JEAN BROWN can still recall how tiny she felt looking up at the giant Royal Yacht Britannia on a rainy day in Glasgow, in 1953.

“I was fortunate to be present at the launch, when I was eight years old,” she explains.

“Although we lived in Johnstone, my father conducted an amateur orchestra which met in the Union Church in Clydebank.

“Many of the players were shipyard workers, and through one of them Dad got two tickets for the launch. Mum and I used them and were able to stand near the front of the crowd.”

She says: “I remember feeling very small, looking up at the ship’s hull towering above us.

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“I was also in awe of the huge piles of great thick chains piled up waiting to take the strain as the ship slid into the water.”

Jean recalls having a good view of the Queen as she prepared to launch the ship.

“Her sombre black outfit was rather disappointing,” she recalls with a smile. “My mother explained that she was still in mourning for the late Queen Mary who had died the month before.”

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Jean adds: “Two years later we were holidaying on the west coast of Scotland and spotted the Royal Yacht sailing past. It was a beautiful sight.”

Jean was prompted to send us her moving memories after our recent feature on the 67th anniversary of the launch at John Brown’s Shipyard.

More than 20,000 people turned out to watch the Queen and Prince Philip perform the ceremony on April 16, 1953.

The Queen and Duke were greeted at the yard by Brown’s directors and officials and the First Lord of the Admiralty, JPL Thomas.

After lunch they were driven to the western edge of the yard where, in one of the berths, the yacht – painted in royal blue with a gold bank beneath the upper deck, and with the royal coat of arms on the bow – awaited.

Britannia’s sea-trials began that November, and she was commissioned into the Royal Navy in January 1954. Over 44 years she called in at more than 600 ports in 135 countries, and sailing the equivalent of once around the world for each of these years, and she is now a major tourist attraction, berthed at Leith docks.

Dan Harris, of East Kilbride, was not at the launch but he has a special connection to the Royal Yacht.

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“I was serving with the Royal Engineers in Germany at the time of the launch,” he says.

“However, my one and only job after finishing my engineering apprenticeship with G&J Weir in Cathcart, in October 1952, was to build a heat exchanger for the Royal Yacht.”

He explains: “I think that it will not be well known that some of the engine equipment was not brand new. The heat exchanger I put together was actually a refurbishment task. It had been used in another ship.”

Shortly after finishing National Service, Dan worked as a draughtsman at Weir’s, before moving to the National Engineering Laboratory where he was involved in heat transfer research work.

“In 2013, a call went out for anyone connected with the building of the Royal Yacht to contact The Royal Yacht Britannia Office in Edinburgh.

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“I answered the call and I received an invitation to join in the celebrations for the 60th anniversary,” he explains.

Dan and his wife Marion went through to Edinburgh for the event, which included a tour of the ship.

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“I was looking forward to going into the engine room to see my wee heat exchanger,” he smiles. “I was very disappointed. No one was allowed in the engine room. We just had to settle for looking through glass windows. It was like looking into a sterile hospital ward - everything was wrapped in white thermal insulation.”

He laughs: “I couldn’t see the only item I ever assembled as a qualified engineer.

“Still, we had a very pleasant day….”