Today the Royal Navy retired the HMS York, its second to last Type 42 destroyer. Its last Type 42, HMS Edinburgh, sailed on its final deployment earlier this week and will be retired upon its return. The Type 42 destroyer class has served the Royal Navy since the 1970s and two were lost in the Falklands War. York and Edinburgh will soon be replaced by new Type 45 destroyers which are among the most powerful and sophisticated anti-aircraft vessels in the world.
During her long career, York sailed 750,000 miles in defense of British interests and saw service in Iraq (2003), Lebanon (2006) and most recently Libya (2011). Her sister ship Edinburgh also served in the 2003 Iraq conflict and has deployed on numerous anti-terrorism and narcotics interdiction missions around the globe. Both ships are currently for sale on the UK MoD’s disposal site and their sale will be used as a diplomatic tool to further relations with another nation(s). Another notable warship sale occurred earlier this year when the US Navy sold for scrap the Sea Shadow, a copy of which appeared in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
The last vessel to bear the Edinburgh name was a Town-class cruiser lost in World War 2 in the Arctic Sea. The ship fell prey to Nazi sea and air forces while escorting a convoy from Murmansk, Russia to Great Britain. Aboard the vessel was 465 bars of gold bullion weighing 4.5 tons. Several salvage efforts were launched but it wasn’t until September 1981 that the first bar of gold was recovered. Over the course of two dive seasons, 460 of the 465 bars were successfully recovered. The recovery operations were performed under a contract similar to that between the UK government and Odyssey Marine for the Gairsoppa and Mantola recoveries in 2012.