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HMS Newcastle (C76)

Southampton Class Light Cruiser

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Built by Vickers Armstrong, Tyne. Laid Down 4 October 1934.

Launched 23 January 1936. Completed 5 March 1937.

Torpedoed 15/6/42 NW of Derna - repaired New York 10/42 - 11/42.

Paid off 1958. Broken up by Shipbreaking Ltd., Faslane, 1959.

Details of her war record can be found here.

Newcastle joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron on completion, and was under refit on the outbreak of war. She joined the 18th Cruiser Squadron with the Home Fleet in mid-September 1939, initially being employed on Trade Protection duties in the Western Approaches, and then joined the Northern Patrol. In November she sighted Scharnhorst and Gneisenau after the Rawalpindi incident. After refit on the Tyyne she moved south to Plymouth for anti-invasion duties in July 1940, and on 11 October bombarded Cherbourg with Revenge. A few days later she and Emerald, together with destroyers, sailed to intercept a force of German destroyers on a strike into the Western Approaches. Although Newcastle got into action, the enemy escaped. On 13 November the ship sailed for Gibraltar to join Force H. In the Mediterranean she took part in the action off Spartivento on 27 November, but in December was ordered to the South Atlantic Command and carried out patrols off the River Plate until August 1941, when she went to Boston/Massachusetts, for refit. She arrived back in Plymouth on 29 December 1941. In February she was ordered to join the Eastern Fleet, where she remained until detached to the Mediterranean in June for a Malta convoy operation. On 15 June Newcastle was hit by a torpedo from S56 and badly damaged. After temporary repairs at Bombay, the ship underwent further repairs at New York Navy Yard, where she arrived on 10 October, but she was not fully repaired until after her return to Britain, in March 1943. She returned to the 4th Cruiser Squadron with the Eastern Fleet, arriving at Kilindini on 27 May, and served in the east until 1945, when the ship returned home for refit at Rosyth in May. This refit lasted until October 1945. After a period on trooping duties with the Plymouth Command during 1945/47, she went to the Mediterranean for the 1st Cruiser Squadron in 1947, returning to Plymouth a couple of years later. Postwar, Newcastle was one of the first ships to be modernised (1950/51), and went out to the Far East for the 5th Cruiser Squadron, seeing action in the Korean War. She spent the remainder of her active service in the Far East Fleet, returning home to pay off in August 1958. On 19 August 1959 she arrived at the Faslane yard of Shipbreaking Industries for scrapping.

as completed
as completed
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entering Plymouth in late 1940
entering Plymouth in late 1940
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the crane is swung out to hoist the seaplane aboard - B Turret is turned round and only the rear is visible
the crane is swung out to hoist the seaplane aboard - B Turret is turned round and only the rear is visible
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in action against German destroyers flying the General Chase signal, 17 October 1940
in action against German destroyers flying the General Chase signal, 17 October 1940
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straddled at Spartivento 27 November 1940, Manchester in the background
straddled at Spartivento 27 November 1940, Manchester in the background
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with Manchester and Berwick behind, at Spartivento
with Manchester and Berwick behind, at Spartivento
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on patrol
on patrol
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damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
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damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
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damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
damage after being torpedoed - June 1942
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a good view of the bridge while being repaired in New York
a good view of the bridge while being repaired in New York
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repairs nearing completion, New York, November 42
repairs nearing completion, New York, November 42
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post-war off Korea
post-war off Korea
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Korea - off Chodo Island, nice quality pic
Korea - off Chodo Island, nice quality pic
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late pic - off Japan steaming to Hong Kong
late pic - off Japan steaming to Hong Kong
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late pic - Hong Kong
late pic - Hong Kong
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Some background to the last 4 photos kindly provided by Peter W.

She was in enemy waters for the June 2nd Coronation of the Queen in 1953 off Chodo and fired the Royal Salute in enemy waters. The date lives in my memory as it was my 21st birthday the next day !

Much of the actual action was "Off Chodo" and the location of this island has been somewhat of a mystery as it is just a dot in the ocean.....there are several "Chodo" hits in Korea if one does a search on that name but none "fit" the memories. I now discover the actual location is shown on the following map

There was an advanced RADAR station located on that Island with the ability to cover parts of mainland China so it was a valuable asset and had to be protected....particularly so in winter as the sea (diluted by fresh water from the rivers) froze. The pack ice was broken up by steaming destroyers between the island the Korean mainland to prevent any attempt to capture the island. The RADAR was the most advanced British equipment and operated by US personel.

Before the cease-fire was ratified we had to rescue that advanced RADAR as the island was north of the agreed border between north and south. The island was also the place where 175,000 refugees had been held in limbo. I was part of the landing party to disconnect the diesel generation plant when the electronic equipment was hurriedly removed.

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