled, although parts became the Army Apprentices College, which lasted until 1994.
It had been intended that the yard would build a range of ‘Standard and Fabricated Ships’, of which a number were built, but not at Beachley.
192 pages of fascinating reading, crammed with archive photographs and including detail maps. Hardbound.