Kenneth Hugh McLean was born in Australia in 1887, son of Hugh Mclean and Elizabeth McLean. Kenneth was married to May F. McLean Nee Abercrombie. Kenneth’s father Hugh established Hugh McLean and Sons Ltd.
Kenneth started his working career serving his apprenticeship as a shipbuilder with the well known Fairfield Ltd in Govan and after a period with Alexander Stephen shipbuilders in Linthouse and Workman Clark in Belfast he returned to the Clyde working for his father.
McLean’s gained a reputation for building lifeboats and they designed the large capacity unsinkable motor lifeboats. They were first supplied to Hull number 534 which was being built in John Brown’s Shipyard. Hull 534 would eventually become The Queen Mary, Which is now a hotel berthed in Long Beach, California.
Hull 552 would be the next Ocean Liner to have the unsinkable motor lifeboats. It was launched from slipway 4 at John Brown’s on the 27th September 1938. Her Name… RMS Queen Elizabeth. She was sold to Hong Kong and is now a Hotel.
The other big cruise ship built at that time was the French SS Normandie again she was fitted with the same lifeboats, so this was a big coup for the company at the time.
McLean’s not on built lifeboats they also built small boats, these were mainly used as tug boats and fire boats. One of the boats was the Fire Boat St.Mungo, which was first on the scene at the Cheapside Street Fire Disaster.
McLean was an associate member of the Institute of Naval Architects, a member of the Engineers and shipbuilders Scotland and was a past president of the Boatbuilders Association of Great Britain.
At the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer reserve and served with the Dover patrol before being transferred to the Royal Air Force Motor Boat section. With the rank of Major and for his special work he was awarded the Military O.B.E
Kenneth Hugh McLean Died 2nd February 1940 peacefully at his home in Dumbreck, Glasgow. He is buried in Craigton Cemetery.
Kenneth Hugh McLean, Master Mason Lodge Pollok No.772
Initiated 9th May 1922
Passed 26 September 1922
Raised 31st October 1922