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Clyde Built Ships

This page contains a list of Clyde Built Ships that were some of the top ships of their time. The largest liners were built for the Atlantic Run between English ports and New York.

Other large liners were built for the Canadian Run between English Ports and Quebec, and between England and South Africa. It is claimed that over 25,000 ships have been built on the River Clyde since the first shipyard opened in 1712.


Queen Elizabeth is a 70,000 ton aircraft carrier completed in 2017. Her sister ship Prince of Wales was completed in 2019. These are the largest warship ever built in the UK. Most of the hulls of these ships were built at BAE Systems Maritime in Scotstoun on the River Clyde, 5 miles west of Glasgow centre.
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RMS Queen Elizabeth was the largest ship ever built on the River Clyde, at 83,676 tons. She was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This ship was launched on the 27th September 1938. She first entered service as a troopship during WWII, then served on the Atlantic run until 1968. This Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong Harbour, on the 9th January 1972.
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RMS Queen Mary was the second largest ship built on the River Clyde, at 80,774 tons. She was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This ship was launched on the 26th September 1934, then operated on the Atlantic run from the 27th May 1936 - 19th September 1967. She was also operated as a troopship during WWII. Queen Mary is now a museum ship docked at Long Beach in California.
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QE2 was the third largest liner built on the River Clyde at 65,863 tons. She was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This ship was launched on the 20th September 1967. The QE2 was operated on the Atlantic run, and world cruises from the 22nd April 1969, until her final voyage to Dubai on the 11th November 2008 to serve as a museum/hotel at Dubai.
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RMS Aquitania was the fourth largest liner built on the River Clyde, at 45,646 tons. She was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This ship was launched on the 21st April 1913, then operated crossing the Atlantic until scrapped in 1950. Aquitania served in the two world wars. She was one of the largest ships in service at that time, built to compete with the three Belfast built 46,000 ton ships, Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic.
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SS Empress of Britain was a 42,348 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Canadian Pacific Line. This ship entered service on the 27th May 1931, on the Canadian run between Southampton and Quebec. The Empress of Britain was sunk during WWII, off the coast of Ireland in October 1940, after being damaged by German aircraft, then finished off by a submarine.
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RMS Lusitania was a 31,550 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard for the Cunard Line. This ship entered service on the Atlantic Run on 7th September 1907. Lusitania was the fastest ship in the world at that time, breaking a number of records. She was sunk during WWI, off the coast of Ireland, on 7th May 1915, by a German submarine. 1,198 civilians lost their lives in the attack, many of which were Americans. America entered the war against Germany soon after.
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HMS Duke of York was a 42,000 ton Battleship built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank. This ship entered service in November 1941, as one of five sister ships in the King George V class. These were the main British battleships of WWII. Duke of York served throughout Europe, then in the Far East against Japan. She survived the war only to be scrapped at Faslane in about 1957.
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HMS Howe was a 42,000 ton Battleship built at Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan. This ship entered service in August 1942, as one of five sister ships in the King George V class, largest ever British battleships. HMS Howe survived the wars in Europe and the Far East, only to be scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1958.
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HMS Hood was a 41,000 ton Battle Cruiser built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank. This ship was the size of a battleship, but designed for speed with light armour. She entered service in March 1920, as the largest warship in the world, until WWII battleships began entering service in the 1940s. The Hood was sunk 24th May 1941, by the German Battleship Bismarck. Only three of her crew survived, 1,414 officers and men went down with the ship.
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HMS Indefatigable was a 22,000 ton Aircraft Carrier built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank. This ship entered service in May 1944. Indefatigable was operated in Europe before steaming to the Far East. She was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze aircraft, but remained operational. Indefatigable was scrapped at Dalmuire and Troon in 1956.
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HMS Implacable was a 22,000 ton Aircraft Carrier, built at Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan. This ship entered service in August 1944, seeing action in Europe before being deployed to the Far East. Implacable was the first British ship to be hit by a Kamikaze. Her 5-inch armoured deck saved her from any serious damage. She survived the war only to be scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1955. Implacable and Indefatigable were the two largest British carriers during WWII.
