HMS Berwick (65)

HMS Berwick (65) was a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 County class
County class cruiser
The County class was a class of heavy cruisers built for the British Royal Navy in the years between the First and Second World Wars. They were the first post-war cruiser construction for the Royal Navy and were designed within the limits of the Washington Naval Conference of 1922...

 heavy cruiser
Heavy cruiser
The heavy cruiser was a type of cruiser, a naval warship designed for long range, high speed and an armament of naval guns roughly 203mm calibre . The heavy cruiser can be seen as a lineage of ship design from 1915 until 1945, although the term 'heavy cruiser' only came into formal use in 1930...

, of the Kent subclass. She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited was a British shipbuilding company in the Govan area on the Clyde in Glasgow. Fairfields, as it is often known, was a major warship builder, turning out many vessels for the Royal Navy and other navies through the First World War and the...

Govan is a district and former burgh now part of southwest City of Glasgow, Scotland. It is situated west of Glasgow city centre, on the south bank of the River Clyde, opposite the mouth of the River Kelvin and the district of Partick....

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

), 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
China Station
The China Station was a historical formation of the British Royal Navy. It was formally the units and establishments responsible to the Commander-in-Chief, China....

, where she remained until a temporary detachment to the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 in 1936. Along with the rest of her Kent class sub-group of County class
County class
County class may refer to:*County class destroyer, a post–World War II class of guided missile destroyers*County class cruiser, pre–World War II class of heavy cruiser*GWR 1000 Class or County class of Great Western Railway locomotives, built 1945–1947...

 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and West Indies Station with the 8th Cruiser Squadron until 1939. When World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 started, she served on ocean convoy escort duties, then formed part of Force "F" (with HMS York
HMS York (90)
HMS York, pennant number 90, was a heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy built in the late 1920s. She mostly served on the North America and West Indies Station before World War II. Early in the war the ship escorted convoys in the Atlantic and participated in the Norwegian Campaign in 1940...

) 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.

On 9 April 1940 she participated in the Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 and on 10 May 1940 in the Invasion of Iceland
Invasion of Iceland
The invasion of Iceland, codenamed Operation Fork, was a British military operation conducted by the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and a small Canadian task force during World War II....

. She was then allocated to Force "H" at Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 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.

On 25 December 1940, Berwick engaged the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

off the Canaries
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 when she formed part of the escort to convoy WS-5A, a troop convoy to the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far 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
British Home Fleet
The Home Fleet was a fleet of the Royal Navy which operated in the United Kingdom's territorial waters from 1902 with intervals until 1967.-Pre–First World War:...

 and for the remainder of her wartime career she was escorting convoys to North Russia and operating in the northern North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. 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
British Steel
British Steel was a major British steel producer. It originated as a nationalised industry, the British Steel Corporation , formed in 1967. This was converted to a public limited company, British Steel PLC, and privatised in 1988. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index...

for scrapping on 15 June 1948 and arrived at Hughes Bolkow, Blyth, on 12 July for breaking up.

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