Mystery pictures sparked plenty of interest

HMS York being fitted out at Palmers in Jarrow.
HMS York being fitted out at Palmers in Jarrow.

Last week’s centre spread of mystery pictures generated a lot of interest among readers, many of whom got in touch in order to identify the ships and places portrayed.

Thanks go to Kevin Blair who was able to shed light on the photo of the warship.

The old St Hildas primary school.

The old St Hildas primary school.

“The photo of the vessel being fitting out is of the Heavy Cruiser HMS York,” explains Kevin.

“It was being fitted out at Palmer’s Shipbuilding and Iron Co. Ltd., in Jarrow.

“Her keel was laid on May 16,1927, and she was launched on July 17, 1928, and completed on May 6, 1930.

“The York had four Parsons-type steam turbines which could generate 80000 shp.

“She had four propellers, and was capable of 32.2 knots. She also had three x two x eight-inch guns, four x one four-inch QF Mk4 AA guns, and two x three x 21-inch torpedo tubes.”

Kevin said the York was built with an aircraft hanger under the bridge (hence the high bridge structure). However the hanger was never used.

“On March 26,1941, she was rammed amidships at Suda Bay by two Italian explosive motorboats, and was beached at Suda Bay in order to prevent her sinking.

“Just two months later, on May 18, she was bombed by German aircraft and damaged beyond repair, and four days after that her main guns wrecked by demolition charges to prevent use by the Germans.

“The wreck was salvaged in February, 1952, by an Italian shipbreaker and towed to Bari, Italy, for breaking, where she arrived on March 3, 1952.”

Meanwhile, Vi and Gordon Whitfield wrote in to say: “The picture shown on the bottom left of Wednesday’s Gazette is almost certainly of the old St Hilda’s primary school which was overlooked by the gas holder, which can be clearly seen.

“Many thousands of town centre residents must have gone there, including my wife, who was there prior to evacuation at the outbreak of the Second World War.”

Referring to the same picture, George Mossman Snr added: “The photograph shows entrance to St Hilda’s infant and junior school, Waterloo Vale, South Shields.

“Immediately behind the school, in the clouds of smoke, is the coking ovens, and to the left of the picture is the gasometer, which is still standing there, although I believe it is no longer used and is due to be taken down.

“Asda car park probably covers the area where the school once stood.”