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Betaque, H. A. | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Betaque, H. A.
Variant Name: Harry Betaque
Fuller Form: Harry Andrew Betaque

Historical Note:

Harry Andrew Betaque worked as an inspector and later as a resident representative for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation from 1918 to 1921. The US Shipping Board sought to expand the United States' merchant marines during and after the First World War. Because of steel and lumber shortages during the First World War, the government turned to concrete as an affordable alternative. Thus, the Emergency Fleet Corporation created its Concrete Ship Section and began building concrete ships. The Faith, built in 1917, was the first concrete ship built in the US.

Having worked as a civil engineer in Washington State, and as the Head of Hull Construction, Betaque appears to have begun work with the Emergency Fleet Corporation in 1918 when he was appointed the resident inspector for the construction of the Atlantus, a concrete ship built by the Liberty Shipbuilding Company in Brunswick, GA.

After the completion of the Atlantus, the Emergency Fleet Corporation transferred Betaque to San Diego as the Resident Representative to oversee the Pacific Marine Construction Company's construction of two sister ships, the SS San Pasqual and the SS Cuyamaca. Although the San Diego Yard had been commissioned to build a total of eight concrete ships, the US Shipping Board ceased concrete construction in 1921 because of a surplus of steel ships freed for use at the conclusion of World War I.  The San Pasqual and Cuyamaca were the only two concrete ships built in San Diego.  That same year, the US Shipping Board transferred the ship yard to the Navy, creating today's Naval Yard. Betaque left San Diego and pursued oil interests in Louisiana.

Betaque had a wife, Cora, and two sons, Harry and Norman.


Eberhart, Robert. "Concrete Shipbuilding in San Diego, 1918-1920." Journal of San Diego History 42:2 (Spring 1995).

Note Author: Amanda Lanthorne

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