‘Sunderland, 1943: With the future of Britain uncertain, the shipyard girls fight to keep their lives on an even keel‘
– Triumph of the Shipyard Girls
Triumph of the Shipyard Girls is the eighth instalment of the Sunday Times bestselling series by Nancy Revell. Published on March 19th with Arrow, this series is inspired by Nancy Revell’s own close family links to the Sunderland shipyards and her campaign to get the brave women who worked there during WWII recognised for their service.
I am delighted to be joining Nancy on tour today with an extract from the book and additional information, so I do hope you enjoy.
[ About the Book ]
Sunderland, 1943: With the future of Britain uncertain, the shipyard girls fight to keep their lives on an even keel.
Head-welder Rosie is just about managing to keep her double life hidden from little sister Charlotte’s prying eyes. But Charlotte senses something is up and, with a secret this big, the truth is bound to come out.
After a whirlwind wedding, Polly must bid farewell to her sweetheart as he returns to the front line.
And there is something odd about yard manager Helen’s newest recruit Bel. But in resolving to uncover the truth, Helen might discover more than she bargained for…
Only by rallying together will the shipyard girls triumph.
[ Extract ]
J.L. Thompson & Sons, North Sands, SunderlandBoxing Day 1942
As they walked out into the stillness of the shipyard, Helen looked around and took in the metal and concrete landscape she loved so much. It was a love that had grown greater since the start of the war, as the importance of what they did had increased tenfold. For the ships they built and repaired were crucial to the war effort. Without the cargo vessels and warships that this yard produced, along with
dozens of other shipyards across the length and breadth of the country, the war would quite simply be lost.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever been here when it’s so quiet,’ Dr Parker said as he buttoned up his overcoat against the icy-cold air.
As if in defiance of the peace, the clanking of steel suddenly sounded out from the platers’ shed.
Dr Parker looked askance at Helen.
‘We’ve still got a skeleton staff keeping things ticking over,’ she explained.
Five minutes later they had left the confines of the yard and were scrunching through thick snow along the promenade. Daylight was starting to fade, although there was still enough light to see the grey waters of the North Sea and the outline of the lighthouse on the North pier.
‘So . . .’ Dr Parker looked up at the darkening skies. The clouds looked heavy with yet more snow. ‘I’m guessing that Tommy will be somewhere over the Atlantic by now?’
He tried to sound casual, but he was desperate to know how Helen was feeling about the departure of the man he knew she had loved all her life. The man who had just married another woman.
‘I’d say so,’ Helen said, pulling up the cuff of her coat sleeve and looking at her watch. ‘It’s gone half four. I know his flight was at one – so, allowing for delays, and the time difference, I’d say he’d be there by now.’ A worried look fell across her face. ‘God willing.’
They walked for a while in silence. The snow glinting with a sparkling topcoat – the result of the morning’s fall. Eventually it was Dr Parker who spoke.
‘So, how are you feeling about everything?’ he ventured, his mind still on Tommy.
Helen sighed. ‘Well, a little confused, to be honest.’ Dr Parker’s heart sank. They had not talked openly about Tommy since the day Helen had declared her love for him at the hospital. That had been over two months ago, and Helen had barely mentioned it since.
‘Well,’ Helen said, ‘I was thinking last night when I was trying, unsuccessfully, to sleep . . .’
Dr Parker felt an ache in his chest. His heart.
‘ . . . I was thinking,’ she said, ‘trying to work out that if Bel is related to my mother – and to me for that matter – then what are the possible options?’
Dr Parker was momentarily confused. Had Helen deliberately avoided talking about Tommy and her feelings for him? Or was she genuinely obsessing about Bel? Sometimes he thought he could read Helen like a book; at other times she was a complete and utter mystery.
[ Bio ]
Nancy Revell is the pen name of writer and journalist Amanda Revell Walton, who has worked for the national press for the past 25 years, providing them with hard-hitting news stories and in-depth features. She has also worked for just about every woman’s magazine, writing amazing and inspirational true life stories.
Nancy Revell is spearheading a campaign to honour the real women of the Sunderland shipyards in her home town with a new public statue that will be displayed within the historic Sunderland Shipyards. Nancy has worked closely with the Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Soroptimists, a worldwide volunteer service organization for women, and after putting out a call on her own social media channels, Nancy was approached by local artist Rosanne Robertson who has been commissioned to create the statue that will be unveiled later this year.
Sunderland boasted the largest shipyard in Europe during WWII, and produced a quarter of Britain’s merchant shipping at the time. When the men went away to war, the courageous Shipyard Girls took up the back breaking work building ships for the British Navy. Due to its size, the Sunderland Shipyards were a key target of Hitler’s Blitzkreig, making the work not only backbreaking but incredibly dangerous. Historians have estimated that without the courageous women working in Sunderlands’ shipyards during the war, WWII could very likely have been lost due to lack of ability to transport troops, provisions and ammunition.
Twitter ~ @arevellwalton