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HMS Berwick (65)
HMS Berwick (65).jpg
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: County-class heavy cruiser
Name: HMS Berwick
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, Scotland
Laid down: 15 September 1924
Launched: 30 March 1926
Commissioned: 12 July 1927
Decommissioned: 1946
Fate: Scrapped, she was allocated to British Iron and Steel Corporation for scrapping on 15 June 1948 and arrived at Hughes Bolkow, Blyth, on 12 July for breaking up.
General characteristics
Displacement: 9,750 tons (9,010 t) standard
13,450 tons (13,670 t) full load
Length: 630 ft (190 m)
Beam: 68 ft 3 in (20.80 m)
Draught: 16 ft 3 in (4.95 m)
Propulsion: Eight Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Four shaft Brown Curtis geared turbines
80,000 shp
Speed: 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h)
Range: 3,100 nautical miles at 31.5 knots (5,740 km at 58 km/h), 13,300 nautical miles at 12 knots (24,600 km at 22 km/h); 3,400 tons (3,450 t) fuel oil
Complement: 700
Original configuration:

1938 - 1941:

1941 - 1945:

  • 8 × 8-inch (203 mm) guns (4 x 2)
  • 8 × 4-inch (102 mm) anti-aircraft guns (4 x 2)
  • 16 × 2-pdr (40 mm) pom-poms (2 x 8)
  • 2 x single 20-mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns (2 x 1)
  • 14 x 20-mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns (7 x 2)
Original configuration:
  • 1 to 4 in magazine box protection
  • 1.375 in deck
  • 1 in side-plating,turrets and bulkheads
  • 4.5 in belt
  • 4 internal boiler room sides (added 1936-1940)
Aircraft carried: Three aircraft with one catapult, removed in 1942
Notes: Pennant number 65

HMS Berwick (65) was a Royal Navy County class heavy cruiser, of the Kent subclass. She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Govan, Scotland), with the keel being laid down on 15 September 1924. She was launched on 30 March 1926, and commissioned 12 July 1927.


When completed Berwick was sent to the China Station, where she remained until a temporary detachment to the Mediterranean in 1936. Along with the rest of her Kent class sub-group of County class ships, Berwick underwent reconstruction between 1937 and 1938, where her single 4" guns were replaced with double mounts, numerous light machine guns were added, and probably most important; a cemented 4" thick and six feet deep armoured belt was added to both sides of her hull beginning at the armoured deck down past her water line. After this work, she completed her sea trials and then proceeded west where she served on the America and West Indies Station with the 8th Cruiser Squadron until 1939. When World War II started, she served on ocean convoy escort duties, then formed part of Force "F" (with HMS York) when hunting groups were formed to find the German raiders. She did not make contact with any raider, but intercepted the mercantile blockade runners Wolfsburg and Uruguay in the Denmark Straits during March 1940.

HMS Berwick, underway off the Norwegian coast, water crashing over her bows

On 9 April 1940 she participated in the Norwegian Campaign and on 10 May 1940 in the Invasion of Iceland. She was then allocated to Force "H" at Gibraltar arriving on 7 November. On 27 November, while taking part of Operation Collar, Berwick was hit by a single 203 mm (8 in) shell from an Italian cruiser, which knocked out her "Y" turret and killed seven men. A second round that struck her some minutes later did little damage.[1]

On 25 December 1940, Berwick engaged the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper off the Canaries when she formed part of the escort to convoy WS-5A, a troop convoy to the Middle East. Berwick engaged the attacker but got the worst of the encounter, sustaining a fair amount of damage, though she was hit by only a few 8" (which for the most part passed right through the ship) and 4.1" shells. Four of her complement died in the action. She had to return to Britain for repairs, which lasted until June 1941.

When repaired Berwick joined the Home Fleet and for the remainder of her wartime career she was escorting convoys to North Russia and operating in the northern North Sea. She escorted two more carrier raids against the Tirpitz in 1944 and again in 1945. Berwick's last role was to escort carriers that were raiding the Norwegian coast in 1945.

After the war she was allocated to BISCO for scrapping on 15 June 1948 and arrived at Hughes Bolkow, Blyth, on 12 July for breaking up.




  • Chesneau, Roger, ed (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwhich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1980). British Cruisers of World War Two. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-922-7. 
  • 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. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Cassell. ISBN 1-86019-874-0. 

External links

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