“World War II Rhode Island” by By Christian McBurney, Brian L. Wallin, Patrick T. Conley, John W. Kennedy and Maureen A. Taylor. Lecture by Christian McBurney.
Rhode Island’s contribution to World War II vastly exceeded its small size. In Narragansett Bay at Quonset Point, they included the Northeast’s largest naval air station and the main training center for the Seabees. In Newport and Aquidneck Island, they included the nation’s most important torpedo production facilities, a naval training station for some 500,000 sailors, and the nation’s main PT boat training center. Three special, top-secret German POW camps were based in Narragansett and Jamestown. Meanwhile, Rhode Island workers from all over the state—including for the first time many women—made their contributions by manufacturing military equipment and building warships, including the famed Liberty ships. The war’s final German U-boat was attacked and sunk off Point Judith. As the date of the lecture will be the anniversary of the raid on Pearl Harbor, there will be a focus on the state’s reaction to it and its own scare of an enemy raid shortly afterwards.
Christian McBurney is an independent historian who has written seven books on Rhode Island and/or the Revolutionary War. He is also the publisher and editor of Rhode Island’s leading state history blog, smallstatebighistory.com. He grew up in Kingston and attended Brown University, and is now an attorney in a Washington, D.C. law firm and resides in Kensington, Maryland.
Free and open to the public
No reservations required