FOR nearly 30 years, the Clydebank-built RMS Queen Elizabeth ruled the seas before she was tragically struck down by fire.

Following her recent 80th anniversary of her construction on the Clyde, campaigners are calling for the ship to be proudly remembered as a sign of the skill of the workers in the town.

Built between 1936 and 1938 and launched by the Queen Mother on September 27, the John Brown’s liner had been set for a life of luxurious cruises.

However, when war broke out, the plan was quickly altered and instead the Queen Elizabeth was called into naval action.

She had to be transported across the Atlantic to New York Harbour in 1940, with the British government pretending the ship was heading for Southampton.

During her war service as a troopship, Queen Elizabeth carried more than 800,000 troops, and she sailed nearly 500,000 miles.

At the end of the war, she was transported back to Clydebank where 2,000 John Brown’s workers helped return her to the original purpose as a luxury cruise liner.

In October 1946, work was complete and she sailed her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and began more than 20 years of travel.

She was eventually sold on, first to a trio of American businessmen and then to CY Tung in 1970.

Mr Tung intended to turn her into a “seawise” university in Hong Kong, only for the Queen Elizabeth to meet her end by fire in January 1972.

But enthusiasts insist the liner should be remembered as a symbol of Clydebank’s once proud shipbuilding heritage.

Lynda Bradford, of the QE2story website, told the Post: “Clydebank can proudly celebrate the 80th anniversary of the launch of the Queen Elizabeth and remember the contribution she made to the war effort for WWII, her history as a luxury passenger liner and her sad demise.

“But, most of all, Bankies should celebrate the skills of the workers of John Brown’s shipyard.

“During the war, she carried more than 800,000 troops all without breakdown - this is surely a tribute to the engineers that built the ship.

“But, we should also not forget the people, not so rich and famous who also sailed onboard, including many Scottish people who were immigrating to the US and Canada.

“The men who worked on building Queen Elizabeth have probably passed on but, hopefully, memories of the ship have been passed down the generations.”