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PETER MARSH was born in Greenwich, right at the heart of Britain’s maritime heritage, and was soon smitten with a love of small boats and sailing. For a while he combined a career in teaching with time spent boat-building, offshore racing and voyaging under sail, but a chance visit to the United States convinced him to sell his boat and emigrate. After travelling widely, he eventually settled in Portland and returned to a sailing life, exploring large parts of the Pacific Northwest in a boat he built himself. These adventures gave him the raw material for articles in regional boating magazines, his first published works. Success in this field led him into a career as a freelance journalist and he widened his scope to cover all aspects of local maritime interest from fishing to commercial shipping.


In the course of this work he became friends with Larry Barber, the retired marine editor of the local newspaper, The Oregonian, and on Barber’s death in 1996 he inherited his substantial archive of papers and photographs. It took some time to realise the value of what he had been given, but a visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy led him to look more closely at Barber’s wartime material. Slowly it became evident that the diaries and pictures recorded in unique detail the largely overlooked story of Oregon’s massive contribution to the World War II shipbuilding effort. Peter has spent the last five years sorting, collating and editing the material, while also researching the background, and this book is the result.