A WOMAN who helped to build some of the biggest battleships constructed on Clydeside during the Second World War received an honorary degree from Glasgow Caledonian University this week.

Janet Harvey, 96, was one of the thousands of women brought into the workforce to help the war effort in 1940, in roles that would previously have been filled by men.

Janet started working as an electrician at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank when she was 18 – and 70 years after leaving the job, she says it still annoys her that she, and other female workers, didn’t receive the recognition they deserved – or even get a thank-you.

Janet says that she and her female colleagues were “tossed aside like old rags” at the end of the war.

“They just pushed us out,” she said. “We never even got a thank you note to say ‘you did a good job’.”

Now she can’t believe that she did the job, which involved climbing up and down a narrow, vertical ladder into the depths of the boat to place electrical wires in cabins – a task made even harder by the fact that she had to carry her toolbox at the same time.

Despite being fit and young she says she always tried not to look down as she made the descent.

A GCU spokesperson said: “Janet received this degree in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the war effort with the Glasgow shipyards, and her commitment to the values of GCU’s University mission for the common good.”

She is one of five people to receive an honorary degree at GCU this week. The others include former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, actor Gary Lewis, and David Duke MBE, the founder of Street Soccer (Scotland).