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SS Caronia was a 34,183 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the newly merged Cunard/White Star Line. Nearing completion, the company had this liner completed as a full time cruise ship. From April 1949, she was mainly operated on cruises out of New York to the West Indies and South America. Caronia sunk in 1974, when being towed to a ship breakers in Taiwan.
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MV Kungsholm was a 26,678 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Swedish America Line. This ships maiden voyage was from Gothenburg to New York on the 22nd April 1966. Kungsholm was only operated on that route now and again, as she was used more as a cruise ship. This ship had a number of owners over the years before being scrapped in India in 2016.
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SS Empress of Japan was a 26,032 ton liner built at Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan, for the Canadian Pacific Line. This ship was operated on the Pacific run between Canada and the Far East from 1930. She served throughout WWII, also operated under the name Empress of Scotland, after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour, and later as Hanseatic. This ship was scrapped at Hamburg in 1967.
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The SS Empress of Britain was a 25,500 ton liner built at Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan, for the Canadian Pacific Line in 1955. This ship, the third to use this name, was mainly used to provide a service between Liverpool or Greenock and Quebec and Montreal. She was later operated as a cruise ship under a number of names, before being scrapped in India in 2008.
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RMS Franconia was a 20,158 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This ship was operated between Liverpool and New York from 23rd June 1923 in summer, and as a cruise ship in winter. After surviving WWII as a troopship, she was operated on the Liverpool and Greenock to Quebec run. Franconia was scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1956.
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RMS Caronia was a 19,524 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, as a sister ship of the Carmania, for the Cunard Line. This ship was one of the last to be fitted with the older steam piston engines. Caronia was operated between Liverpool and New York from 25th February 1905. She was used as an armed merchant cruiser and troopship during WWI. Caronia was then used between the Atlantic run and cruising before being scrapped at Osaka/Japan in 1933.
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RMS Carmania was a 19,524 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Cunard Line. This was one of the first large ships to be fitted with steam turbine engines. Carmania was operated between Liverpool and New York from 2nd December 1905. She was operated during WWI as a merchant cruiser and a troopship. After the war, she was operated between the Atlantic run and as a cruise ship. Carmania was scrapped at Blyth/England in 1932.
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RMS Windsor Castle was an 18,697 ton liner built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the Union Castle Line. This ship was operated between Southampton and Cape Town from April 1922. Windsor Castle was operated as a troopship during WWII. She was sunk in the Mediterranean in 1943, by German aircraft. All but one of the 291 crew and 2,699 servicemen on board were rescued.
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The SS Empress of Ireland was a 14,191 ton liner built at Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan, for the Canadian Pacific Line. This ship was operated between Liverpool and Quebec from 29th June 1906. The Empress of Ireland sunk 29th May 1914, after colliding with the Norwegian collier ship Storstad, close to the mouth of the St Lawrence River. This was the worst ever-Canadian maritime disaster, as 1,012 of the Empress of Ireland's passengers and crew lost their lives.
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SS City of New York was a 10,508 ton steamship built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, for the American based Inman Line. This was the first twin propeller ship operated on the Atlantic run from 1888. Her sister ship City of Paris, built by J & G Thomson of Clydebank, entered service the following year. These were the fastest ships on the Atlantic run at that time, capable of 20 knots. These ships were scrapped in 1922 and 1923.
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Glenlee is a 1,613 ton sailing vessel completed in 1896 by Anderson Rodger & Company of Port Glasgow, for the Glen-line of the Glasgow shipping company Archibald Sterling & Co. Ltd. This ship was a bulk cargo carrier that circumnavigated the globe four times. She was owned by the Spanish navy from 1922 to 1981. The Glenlee is now berthed at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow to serve as a museum ship.
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For a more Ships built on the River Clyde, see:

Wiki John Brown

Wiki Fairfield

Wiki Stephen & Son

Wiki Clyde Ship Building

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