Compiled by Brian Joy
21st July to 29th July
This was our most rugged patrol as the whole parish had to be visited and several bombardments were carried out. It also included the support of a guerilla attack in the Yalu River area mainly by the provision of star shell illumination It was during this patrol that the First Lieutenant first came to be called ‘Yo-Yo’ Ellis, as the anchor went up and down at all hours of the day and night. The mainland at Cho-Do had its first taste of fire from our guns . on 23rd July the Amgak batteries in the Cho-Do area opened fire on L.S.M.R. 536.H.M.S.Newcastle (Captain Rutherford), who was carrying out her first patrol as C.T.E. 9512, and H.M.S. Mounts Bay (Captain Lewis) both returned the fire. and by the speed with which their batteries ceased fire they did not much appreciate it.
9th August to 4th September
It was noticeable that conditions on board were better than on the First patrol, which could be accounted for by the cooler weather and gradual acclimatization of the ship’s company to the somewhat novel conditions imposed by Korean operations. Although a limited number of bombardments were carried out, mainly in support of guerilla forces, there were times when it was possible to do other things, on one occasion involuntarily as we had to put to sea to dodge an approaching typhoon. Two days were spent in the Yellow Sea in company with H.M.S. Ocean while her aircraft carried out offensive patrols against coastal targets. One, five miles east of Choppeki Point had as its objective 400 North Korean troops; H.M.S. Newcastle provided gun-fire support. For the first time beach leave was granted at Paengyong-Do and advantage was taken of the flat beach to commence an Inter-part Soccer League. On board indoor games tournaments got into full swing.
On 2nd September 1952 there was a change in the command of the Commonwealth forces; Rear-Admiral Scott-Moncrieff fell ill and was obliged to haul down his flag to undergo treatment in H.M.H.S. Maine. In these circumstances Captain Rutherford of H.M.S. Newcastle assumed duty as C.T.G. 95 I, and Captain J. H. Meares, who had succeeded Captain Villiers as Chief Staff Officer, continued to run the administration and routine operations. Admiral Scott-Moncrieff rehoisted his flag in the Ladybird on 12th September, but suffered a relapse, and was obliged to strike it finally on the 16th; pneumonia was diagnosed and he sailed for Hong Kong, in the Maine. Actually his time on the station was almost up, as Rear Admiral E. G. A. Clifford was on his way to relieve him. Admiral Clifford arrived at Hong Kong in S.S. Canton on 22nd September; he hoisted his flag in H.M.S. Newcastle next day, and at once proceeded to the war area, arriving at Sasebo on 26th September where he transferred to H.M.S. Ladybird, while the Newcastle proceeded to the west coast to relieve the Belfast as C.T.F. 95 12.
While in Hong Kong we made our first contact with the 45th Field Regiment who were to entertain us so well both then and in the future, and our one and only Ship’s Company Dance was held at Kowloon
27th September to 20th October
On relief H.M.S. Belfast sailed South for Hong Kong and to turn over to H.M.S. Birmingham, flying the customary paying off pendant. Lower deck was cleared and Belfast’s band replied to our ‘We’re Dreaming of a White Christmas’ by playing ‘We’re going home for Christmas’. The speedy change over and remarkable speed of the retiring cruiser has been the comment of the ‘Old’ Coasters’ ever since. The main highlight of this patrol was the number of visitors to be shown the parish commencing with the Admiral in Charge of the West Coast Blockading Force (our own F.O.2) and followed by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Rhoderick McGrigor. Nevertheless we found time for the usual bombardments and for the usual sporting fixtures both on board and on Paengyong-Do.
On the conclusion of the First Sea Lord’s visit, H.M.S. Birmingham(Captain Luce) relieved the Newcastle as C.T.E. 95 12, and Admiral Clifford left Sasebo in the latter on 21st October for Yokosuka. From there he visited Tokyo and made the acquaintance of H.B.M. Ambassador, Sir Esler Denning, General Mark Clark, Admiral Briscoe, the Commonwealth representatives in Japan, and various other officials.. During our stay there from 2.3rd to 25th many managed to make their
way to Tokyo while the Admiral fulfilled a large number of engagements with’ Senior United Nations Officers including the American General Mark w. Clark. We were soon chummy ships with the U.S.S. Mount McKinky on the opposite side of the pontoon and from an observation of the mixture of ratings and enlisted men on the mess decks it was impossible to tell whether you were in an American or British ship. A heavy exercise programme ensued on the way back to Sasebo to drop the Admiral before we set off up the coast again.
