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Pride of Tyne goes.

Byline: By Paul McMillan

Destroyer axed

After patrolling the waves for the past 26 years, HMS Newcastle is finally coming to the end of her days.

The longest serving of the Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyers, the ship is one of three axed by the end of next year in the latest cuts announced by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

HMS Newcastle, now on patrol in the Mediterranean, was built at Swan Hunters on the Tyne between 1973 and 1975.

Today the Lord Mayor of Newcastle paid tribute to the important link between the destroyer and the city. Coun George Douglas, said: "Having been built on the Tyne, the city is proud of the link with the ship and crew.

"I am sad to hear the news that HMS Newcastle will be decommissioned. She will be visiting the city in September and I would like the people of Newcastle to give her crew a warm welcome and a fond final farewell."

In 1978 the current ship and her crew, many from the North East, were given the honorary freedom of Newcastle, called the Freedom Scroll, in recognition of their continued service to the city.

She returned to the city last year for her silver anniversary celebrations. Her visit was postponed for several months after crew members were drafted in to help man Green Goddesses around the country during the firefighters' strike.

The ship is famous for carrying specially designed bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale that are presented to local dignitaries when the vessel is in port.

HMS Newcastle has been involved in anti-drug trafficking operations in the Caribbean and helped some of the victims of the volcano in Montserrat in 1998.

She is the eighth Royal Navy vessel to bear the city's name.

Mr Hoon announced the end for HMS Newcastle the day after telling The Chronicle the construction of two giant aircraft carriers for the Navy will go ahead on time.

QDid you serve on HMS Newcastle? Have you any memories of the ship? Contact the Evening Chronicle features department on (0191) 201 6477.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2004
Words:344
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