Anger at QE2 ‘looting epidemic’ claim
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