30th October to 9th November
A quiet patrol. A landing of guerillas that we should have supported had to be cancelled due to heavy swell and we concluded the patrol without a single bombardment having taken place. Remembrance Day was commemorated at anchorage off the enemy coast and it seemed rather strange that this ceremony should occur in such a place.
SELF REFIT IN KURE
15th November to 2nd December
This was the time when we really got to know Kure and all the possibilities thereof. Everyone learnt to take off their shoes at the door and to sit down on nothing at all. Some went for the week-end to MiyaJima and tried to climb the hill, the Royals went to the battle school and climbed over live land mines, others stayed in Kure and saw the sights and also saw Bill Kerr when his show came on board. No-one wanted to return on patrol but it had to happen. Between 26th and 29th November Admiral Clifford paid a visit to Pusan in H.M.S. Unicorn(Captain Pennefather). ‘There he met the British minister, Mr. W. G. C. Graham, Vice-Admiral Sohn, Chief of Naval Operations, R.O.K. Navy, and others. On 30th November he transferred his flag to H.M.S. Newcastle at Kure, and on 2nd December left for the operational area, where he visited each island area and met the new island commander, Colonel Totman, U.S.M.C. with whom he discussed the prevailing situation.
4th December to 19th December
It was just as well that winter clothing had been issued while we were at Kure as the weather really began to get cold at times. Into the bargain the Meteorological Officer dealt with a signal without waking himself up and we were assailed without warning by gales associated with a nearby, though weak, typhoon: fortunately the ship only dragged her anchor a very short distance. His only consolation was that even less warning occurred when a bombardment was due to commence, and there were several.
We were lucky because we were relived in time to spend Christmas in Hong Kong. H.N.M.S. Piet Hem did not appreciate this because she was lying opposite us at Hong Kong and bore the brunt of all our festive pranks. Somehow she survived and somehow our own ship’s company survived the two dinners at the Fleet Club’ on the next two days. But by the time we had spent both Christmas and New Year at Hong Kong we were only too glad to return to the operational theatre for a rest.
6th January to 2lst January
Now we met the really cold weather and winter clothing really came into its own. On several occasions we supplied fire support for friendly forces, and spotting teams were landed to assist our guns. They had a hard time and came under enemy fire, fortunately without casualties, and the description of these events by O.C.R.M. started off what became a regular feature, the intelligence summaries. For the first two months of the year, the winter weather-—snow showers and blizzards, bitter cold, and ice floes, especially in the Choda area—hampered all operations. H.M.S. Birmingham (Captain Luce, succeeded by Captain C. NV. Greening, 12th January) and H.1\1.S. Newcastle(Captain Rutherford) alternated as C.T.U. 95.1.2; on two occasions, in order to ease the pressure on the cruisers, We had one day wandering round ice flows in the’ Chado area to see what it was like, only to find on our return that our usual anchorage at Paengyong-Do had also been invaded by ice. For the first time we tried out exercise "Scramble" and it was due to the confusion that arose that the famous passwords were introduced.
Admiral Russell, whose time on the station was drawing to a close, left Hong Kong in H.M.S. Birmingham with Rear— Admiral Clifford on 19th January for a farewell visit to Japan and the war area. On arrival at Sasebo on the 23rd, Admiral Clifford transferred his flag to H.M.S. Ladybird,and the C.-in-C., after visiting the ships in harbour and meeting the United Nations authorities there, proceeded to KURE in H.M.S. Newcastle to continue his farewells.
In the Paengyong do area, apart front firing on Wollae do and Yuk to on 6th January, the enemy was quiescent. ‘the ships of T.U. 951~5, on the other hand, assisted on occasions by the Newcastle and Birmingham, bombarded a large number of targets. The R.O.K. P.T. boats, too, operated in this area, with periodical spells at Chinhae for maintenance.
During our next visit to Kure from 26th January to 2nd February we further cemented our friendships . Not only did our Concert Band get ashore and perform for others as well as they had done for us, but we entertained a party of Japanese children on board. This was by special request of B.C.F.K. who had been helped by the Japanese schoolchildren when one of their barracks went up in flames.
