Robb Caledon (Leith Division) 1965–1984

Robb Caledon (Leith Division) 1965–1984

Leith-Built Ships, Vol. 4

R. O. Neish

  • Features histories of some great ships, including the two largest and most powerful ocean-going salvage tugs of the day
  • Includes the decline of the last shipbuilder at Leith and accounts of the industrial unrest and strife
  • Complemented with many original photographs shown for the first time


Print edition: £18.99
240 x 170mm
c 192 pages
liberally illustrated with c.130 photos, b/w and colour
June 2024

Volume 4 of the acclaimed Leith-built Ships series follows Ship Nos 495 to 535 built from 1965 until the eventual closure of the shipyard in 1984 by a government that was hell-bent on destroying British industry and breaking the powerful unions.

Great ships such as Lloydsman Ship no 509 and SA Wolraad Woltemade, Ship no 516, the two most powerful ocean-going salvage tugs, were built by Robb Caledon and Leith-built ships also played their part in the Falklands War. A great many working ships took their crews safely around the globe, and although tragedy befell some, most survived.

The author features them all, from the huge tug Lloydsman, fighting in the Icelandic ‘cod wars’ with her crew using tomato sauce bottles for ammunition, to hospital ship HMS Herald which took part in the Falklands War along with another four ships built at Leith. There were also ferries that captured the imagination of the Scottish Islanders who relied on them for transport, one of which was converted to carry out much-needed rescue work in West Africa.

Robb-built ships were anything but slab-sided vessels, with most being one-off specialised ships that were complex to build, requiring much skill which the Leith shipbuilders had in abundance.

​This volume concludes the series on commercial ships built at the yard and is complemented with many first-hand accounts from the men and women who sailed or served on the ships. ​

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