HMS Newcastle (C76)

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HMS Newcastle
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Town-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Newcastle
Builder: Vickers Armstrong
Laid down: 4 October 1934
Launched: 23 January 1936
Commissioned: 5 March 1937
Decommissioned: 1958
Fate: Sold for scrap in August 1959
General characteristics
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: Original Configuration:
12 × BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval gun (152 mm) in triple turrets (one aft turret later removed for 8 × 40 mm Bofors guns)
8 × 4 in (102 mm) guns
8 × 40.5 mm guns
8 × 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine-guns
6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (later removed)
Aircraft carried: Two Supermarine Walrus aircraft (Removed in the latter part of WWII)
Notes: Pennant number C76
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Newcastle.

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.

Interwar period[edit]

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[edit]

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 1940, 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 against the Italians at Cape Spartivento. After operating against blockade runners in the South Atlantic, the ship was sent to the East and then re-deployed to the Mediterranean as part of Operation Vigorous, (convoy escort) from Alexandria to Malta in June 1942.

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

From New York she sailed to Plymouth before joining 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.

One of HMS Newcastle's 4 inch guns in action against North Korean gun batteries

Post-War[edit]

After the war, the cruiser was given an overhaul in 1952 and took part in the Korean War - acting as a flagship and providing naval gunfire support to UN forces - and the Malayan Emergency in the later 1950s.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

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

References[edit]

Coordinates: 65°48′N 25°19′W / 65.800°N 25.317°W / 65.800; -25.317