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Which ship was being launched at Swan Hunter on the River Tyne 50 years ago?

November 15, 2017 11:00 AM
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Fifty years ago, and another busy day on the River Tyne as a Royal Navy destroyer is launched at Wallsend

The Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Norfolk, is launched, having been constructed at Swan Hunter’s Wallsend yard.

Across the river are the cranes of Hebburn’s Hawthorn Leslie yard and, to the right, the ballast hill.

The hill was a landmark on the southern bank of the Tyne for decades, and was created by incoming ships dumping their ballast before taking on coal and other cargo.

As for HMS Norfolk, its keel had been laid in March, 1966; the launch took place on November 16, 1967; and the vessel was completed in March, 1970.

During the decade, the 6,000-ton Norfolk was deployed in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, and acquired Exocet missiles in 1974.

But by the turn of the 1980s, HMS Norfolk’s usefulness was diminishing, and the ship would avoid the 1982 Falklands War.

In 1981, the ship was decommissioned, becoming a Royal Navy training ship.

In April 1982, after being bought by the government of Chile, the Norfolk became Captain Prat, serving until 2006, before being broken up in Mexico two years later.


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