From welding to operating machinery, the women that worked in Barrow’s Shipyard during World War 2 covered all manner of roles and jobs.


Submarines and vessels weren’t the only items built at Barrow’s Shipyard during the war. Ammunition for all types of guns and weapons was essential. In fact, in 1944 alone, Britain produced around 14 million small and heavy rounds of ammunition.

Women like Mary Tulip, Barbara Twomey and Alma Bartlett working in the shell shop, were trained within hours to use machinery to both produce the bullet casing and to pack them full of explosives.

Either occupation was dangerous and risky, and the shifts would be long and tiresome, from 8-12 hours at a time! And the women would only be paid 53% of the men’s wages for the same job.

Barrow shipyard women world war 2

Crane Operators

Crane operators just like Mary Gawne, Dorothy Bartlett, and Dorothy Walker, were crucial to the success of Barrow shipyard in the Second World War.

Barrow Shipyard was commended for its incredible versatility, during World War 2. From submarines and smaller sea vessels to large large air craft carriers, Barrow Shipyard could produce and assemble the lot. This success was due to a reorganization and re-structuring of the yard, as well as a new approach to vessel production.

This shortened the average length of construction time of a submarine at Barrow Shipyard, from from 44 weeks to just 16!

Welders, lathe operators, tracing office workers, and blade shop workers are some of the other roles represented in this collection.

Website Powered by

Up ↑