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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS YORK  - YORK-class Heavy Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS York (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)return to Contents List 

YORK-Class Cruiser ordered from Palmer’s Jarrow on 21st June 1926 under the 1926 Build Programme and laid down on 15th May 1927. The ship was launched on 17th July 1928 as the 11th RN ship to carry the name introduced in 1660 for a 3rd rate, and her build was completed on 6th May 1930.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, a White rose with Gold keys issuant Red.


M o t t o

Bon espoir:  ‘ Good Hope’

(Note:  The Motto is that of Edmund Langley, First Duke of York.)




D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



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September             Deployed with the 8th Cruiser Squadron on the America and West Indies Station.

                3rd          Took passage to Halifax for Atlantic convoy defence.

                6th          At Halifax.

                16th        Deployed as Ocean Escort for Convoy HX1 with HM Cruiser BERWICK as relief for HM

                                Canadian Destroyers SAGUENAY and ST LAURENT.

                20th        Returned to Halifax.

                23rd        Joined Convoy HXF1 as escort.

                26th        Returned to Halifax.



                2nd         Deployed on convoy defence off Halifax.

                5th          Nominated to Join Hunting Group F with HMS BERWICK for the interception of

                                commerce raiders in West Indies.

                                This Group was never deployed due to other priority requirements.

                8th          Western Atlantic convoy defence duty in continuation

                31st         Took passage to Bermuda for repair.



                5th          Under repair to boilers by HM Dockyard, Bermuda.

                13th        Completion delayed by electrical defects.

                22nd       Passage to Halifax to resume convoy defence duties.

                26th        Escorted Convoy HX10 to UK.

                                (Note: The reason for this Honour is not clear but ship



                                Under repair at commercial shipyard in Liverpool.


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January                  Under repair at Liverpool.



                9th          On completion joined 1st Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.



                1st           Deployed on Northern Patrol for interception of blockade runners.

                3rd          Intercepted German freighter ARUCAS off Iceland, on passage from Vigo.

                                Enemy ship set of fire by crew and abandoned.

                                Sunk by gunfire and afterwards 43 of the survivors were rescued from a boat but three

                                later died.

                                Returned to Scapa Flow on completion of patrol.


April                       Deployed with Squadron for Atlantic convoy defence.

                                In Forth with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK and GLASGOW preparing for

                                support of planned allied landings in Norway (Operation R4).

                7th          Embarked troops at Rosyth.

                8th          Disembarked troops when German invasion of Norway was confirmed and sailed

                                to Join Home Fleet with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK and GLASGOW.

                9th          Joined Fleet SW of Bergen.

                                Under heavy and sustained attacks during which several ships were damaged by near

                                misses and HM Destroyer GURKHA (i) hit and later had to be sunk.

                                (Note: This event gave a foretaste of the extent of opposition to be experienced from air

                                attacks involving a very heavy expenditure of AA ammunition with a not

                                outstanding success in destruction of aircraft. See Naval Staff History – 2000)

                10th        Took passage with HM Battleships RODNEY, VALIANT, WARSPITE. HM Aircraft Carrier

                                FURIOUS and HM Cruisers BERWICK and DEVONSHIRE to carry out attacks on shipping

                                at Bergen by aircraft from HMS FURIOUS.

                                (Note: This operation was cancelled on passage by orders from the Admiralty.

                11th        Deployed in search for shipping between Trondheim and Vestfjord.

                                Attack by U48 was unsuccessful due to torpedo failure.

                                (For details of German torpedo problems see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by

                                Corelli Barnett and BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS by John Terraine).

                16th        Deployed with HM Cruisers EFFINGHAM, CALCUTTA and HM Destroyer ASHANTI to

                                intercept German destroyers reported on passage to Trondheim.

                22nd       Embarked troops at Rosyth for passage to reinforce military at Andalsnes.

                                Took passage with HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM and MANCHESTER accompanied by HM

                                Destroyers ACHERON, ARROW and GRIFFIN.

                24th        Landed 3,000 men and 300 tons of stores at Andalsnes (Operation SICKLE).

