Film ID: NEFA 19692 Video of NEFA 19692 Launching of MV British Cavalier LAUNCHING OF THE M.V. BRITISH CAVALIER 1962 Visitor TabsDescription A record of the 1962 ship launch of the M.V. British Cavalier, built by Joseph F. Thompson and Sons shipyard on the River Wear in Sunderland. Title: Launching of M.V. British Cavalier 19th. June 1962 Title: Built by Joseph F. Thompson & Sons, Ltd. Sunderland Title: For BP Tanker Co. Ltd. London Title: Mr Alistair Down The film opens with a view of the bow and name of the ship, the British Cavalier; four men lean over the gunwale. View of the ship in dock, the end terrace house of a street neighbours the ship. A crane hangs over the vessel. Close-up view of two Union flags blowing in the wind. Groups of men knock out the keel blocks supporting the hull of the ship with a battering ram. View of the ship’s propeller, the waterline beneath it. View of the scaffolding frame beside the ship, as onlookers gather along a walkway to observe. Visitors are admitted through a turnstile gate. Two police officers monitor the event. A tug boat waits in the middle of the river Wear. Dignitaries arrive for the launching ceremony. The dignitaries prepare to have their picture taken atop the viewing gallery by the bow of the ship. A champagne bottle is swung into the side of the ship. View from the gallery facing the bow of the ship as the ship is launched and slides into the river. Credit: Filmed by Turners Highspeed Newsreel Service Newcastle-upon-Tyne England Title: The End Context Cloth caps at the keel blocks, bowlers on the platform, tug boats at the ready for the launch of the British Cavalier tanker on the River Wear at Sunderland. When the British Cavalier was launched at Joseph Thompson & Sons’ North Sands shipyard in Sunderland on 19 June 1962, it was the biggest vessel built on the River Wear at the time. It’s an impressive sight when the great drag chains on the ways kick up clouds of dust as they break the ship’s path on the river. A large crowd watch from the South Bank, a reflection of the great local pride in the craft of world class cargo ship builders on the Wear. Robert Thompson and his sons set up a shipbuilding firm at North Sands on 13 February 1846. By 1884 they were the leading shipbuilder on the Wear and dominated the waterfront. The company’s S.S. Empire Liberty, launched in 1941, was the inspiration for a whole fleet of 2,710 Liberty vessels built by the United States government between 1942 and 1945, which contributed to the Allies’ victory in World War Two. Three launches a day were not uncommon on a river studded with small shipbuilding yards. But the 6 March 1947 was a magnificent day for Sunderland when 3 ships were launched in an hour. Joseph L. Thompson & Sons finally shut down in 1976, and sadly the last shipyard on the River Wear closed in 1988.