HMS Newcastle (D87)

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United Kingdom
NameHMS Newcastle
BuilderSwan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down21 February 1973
Launched24 April 1975
Commissioned23 March 1978
Decommissioned1 February 2005
Out of service1 February 2005
Nickname(s)"The Geordie Gunboat"
General characteristics
Class and typeType 42 destroyer
Displacement4,820 tonnes
Length125 m (410 ft)
Beam14.3 m (47 ft)
Draught5.8 m (19 ft)
Speed30 knots (56 km/h)
Aircraft carriedLynx HMA8

The eighth HMS Newcastle was a batch 1 Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy, launched in 1975. Newcastle was decommissioned on 1 February 2005.

Operational service

On 12 May 1992, Newcastle deployed with the Orient '92 group HMS Invincible, HMS Boxer, HMS Norfolk and RFA Olwen to the Far East. During this time she partook in Joint Exercises in the Malacca Straits and carried out diplomatic visits to The Seychelles, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines. She returned on 27 November 1992. In 1993, Newcastle undertook exercises in the northern fjords of Norway during Exercise Battle Griffin '93 and undertook Fleet Ready Escort duties. On 8 September 1993 she deployed for Southlant duties as Falkland Islands Guardship. En route, she called in at Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and spent Christmas and New Year in and around the Falkland Island patrol areas. She was relieved by the Leander Class Frigate HMS Scylla and returned to UK via the Patagonian Canals, calling in at Valparaiso, Callao and Port of Spain with a fuelling stop at Ponta Delgado before returning to Portsmouth on 8 April 1994. The rest of 1994 was spent in maintenance and navigation training. She paid off into refit in Rosyth in July 1995. On her way north, Newcastle made a final goodwill visit of this commission to the city of her name.

In November 1997, Newcastle made her way to the Caribbean to assume duties as West Indies guard ship. This deployment was concerned primarily with counter narcotics operations and saw the ship embark a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) under the command of US Coast Guard District 7 in Miami. Throughout the eight months of the "WIGS" deployment Newcastle rendered assistance to the Governor and people of the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat following a devastating volcanic eruption.[Note 1] Newcastle re-entered Portsmouth Naval Base on 10 July 1998.

In 1999, Newcastle escorted the aircraft carrier Invincible during the Kosovo War, in which Invincible launched attacks on Serbian targets. Newcastle took part in six-month Atlantic Patrol Deployment in 2002. During this deployment, she visited Sierra Leone to display the continuing UK commitment to that country. Despite speculation that four Type 42s would be either decommissioned or mothballed, Newcastle deployed to the Mediterranean in January 2004 for a 7-month tour of duty.

Decommissioning and disposal

Newcastle with Cardiff in the background in 2007, in Portsmouth Harbour

It was announced in July 2004, as part of the Delivering Security in a Changing World review, that Newcastle would be decommissioned in January 2005. Newcastle was decommissioned on 1 February 2005 and placed into inactive reserve. Whilst sitting out at Fareham Creek she was cannibalised heavily to keep the remaining Type 42 destroyers running. On 21 November 2008 Newcastle left Portsmouth for the last time for Aliağa, Turkey under tow of the tug Lore.

Commanding officers

From To Captain
1977 1979 Captain Julian Oswald RN
1979 1980 Captain Norman King RN
1980 1982 Captain Derek Wallis RN
1982 1984 Captain Anthony Hutton OBE RN
1984 1987 Captain Peter Erskine RN
1987 1989 Commander Robert Davies RN
1990 1992 Commander David Harburn RN
1993 1994 Commander Alan Massey RN
1994 1995 Commander Keith Winstanley MBE RN
1995 1998 Commander Nick Lambert RN


Newcastle was the adopted ship of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her captain and crew were awarded the freedom of the city, and she was often referred to as "The Geordie Gunboat".



  1. Liverpool had been the first ship to come to the aid of the people of Montserrat.


  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.