Laid down in 1937 and commissioned in 1941, HMS Duke of York was a King George V-class of battleship. She had the distinction of transporting Winston Churchill across the Atlantic to meet Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Winter of 1941. Churchill wrote of his experience, “Being in a ship in weather such as this is like being in a prison, with the extra chance of being drowned”. Between March and September of the next year she was involved mainly in convoy escort duties, but in October was dispatched to Gibraltar to become the flagship of Task Force H.
She saw little action during this period, her main role being protection of the task force’s aircraft carriers, but nevertheless assisted the Allied invasion of North Africa. She subsequently participated in operations to divert Axis attentions away from Sicily in Operation Husky, and Operation Leander in an attempt to disrupt German merchant shipping of the coast of Norway.
On December 26th 1943 HMS Duke of York encountered the German battleship Scharnhorst. Exchanging fire, HMS Duke of York suffered some hits with little effect, but for her part landed several hits upon Scharnhorst, silencing a turret and hitting a boiler room. This forced Scharnhorst on the defensive, and she was sunk by torpedoes as well as further heavy fire from Duke of York.