With its length of 98 mm the Dinky Toys model of H.M.S. York is the fifth in size of the no. 50 Ships of the Royal Navy set, after H.M.S. Hood, H.M.S. Nelson, H.M.S. Rodney and H.M.S. Effingham. This also goes for the tonnage size (8,250 long tons (8,380 t) (standard)) of the real vessel. The model is a one piece casting provided with two slim wire masts. The cast lettering underneath reads: MADE IN ENGLAND, next: MECCANO | DINKY TOYS, next: HMS | YORK.
HMS York was the first of two York-class heavy cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1920s. She mostly served on the North America and West Indies Station before World War II. Early in the war the ship escorted convoys in the Atlantic and participated in the Norwegian Campaign in 1940. York was transferred to the Mediterranean theatre in late 1940 where she escorted convoys and the larger ships of the Mediterranean Fleet.
York was disabled at Suda Bay in Crete by two Italian explosive motorboats of the Italian Regia Marina assault Flotilla Decima Flottiglia MAS, launched by the destroyers Crispi and Sella on 26 March 1941; the two old destroyers were fitted with special cranes to operate assault craft. Six motorboats entered the bay, led by Tenente di vascello Luigi Faggioni, and attacked three targets in pairs; the first was York, second the tanker Pericles and last another ship at anchor. Three of the attacking boats had various problems, either mechanical or human, due to the extreme temperature conditions, but the other three successfully attacked their targets. Two motorboats, packed with 330-kilogram (730 lb) charges in the bows, struck York amidships, flooding both boiler rooms and one engine room. Two British seamen were killed. The ship was run aground to prevent her from sinking. The submarine HMS Rover was used to supply electrical power to operate the cruiser's guns for anti-aircraft defence, until Rover was severely damaged by air attack and had to be towed away for repairs. On 18 May, further damage was inflicted by German bombers and the ship was damaged beyond repair. Her main guns were wrecked by demolition charges on 22 May 1941 when the Allies began to evacuate Crete. York's wreck was salvaged in February 1952 by an Italian shipbreaker and towed to Bari to be broken up, beginning on 3 March. Kind regards, Jan
Very nice information as always. A small addition to your comment. Dinky Toys York was also available as a single model as you know. Sold out of tradeboxes for six models. So two pictures of the box. One from the top and the other showing the front. Dimensions 18 x 76 x 26 mm. No date codes on this box.
Thanks John, much appreciated. Just a spontaneous spin-off from cataloguing my recent trio of Dinky ship models. Every comment and addition will contribute to the discussion on Dinky Toys, and to the accumulation of Dinky Toys knowledge we are creating on the forum. Kind regards, Jan
By the way: a remarkable mistake, classifying this cruiser as a 'battle cruiser', as printed on the trade box. Battle cruisers had a tonnage of about four or five times York's tonnage: Scharnhorst 31,800/38,900, Hood 42,100/46,200 tons and their (main) armament was considerably heavier, 11-15 inch guns. Kind regards, Jan
Indeed the name is not correct. On two other ships Meccano first printed on the first boxes Battle Cruiser, Dehli and Effingham. Soon Meccano wanted to change this and made separate labels to stuck over the original name "Battle Cruiser". These new labels can be seen on the two boxes. Not done very well as some are coming loose, it is not my effort to show this, as I never risk to damage original parts on boxes. Quite interesting all this. I am still hunting these boxes with a original print "Cruiser".