HMS Newcastle (C76)

The seventh HMS Newcastle was a Town-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She belonged to the Southampton subclass. In the Second World War following extensive battle damage sustained in the Mediterranean, she spent some time being repaired in New York. She also saw action in the Korean War.

History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Newcastle
Builder: Vickers Armstrong
Laid down: 4 October 1934
Launched: 23 January 1936
Commissioned: 5 March 1937
Decommissioned: 1958
Identification: pennant number: C76
Fate: Sold for scrap in August 1959
General characteristics
Class and type: Town-class light cruiser
Displacement:
  • 9,100 tons standard
  • 11,350 tons full load
Length: 558 ft (170 m)
Beam: 61 ft 8 in (18.80 m)
Draught: 21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)
Propulsion:
  • Four-shaft Parsons geared turbines
  • Four Admiralty 3-drum boilers
  • 75,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Complement: 748
Armament:
Aircraft carried: Two Supermarine Walrus aircraft (Removed in the latter part of WWII)

Interwar period

Newcastle was laid down by Vickers Armstrong on 4 October 1934, launched on 23 January 1936 by Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland and commissioned in March 1937. She joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, and was under refit on the outbreak of war. After the refit was completed, the ship joined the 18th Cruiser Squadron with the Home Fleet in mid-September 1939, initially being employed on trade protection duties in the Western Approaches, she then joined the Northern Patrol.

Second World War

During the initial part of the Second World War, Newcastle engaged and badly damaged two German destroyers off Brest. She also set a record during this period by staying at sea continuously for 126 days.

On 23 November 1939, Newcastle encountered the German small battleships (or battlecruisers) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but they escaped in bad weather before other ships could come up.

Newcastle was involved in an abortive action under Vice-Admiral James Somerville on 27 November 1940 against the Italians at Cape Spartivento. After operating against blockade runners in the South Atlantic, the ship was sent to the East and then redeployed to the Mediterranean as part of Operation Vigorous, (convoy escort) from Alexandria to Malta in June 1942.

Four days out (of Alexandria), Newcastle was torpedoed by the German E-boat S-56, on 15 June, blowing a complete hole through her bows. The crew saved the ship, which returned at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) to Alexandria, where she could not be fully repaired but was offered facilities to make her own temporary repairs. This meant building an additional wooden bulkhead, strengthened by concrete, behind the damage. This bulkhead had to be replaced at ports in India, Ceylon, South Africa and Brazil, before she finally arrived in October at Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, where new bows were built by March 1943.

From New York she sailed to Plymouth and then on to join the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and acting as the lead ship of the 4th Cruiser Squadron. During her time with the Eastern Fleet, Newcastle participated in the bombardment of numerous Japanese-held islands and supported the British Fourteenth Army in their campaigns in Burma.

Postwar

After the war, the cruiser was given an extensive modernisation in 1951-2, with a new bridge, New Mk 5 40 twin 40mm light AA armament and Type 275 radar to control its twin 4 inch guns and took part in the Korean War - acting as a flagship and providing naval gunfire support to UN forces.

Newcastle also served during the Malayan Emergency in the later 1950s, shelling Malayan Communist targets in June and August 1955 and again in December 1957.[1]

Decommissioning and disposal

Newcastle was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1959, and subsequently broken up at Faslane.

References

  1. "H.M.S. Newcastle Blasts Terrorists in Jahore". Navy News. January 1958. p. 11. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

Bibliography

  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922–1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7.
  • McCart, Neil (2012). Town Class Cruisers. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Books. ISBN 978-1-904-45952-1.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.

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