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Vanguard Ship No 567 (clip)

Launch of the Battleship Vanguard by HRH Princess Elizabeth in 1944

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Film made by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders recording the launch on 30 November 1944 by HRH Princess Elizabeth of the Battleship Vanguard built by John Brown's yard at Clydebank. The film is quite jerky and clearly made as a record rather than for public consumption. HMS Vanguard was the biggest, fastest and last of the great British Royal Navy battleships built at Clydebank. She did not see service in the Second World War and was used in training exercises with NATO forces in the 1950s. Vanguard had a displacement of 42.500 tons, carried 8 x 15 inch guns together with 16 x 5.25 guns and 71 AA guns. The ships crew was 1,600. She was broken up in 1960 at Faslane and sold for scrap.
See the break up of RMS Vanguard on the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive website. The clip includes: panning shots of the launch balcony showing Princess Elizabeth and others. Close up of Princess Elizabeth with a man in a naval uniform. Shots of a BBC microphone (possibly for a radio broadcast). Princess Elizabeth gives a speech and pushes the button to release the bottle christening the ship. Shots of a Union Jack Flag as the ship moves down the slipway. Shots of the cranes and scaffolds and the chains dragging as the ship hits the water. Princess Elizabeth with a bouquet of flowers and other Royal Navy dignatories including two women - one in a fur coat.

Questions & Activities


  • Who was HRH Princess Elizabeth?
  • When did Princess Elizabeth become the Queen?
  • What was the purpose of the BBC Microphone?
  • Why is a bottle smashed against the ship?
  • Why did this ship not serve in the Second World War?


Research the types of ships used during the Second World War. Make a drawing of the different types or produce a powerpoint presentation or film about the war at sea. Use the internet to find out information about HMS Vanguard.

Write a voice-over for the film in the style of a BBC Radio presenter informing people what is happening.

Build your own battleship (from materials available to you) and launch it with a ceremony. You will need to make sure that it floats and that the weight is evenly distributed.

Carry out a displacement exercise using different weights and objects to calculate the displacement.

Find out how many ships have been called HMS Vanguard. What kind of ship is the latest HMS Vanguard?

Ships were always in a class (e.g. Sovereign). Find out what class HMS Vanguard in this film was in. What class was the previous HMS Vanguard and what happened to it?

Find out about life on HMS Vanguard using this HMS Vanguard website Write a story or report to reflect life on board.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-575-C
Resource Rights Holder By kind permission of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland
Project Ref UCS0001
Date 1944
Genre Non-Fiction
School Subject Technologies, Social Studies, History, Mathematics, Art and Design, Expressive Arts
Subject Matter Literacy, World War 2
Who Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (sponsor)
Where Glasgow, Clydebank
Event Ship launch
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 2:32
Film Length 18:09