                29th        Passage from Rosyth with HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE screened by HM. Destroyers AFRIDI,

                                NUBIAN, HASTY, French cruiser MONTCALM and French destroyer BISON to escort

                                three troopships to evacuate MAURICE FORCE from Namsos.



                1st           Evacuation delayed by fog.

                2nd         Assisted in evacuation of allied troops from Namsos with same ships.

                                1,170 troops were embarked for passage to UK.

                3rd          Under heavy air attacks during evacuation operation during which HMS AFRIDI and French

                                destroyer BISON were sunk.

                                (For details of the disastrous allied campaign in Norway see above reference, NARVIK by

                                D. MacIntyre and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).

                12th        Deployed at Rosyth for anti-invasion patrol and interception duty in North Sea.

                                (Note: HM Cruisers MANCHESTER and SHEFFIELD of Squadron which were transferred

                                to Nore Command went to Humber for same duty.)

                31st         Transferred to 18th Cruiser Squadron and remained at Rosyth.


June                        Deployed on anti-invasion patrol in North Sea based at Rosyth.



                3rd          Carried out abortive search for GNEISENAU off Norway with HM Battlecruisers RENOWN,

                                REPULSE, HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, SHEFFIELD and AUSTRALIA (RAN), screened

                                by Fleet destroyers.


August                  Transferred to 7th Mediterranean Fleet.

                28th        Escorted military Convoy AP1 on passage to Middle East with troops for Desert Army

                                in Egypt


                2nd         Arrived at Freetown.

                10th        At Capetown.

                23rd        Detached from AP1 on arrival at Aden and relieved by HM Australian Cruiser HOBART.

                                HM Cruiser COVENTRY, HM Destroyers DIAMOND and KANDAHAR for escort during

                                Red Sea passage.

                                Joined following military Convoy AP2 at Aden as escort for Red Sea passage

                                (Note: HMS COVENTRY joined later with HM Destroyers DAINTY and KINGSTON

                                Convoys AP1, AP 2 (Single ship mv SYDNEY STAR) were all on passage

                                during this period and this ship would have provided cover in event of interception by

                                a commerce raider or enemy warship.)

                26th        Joined HM Cruisers LIVERPOOL, GLOUCESTER and SYDNEY (RAN) in 3rd Cruiser

                                Squadron at Alexandria.

                28th        Provided cover for HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER and LIVERPOOL taking troops to Malta

                                with Fleet units including HM Battleships VALIANT, WARSPITE, HM. Aircraft Carrier

                                ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) screened by Fleet destroyers.

                                (Fleet Operation MB5 – Intended to tempt action by Italian Fleet. See references)

                29th        Under air attacks.

                30th        Remained at sea when HMS LIVERPOOL and HMS GLOUCESTER were detached to land




                1st           Took passage from Malta area when HM Cruisers rejoined Fleet.

                3rd          Arrived at Alexandria.

                8th          Joined HM Cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL and SYDNEY (RAN) to cover

                                passage of Convoy MW2 to Malta and returning ME2 (Fleet Operation MB6).

                11th        Remained with Fleet when convoy arrived in Malta.

                13th        Detached to sink Italian destroyer ARTIGLIERE which had been damaged in action with HM

                                Cruiser AJAX at 0153 on 12th. A flying boat sighted her at 0710 and HM Cruiser ORION reported

                                a ship burning at 0712

                                On arrival ARTIGLIERE was found to be in tow by another Italian destroyer which then

                                departed at high speed. ARTIGLIERE surrendered and personnel abandoned ship using

                                carley floats dropped by HMS YORK which sank the enemy ship by gunfire and torpedo

                                with spectacular explosion. For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO 2001).

                14th        Took passage to rejoin Fleet for return to Alexandria.

                16th        Arrived at Alexandria



                4th          Covered passage of Malta Convoy MW3 with Fleet units.

                9th          Under air attacks during which two aircraft were destroyed.

                10th        Met HM Battleship BARHAM, HM Cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW escorted by HM

                                Destroyers GREYHOUND, GALLANT and GRIFFIN in transit to reinforce the Fleet in

                                eastern Mediterranean.

                                (Operation COAT - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli

                                Bamett, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by Donald MacIntyre and Naval Staff

                                History (HMSO-2001).

