ON this day in 1953 the Royal Yacht Britannia left John Brown’s shipyard on Clydebank to begin her speed trials.
She had been launched by Queen Elizabeth in April of that year and commissioned on 11 January 1954.
Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in the event of war – although this capability was never used.
In the event of nuclear war it was intended that the Queen would take refuge aboard Britannia along the north west coast of Scotland.
The ship covered more than a million miles and made 968 official visits in her time, serving for more than 40 years before tying up in 1997 to become a major tourist draw in Ocean Terminal at Leith in Edinburgh.