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Sister ships: CORNWALL, CUMBERLAND, KENT, SUFFOLK, AUSTRALIA (R.A.N.), CANBERRA (R.A.N.)
Pennant Number: 65
Notes: This class of seven ships were a marked improvement on the preceding HAWKINS class heavy cruisers. The ammunition spaces were fairly well protected. The 8" guns were in mountings of a novel design, capable of 70° elevation, with shell and charge rammed in one operation. Unfortunately for the Royal Navy, these mounts proved troublesome throughout their careers. While a requirement of 12 rounds per gun per minute was desired, in practice, 3-4 rounds per minute was the maximum achieved in sustained fire. A catapult with one aircraft was mounted in 1931-32. They were not "handy" ships; KENT's tactical diameter was measured at 1,040 yards @ 14 knots. BERWICK was reconstructed in 1937-38, with a 4.5" armored belt added, and 4" armor was added to the boiler room fan compartments. Aircraft were increase to three, with a cross-deck catapult added. The single 4" guns were replaced by eight 4" Mk. XVI guns in twin mounts. The four single 2-pdr. "pom-poms" were replaced by two octuple mounts. Aircraft and catapults were removed in June, 1942. In February, 1943, two more "pom-pom" mounts were added -- these were quads instead of octuples. During the war, a total of 18 - 20mm AA guns were added.
BERWICK served the entire course of World War II with Home Fleet. In action against the German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER on 25 December 1940, BERWICK took four - 8" hits which her armor successfully defended, and spent no time out of service. Following World War II, BERWICK was sold for breaking up and scrapped at Blyth in July, 1948.