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Launch of HMS Exeter, Neptune Yard, 17.15 Tuesday 25th April, 1978

Royal Navy top brass at the launch of the HMS Exeter destroyer from the world famous Swan Hunters shipyard on Tyneside.

Industry sponsored film 1978 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


A Swan Hunters launch takes place at the Neptune Yard in Walker in the last decades of British shipbuilding. HMS Exeter slides briskly into the Tyne after the wife of the Secretary of State for Defence performs the traditional christening of this British Navy ship, a ceremony reserved for women of rank since the mid-19th century.

Swan Hunters became part of British Shipbuilders on 1 July 1977 following the nationalisation of the industry, working almost exclusively on MOD contracts until its closure in May 1993. The business had launched ships that became famous worldwide, including in 1906 the Cunard passenger liner Mauretania, “queen of the ocean”, which held the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic for 22 years. Swan Hunters regularly commissioned their own films and video of ship construction, launches and sea trials from the 1950s until around 1981, many from Newcastle-based Turners Film Productions.