The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Leith Shipyards

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The War Years

The Leith Shipyard was to be at full working capacity from day one of the Second World War.
Of course their were many other ships that required to be built during the war and not just warships, the fact that no less than five commercial orders were cancelled to make way for the full production of warships (Ship Nos 301 to 305) but the commercial world of shipping needed ships as well, so the first of such ships were tugs built for the Manchester Canal.


HMS DIANTHUS the sharp face of wartime shipbuilding.



M.S.C. NEPTUNE one of the non naval ships built during the war, as some commercial orders still had to be fulfilled.

A total of five orders on the books at the time of the outbreak of hostilities were cancelled to make way for the required effort needed to be able to produce and launch a ship for every week of the long fives years or so of war.

The normal working week in the shipyards was at this time 45 hours per week, and with the increased levels of production required at this time, the government of the day introduced a mandatory further two hours to the normal working week for the men, who were of course exempt from being called up for duty in the armed forces. (The shipyards were regarded as a Reserved Occupation) so the normal working week was increased to 47 hours per week, along with the need for every man to work overtime, it is safe to say that most of the men would have been working a 60 hour week. (with paid overtime of course) And while they did not have to contend with the fighting on the front, they did have to prepare for the enevitable air strikes by the enemy, and Henry Robb had its own "Home Guard" Company.
A newspare cutting sent to me some time ago, showing the Henry Robb Company of the Home Guard. 

 To be continued.

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