Anger at QE2 ‘loot­ing epi­demic’ claim

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TRIS­TAN STE­WART-ROBERT­SON

CLAIMS of a “loot­ing epi­demic” on the fa­mous QE2 liner as it was be­ing built in Cly­de­bank have been branded “non­sense”.

The decades-old ru­mours got a re­newed air­ing in the first episode of a new doc­u­men­tary se­ries on Channel 5. It sug­gested “she very nearly didn’t come into ex­is­tence at all as strikes and loot­ing blighted her cre­ation”.

Or­gan­is­ers of a one-day con­fer­ence in Cly­de­bank last year to mark the ves­sel’s 50th birth­day said they were dis­ap­pointed, as did MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.

The pro­gramme was full of praise for the QE2 as a “by­word for ex­trav­a­gance” and the “fastest pas­sen­ger ship ever built in Bri­tain – even when go­ing back­wards”.

But it also con­cluded “the town was left dev­as­tated when the yard shut” and showed near ghost-town images of Cly­de­bank, such as a shop­ping trol­ley in front John Browns bar and the Ti­tan Crane from dif­fer­ent an­gles.

Chris Frame, quoted in the doc­u­men­tary as a mar­itime his­to­rian, said the QE2 was de­layed go­ing into ser­vice be­cause of the work­ers.

He said: “Not only were there in­dus­trial re­la­tions is­sues which were caus­ing fur­ther de­lays, there was also a loot­ing epi­demic.”

The pro­gramme also cited “van­dal­ism with a pur­pose” to de­lay the work, such as oil be­ing thrown over car­pets.

An ex-Cu­nard PR boss claimed Cly­de­bank had a list of items for sale stolen from the ship, while for­mer QE2 so­cial di­rec­tor Lynn War­ing re­peated a tale about car­pet. She said: “We weren’t that aware [of the squir­relling] un­til they rolled out the car­pet in the Dou­ble Down room.

“This car­pet was state-of-the-art, ab­so­lutely ex­quis­ite, un­til they rolled it out and there was a big hole in it, the ex­act di­men­sions of a Glas­gow flat, even to where they cut out for where the fire­place was and the win­dows – some­one had said ‘that’ll look nice in my flat’.”

Lynda Brad­ford, born in Cly­de­bank and one of the or­gan­is­ers of last year’s con­fer­ence, told our sis­ter ti­tle the Cly­de­bank Post: “I watched the Channel 5 pro­gramme. I thought some of the film footage was good, how­ever dis­ap­pointed that once again the ship­yard strikes and pil­fer­ing was fea­tured.”

She added: “Cly­de­bank built a mag­nif­i­cent ship.”

Channel 5 has been ap­proached for com­ment.

Ship­yard work­ers in 1967 take a tea break dur­ing work on the QE2

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