5th February to 2nd March
The long quiet days at Yong-Pyong-Do which enabled all to get up to date. There was at this time a lull in affairs and during this patrol only one bombardment was carried out. Despite the cold weather open air sports got really under weigh and Draughts and Uckers competitions were also a strong feature. On our way back from this patrol, we found on the anniversary of our commissioning that we had steamed 33,779 miles since we left England.
We spent from the 5th to 8th March at Nagasaki and it was a real pleasure to be at a port that was almost completely free from the civilizing effects of American democracy. This was Japan as Japan had really been for a long time—apart from the flatness due to atom bomb devastation. If only we had been there when Madame Butterfly was alive! On our return to Sasebo our ship’s concert party gave their first show. It was unfortunate that at the last moment E. A. Horn had to go home on compassionate leave but we were glad to hear on his return that all was well. Despite his absence the rest of the cast put up a creditable show .~d the Sergeant Major’s efforts as compare vice Horn were really wonderful. Lt. Cdr Stutter’s impersonation of a Gob will long he recalled and was to feature, by special request, in later shows. One terrible blow occurred while we are away from the coast—Birmingham's boxing team beat us. Revenge was to come, however.
21st March to 31st March
This patrol commenced in rather a different way as we commenced by calling at Inchon where we embarked the new Commander of Commonwealth Forces in Korea; he accompanied F.O.2 on a tour of the islands, which constituted our parish. Several bombardments were carried out, particularly directed against shore batteries at Paengyong-Do and Yong-Pyong-Do. On March 27th 40 minute guns were fired to honour the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Mary: it was fortunate that the call for fire that we received that day did not occur until after the commemorative service.
April 3rd, which was celebrated jointly as Good Friday and the Japanese Cherry Blossom Day, occurred while we were at Kure. We spent almost a fortnight at Kure, mostly in company with H.N.M.S. Johann Maurits van Nassau. The two ship got on very well together, although our Deep Sea Rover Scouts had rather a shock when they invited their neighbours to join them on a hike and found that were so many of our Dutch comrades who enjoyed such things that they were outnumbered by more than three to one. It was during this visit that our boxing team beat the Army at Kure for the first time. On April 15th we arrived at Chinhae, the R.O.K. base where there were many sporting and recreational events. Our football team regrettably lost to the Korean Marine Corps but were nevertheless presented with a shield. The demonstration of drill by our Royals was much appreciated by the local populace even though they may not have realised why one members hands were kept so closely clasped to his side. Apart from the sporting and recreational side we were honored during our stay by a visit from President Singman Rhee.
16th April to 3rd May
We were really full of big-shots this time as we had both F.O.2 and C. in C. F.E.S. We carried out the usual tour of the islands and were quite sure that the C. in C. thought that all the bombardments that occurred were specially laid on for his benefit. in actual fact we did not know anything of them ourselves until the calls for fire arrived; it was a mere co-incidence that all the firing occurred while the C. in C. was with us and from then onwards all was quiet and we were able to enjoy ourselves at Paengyong-Do.
THE RETIREMENT OF H.M.S. LADYBIRD
"All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing"
Our old friend Ladybird was at last to leave Sasebo. Before we arrived there she made a triumphal tour of Sasebo harbour to show the Americans she still worked; no one was more surprised than the British. We were detailed to escort her to Hone Kong; a very slow passage which would delay our arrival by several days. However we were determined to be friendly and cheered her out of Sasebo on May 3rd, gave her a good head’s start and then proceeded to catch her up. It was not long before she reported a suspected leak and, with bated breath, we offered to escort her back to Sasebo. Much to our relief this offer was not accepted. Commander (E) suddenly found that he had forgotten that we were due for a full power trial and we made Hong Kong in very good time. Whatever the cause of the trouble in Ladybird we didn’t mind—We Care Not For Thee Jack!
We then had ten days "R & R" in Hong Kong. a general period of relaxation interspersed with such fun as returning winter clothing while umbrellas sheltered us from the blazing sun. Soon we were fighting our way through heavy seas in the Formosa Straits on our way back north, and after picking up our Admiral we set off towards the operational area. Our journey was delayed following a distress message from the concrete ship Lady Wolmcr and although we were unable to save the ship herself we took off the Captain and crew and salvaged one of their lifeboats. After calling at Inchon we sailed on to our parish with U.S.S. New Jersey under our command.