                11th        Detached to escort HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS with HM Cruisers BERWICK

                                GLASGOW and GLOUCESTER screened by HM Destroyers HAVOCK, HEREWARD and

                                HERO during air strikes on Italian Fleet at Taranto (Operation JUDGEMENT).

                14th        Embarked troops at Alexandria for passage to Piraeus with HM Cruisers, BERWICK,

                                GLASGOW GLOUCESTER, AJAX, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN).

                16th        Returned to Alexandria from Piraeus..

                26th        Deployed with HM Cruisers GLASGOW and GLOUCESTER as Force E to cover passage of

                                Malta convoy and to support Fleet units covering transfer of reinforcements to the

                                Mediterranean Fleet based at Alexandria (Force F - Operation COLLAR)

                                (For details see above references).

                30th        Returned to Alexandria.



                16th        Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier

                                ILLUSTRIOUS screened by 11 destroyers as Force A and HM Cruiser as Force B.

                                (Operation HIDE – carry out offensive operations in eastern Mediterranean, carry out

                                bombardment and air attacks on Valona, air operations on shipping and provide cover for passage

                                of convoys. See Naval Staff History for details.)

                17th        At Suda Bay.

                18th        Joined by HM Cruisers ORION, SYDNEY (RAN) and AJAX,

                                Detached from Force A with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and four destroyers screen destroyer.

                                Took passage to flying-off position.

                19th        Provided cover during air operations.

                                Rejoined Force A which had carried out bombardment and took passage to Malta.

                20th        Covered entry of HMS WARSPITE into Malta after bombardments.

                23rd        Detached from Force A with all cruisers and returned to Alexandria.


1 9 4 1



                6th          Escorted RFA Fleet Tanker BRAMBLELEAF to Suda Bay, Crete with HM Cruiser ORION,

                                HM Corvettes PEONY, GLOXINIA, HYACINTH and SALVIA.

                7th          Joined Force D at Suda Bay with ORION, AJAX and PERTH as part of a Fleet deployment to

                                cover transit of military convoy from Gibraltar to Malta and Piraeus, and convoys to and from

                                Malta. (Operation EXCESS.)

                                (Note:  This complex operation was subjected to sustained air attacks by German aircraft for the

                                first time in the Mediterranean. See above references).

                9th          Met HM Battleships WARSPITE , VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and a

                                screen of Fleet destroyers deployed as Force A in position SE of Malta.

                                Continued the escort of military convoy and joined by HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE which

                                was in transit to reinforce Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.

                11th        Passage to Alexandria as escort for two mercantiles from EXCESS convoy as Convoy ME5 ½

                                with HM Cruiser CALCUTTA and two destroyers.

                                (Note: Main Fleet units providing Distant Cover were under sustained German air attacks on

                                10th during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was made a special target and seriously


                16th        Arrived in Alexandria.


February                Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet cruiser force in Eastern Mediterranean.


March                    Covered passage of military convoys to Greece (Operation LUSTRE).

                                Transferred to Suda Bay with Mediterranean Fleet cruisers.

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History)

                                Deployed at Suda Bay.

.               26th        Damaged by at Suda Bay by explosive motor boat launched from an Italian destroyer.

                                Ship was at anchor and then beached to prevent sinking.


April                       Used for harbour AA defence.

                                (Note:  Some of ship’s company provided beach parties during the evacuation of allied troops

                                from Greece (Operation DEMON).

                21st         Two divers examining hull killed by a near miss which also further damaged structure.


May                        Salvage investigations in continuation.

                18th        Hit during bombing attacks and damaged beyond repair.

                22nd       Ship abandoned after main armament destroyed by demolition charges.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e


The wreck of HMS YORK was salved in February by an Italian shipbreaker and taken to be broken up at Bari, Italy in 1952 where she arrived in tow on 3rd March that year. This name was carried forward in 1981 when given to a Type 42 Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie in Newcastle. The close association with the city of York has been maintained.  







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








HX 001





HXF 001





HX 002





HX 004





HX 005





HX 010





AP 001/1





AP 002/1




(Note on Convoys)



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revised 17/12/10
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