Written By: Gregory J. Hansard
During World War I, two German surface raiders sought harbor to make repairs at Hampton Roads after sinking twenty-five merchant ships. Allied ships nearby kept them from leaving, so more than eight hundred German sailors took up residence at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia. They built their own miniature German village, visited family and friends and attended social events in the community. Their presence made the shipyard a major tourist area before the United States entered the war. Historian Gregory J. Hansard presents the fascinating story of how Hampton Roads was a haven of safety for German sailors during World War I.