THIS weekend marks 40 years since the massive warship Invincible left Barrow for a notable naval career which included a leading role with British forces sent to take back the Falkland Islands in 1982 after an invasion by Argentina.

Its growing bulk of grey steel towered over the terraced streets of Barrow  and became a landmark which is not likely to be replicated in the modern era.

Invincible was launched by Queen Elizabeth on May 3 in 1977 and was eventually scrapped in 2011.

The Mail, on Saturday, March 15, in 1980, noted: "Barrow said a sad and fond farewell today to the Invincible, the ship that has become almost part of our town.

"Britain's newest warship sailed away this morning from Ramsden Dock without a hitch and was watched by hundreds of well wishers.

"Traffic hold-ups were reported at Roa Island where the causeway was jammed with vehicles as people left their cars to catch a last look at the ship.

"Around 600 onlookers, many of them with cameras, waved goodbye to the crew as the huge ship slipped gently away.

"The undocking started shortly  after  9am with the ship being pulled out of the dock stern first by two of the powerful tugs assisting in the careful operation.

"With just inches to spare she was pulled clear of the dock and then moored round by the bow before sailing away on the start of her journey to Portsmouth.

"Crew members exchanged waves with to the sightseers who had flocked to the water-side.

"The £215m anti-submarine cruiser, now no longer the property of Vickers, will be accepted by the Royal Navy later this month but will not be formally commissioned until July.

"The Queen, who a little more than three years ago sent the ship down the slip-way, will be at the commissioning which will take place at Portsmouth.

"After that the Invincible will take up her rightful place, patrolling the seas playing a vital role in NATO's defence machine.

"For the trip south, the Invincible has a crew of about 400, the other 600 joining the ship when she arrives at Portsmouth.

"On board are about 100 Vickers workmen who will be completing any last minute tasks."

On Thursday, March 13, the ship's first commander, Captain Michael Livesay, said: "The Invincible is a magnificent ship with a multitude of good ides and built to a very high standard.

"I have been impressed by the quality of work that has gone into the boat."

Around 35,000 people throughout the United Kingdom had helped in some way to build the ship or the equipment that went on it.

The Mail's editorial column on the day the ship left Barrow noted: "Invincible has become a familiar landmark in the town.

"As she sails away today she seems to take a part of Barrow with her.

"We wish godspeed to the ship and its crew."