Morecambeology - Morecambe’s Men o’ War by Peter Wade

The years of the Great War were relatively quiet at Ward’s Shipbreakers in Morecambe with only the liner SS Majestic, an oil tanker the Spiraea, and a couple of paddle steamers, the Berry Castle and Koh-i-Noor, to work on.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 3:39 pm
During World War I and for several years afterwards the main source of employment in Morecambe was the shipbreakers’ yard at the old harbour (Stone Jetty).  It was owned by Wards and their football team was one of the best in the North Lancashire & District League.  This is the team which won the Division II championship in season 1919-20 and the majority of young men in the photograph have been named with the exception of one on the back row.
Back row from left: George Bland, Tom Holding, Jim Cartmel, Tom Woodhouse, Billy Elkin, Fred Dixon, George Rowe, Tom Siddle, Casey Binns, Walter Spencer, Sammy Randles, Len Dixon, Colin Mayor
Middle row from left: Harry Stephenson, Dan Woodhouse, Jimmy Willacy
Front row from left: Tom Hayton, Jack Thornton, Fred Woodhouse, Ted Helme, Fred Fisher.
During World War I and for several years afterwards the main source of employment in Morecambe was the shipbreakers’ yard at the old harbour (Stone Jetty). It was owned by Wards and their football team was one of the best in the North Lancashire & District League. This is the team which won the Division II championship in season 1919-20 and the majority of young men in the photograph have been named with the exception of one on the back row. Back row from left: George Bland, Tom Holding, Jim Cartmel, Tom Woodhouse, Billy Elkin, Fred Dixon, George Rowe, Tom Siddle, Casey Binns, Walter Spencer, Sammy Randles, Len Dixon, Colin Mayor Middle row from left: Harry Stephenson, Dan Woodhouse, Jimmy Willacy Front row from left: Tom Hayton, Jack Thornton, Fred Woodhouse, Ted Helme, Fred Fisher.

The first half of the 1920s, however, saw a number of ships arrive which had seen service in the Great War from HMS Adventure, a river gunboat of 1891, to HMS Glasgow, a light cruiser of 1909. HMS Adventure had patrolled the Humber guarding against air attack by Zeppelins.

HMS Mersey, a Humber class monitor, had taken part in the Battle of the River Yser in 1914. This was actually a land battle at the coastal end of the Western Front and the Mersey bombarded German positions. HMS Mersey had also helped sink the battleship Konigsberg off East Africa in 1915.

HMS Glasgow took part in the Battle of the Falklands in 1914 helping foil a German raid on Port Stanley and all but destroying the German East Asian Squadron. In a follow-up operation, the crew of the Glasgow rescued a pig from the sea which they adopted as a mascot.

HMS Glasgow.

Two unusual ships of the Great War were the Edgar and Pegasus. HMS Edgar was a lister ship, having a double hull to protect against torpedo attack.

HMS Pegasus of 1917 was an early aircraft/seaplane carrier. She was part of the Grand Fleet in the North Sea but saw no action.

After the Great War she was part of a British intervention in the Russian civil war against the Bolsheviks.

The Pegasus was the last of the ships to be broken up at Ward’s in Morecambe in 1931.

The harbour at Morecambe (unknown date). An aerial view of Morecambe Works. The stone jetty in the foreground is 720 feet long, and the wooden jetty is 500 feet long. The largest vessel is HMS Diadem, and behind is the German submarine U101 and HMS Albion in the last stages of demolition. Vessels at the wooden jetty are HMS Mersey, Adventure, Kempenfest and Peyton. "Stone Jetty, Ward's Ship Breakers and Midland Hotel, Morecambe thanks to JT" by mrrobertwade (wadey).