Launch on the Tyne 50 years ago

The Chronicle - - Nostalgia -

FIFTY years ago, and an­other busy day on the River Tyne.

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 Cap­i­tan Prat, serv­ing un­til 2006, be­fore be­ing bro­ken up in Mex­ico two years later.

HMS Nor­folk is lauched at Swan Hunter’s Wallsend yard, Novem­ber 16, 1967

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