Prisoners at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive Presents
Historic Portsmouth #314  

These guys were not having a good time. Although unlabeled, this image matches a similar photo in Richard Winslow’s history of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard entitled "Do Your Job!" It likely shows a work detail of military prisoners, possibly from the prison ship USS Southery around 1915. (Photo and textbelow)


They appear to be working at the massive concrete "Castle" still standing on Seavey Island in Kittery. The prison was built between 1905 and 1908 on the former Revolutionary War site of Fort Sullivan. The now-abandoned prison operated for 66 years and contained about 86,000 military inmates. The popular story that the building inspired Walt Disney’s design for Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom is not true. However, the actor Humphrey Bogart did deliver a prisoner to Portsmouth Naval Prison while serving in the Navy in WWI. Bogart himself served a brief term in stir while in the military, but not in Portsmouth. The film "The Last Detail" deals with a similar journey to the much-feared prison, but Portsmouth is not depicted in the 1973 movie. (Courtesy Strawbery Banke Collection)

Prisoners at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 1915 on Strawbery Banke Museum Collection



Prison_Ship_ Southery





Photos (c) Strawbery Banke Museum Collection
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