May 15th to June 8th
Off we went to Cho-Do and while we went in to provide a close anti-aircraft guard the New Jersey got going with her bigger guns.
In May, the enemy attention in the Choda area turned to two partisan-held islands, Hachwira do and Sangchwira do, in the Chinnampo estuary. Over 600 rounds were fired at these two islands in two weeks, but the partisans suffered few casualties and remained in possession. H.M.S. Morecambe Bay (Commander Hamer) and R.O.K. L.S.L. 107 were also fired on, the latter receiving two hits. Retribution came on 25th May when U.S.S. New Jersey, wearing Vice-Admiral Clark’s flag, accompanied by Rear-Admiral Clifford in H.M.S. Newcastlearrived on the scene. The New Jersey fired 32 rounds of 16-inch at Amgak and the batteries on the north shore of the River Taedong, while the Newcastle, further inshore, neutralized two enemy batteries with her 6-inch guns, and stood by to engage A.A. batteries which might interfere with the spotting aircraft. After the bombardment,
U.S.S. New Jersey left for the east coast, having first transferred Admiral Clark to H.M.S. Ocean (Captain 13. E. W. Logan) to witness flying operations. The next day, the guns on the north shore were again engaged by H.M. Ships Newcastle and St Bride’s Bay, and by H Neth. M.S. Jo/tan Maurits van Nassau, who came under fire from 105-mm and 76-mm guns, and were repeatedly straddled but not hit. For this bombardment, as for that of the New Jersey, air spot was provided by H.M.S. Ocean; several hits were scored on the enemy gun positions, which were also attacked from the air. H.M.S. Newcastle then proceeded to the Paengyong do area, where she carried out a concentrated bombardment of a particularly active battery, sited in caves,
A little excitement before the usual beach leave at Paengyong Do was granted.
On June 2nd the ship dressed with masthead flags. A special Coronation Service was held on board after which the Royal Salute was fired. We were disappointed that we were not allowed to fire this salute with shotted guns aimed at the enemy Anyway the noise of the blanks must have made them wonder what it was about and we believe we were the only ship to Honour our Queen in this way within range of enemy guns. . The main brace was duly spliced.
During this period up the coast we prepared our plans for the evacuation of some of the islands following a truce and our O.C.R.M. was lent to Birmingham when she arrived to take over from us so that she would know what to do
Despite the suggestions of an imminent truce we were not prepared to be caught napping, and although no suggestion has been previously heard that the enemy might use submarines special measures were exercised to See that we were ready for this threat if it materialized.
We went straight back to Sasebo, and hardly had our Concert Party made special arrangements to put on a show for H.M.S. Tyne, our fellow Geordie, On 12th June, Admiral Clifford was informed that the armistice was considered imminent. H.M.S. Newcastle (Captain Rutherford), though she had only just reached Sasebo from patrol, was sailed for Yong Pyong Do to take charge as C.T.U. 95. 1 •6 in the Haeju area,
ELEVENTH AND FINAL PATROL
June 13th to June 30th
For some time we, H.M.S. Tyne and H.M.S. Birmingham were strategically placed around the islands ready to cope with the expected signing of the truce and consequent evacuation. We were determined that the Communists would not be allowed to accuse us of a breach of faith in the evacuation of some of the islands by as much as second When it appeared that an armistice was unlikely H.M.S. Birmingham was sailed for Sasebo that day, and at midnight 23rd/24th Admiral Clifford followed her in the Tyne, leaving the Newcastle2 (Captain Rutherford) as C.T.U. 95 I 2 in control of the west coast. Over 1000 refugees left Paengyong do in a R.O.K. L.S.T. for Mokpo. Our landing parties received continual exercise and we were all ready to stow cows in the space usually occupied by the Admiral’s barge.
This was H.M.S. Newcastle’s last spell of war service. She left the area early in July for a refit at Singapore.
When we left the area we had good news as to our future. Our passage was delayed due to the necessity of dodging a typhoon but we still managed to stop at Hong Kong and proceed from there to arrive at Singapore in time.