From The Daily Telegraph 9 October.
Sir Eric Yarrow, 3rd Bt, who has died aged 98, was only the third chairman of the eponymous, world-famous, Clyde-based shipbuilders and boilermakers. He followed his father, Harold Yarrow, and his grandfather, Alfred Yarrow, who started the company on the Isle of Dogs in 1865 then moved it to the Clyde in 1904.
Alfred Yarrow was made a baronet for services to shipbuilding during the First World War, services which the company maintained throughout the Second World War and the Cold War. Yarrows had a reputation for building fast, well-armed ships, including the first 30-knot and the first 40-knot ships at the turn of the last century and, in the early 1970s, five of eight Type 21 frigates for the Royal Navy.
The Type 21s’ handsome looks, nimble manoeuvring and acceleration earned their captains the nickname of “boy racers”, and one of them in 1982, under the command of Captain (later Admiral Sir) Hugo White, made the 8,000-mile passage to the Falklands at an average 28 knots.
The son of Sir Harold Yarrow, 2nd Bt, and his first wife Eleanor, Eric Grant Yarrow was born in Bearsden, Glasgow, on April 23 1920 and brought up at Craigend Castle, Stirlingshire, before attending Marlborough College. He had begun an engineering degree at Glasgow University and an apprenticeship at the engineers Weirs when war broke out.
Joining the Royal Engineers, he took part in the retreat through Burma, where he recalled that all he carried across the border into India was his revolver, a water bottle and his battered camera. To prevent their use by the Japanese, he had destroyed several shallow-draft paddle steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company (IFC), many of which had been built by Yarrows.
He ended the war supervising the removal of German landmines around the Hook of Holland: in the postwar honours list he was awarded the MBE.
Yarrow joined the family firm in 1946. When Yarrows received orders from IFC to replace its wartime losses, Yarrow was challenged: “Why didn’t you sink more?”
He succeeded his father in 1962 and steered the company through a turbulent period for British shipbuilding, preserving the firm’s name and status when many others were falling into bankruptcy. His relationship with the Royal Navy was key to his success, but Yarrow also travelled extensively to win overseas orders.
Even when the number of warship orders fell dramatically, Yarrows remained one of the prime contractors, and, besides the Type 21s, 10 out of 14 Type 22 frigates, 12 out of 16 Type 23 frigates and all six Type 45 destroyers were built at Scotstoun.
Among his many charitable interests he continued the family’s close interest in Erskine Hospital, which had started when Yarrows’ workshops made artificial limbs for servicemen disabled in the First World War.
Full obituary with photographs.
Thank you again for doggedly attaching these obituaries Roy. Very kind of you.
Very well known firm, Yarrows.