On March 22 at noon, Gregory J. Hansard will deliver a Banner Lecture entitled “‘Haven of Safety’: The Kaiser’s Courteous Pirates in Hampton Roads.”
During World War I, two German surface raiders sought harbor to make repairs at Hampton Roads after sinking 25 merchant ships. British and French ships nearby kept them from leaving Newport News, so more than 800 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.
Mr. Hansard teaches history and museum studies at John Tyler Community College. He previously worked at the Virginia Historical Society as Manager of Web and Digital Resources and as Assistant Editor of Publications. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, where he played varsity baseball, and a masters of arts in history from Virginia State University. He is the author of German Sailors in Hampton Roads: A World War I Story at the Norfolk Navy Yard.