hms duke of york

Likely taken during Operation Tungsten, a sailor of the Royal Canadian Navy looks aft from HMCS Algonquin’s deck, toward what would be the King George V-class battleships HMS Duke of York and HMS Anson - ca. April 1944.

Sourced from: Department of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada.

Winston Churchill on the stern of the British battleship HMS Duke of York in August 1941. On the 9th of that month Duke of York had pulled into Placentia Bay on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. There the ship in the background, USS Augusta, was waiting with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In America the press and public were told he was on a ten day fishing trip. This was the first of eleven wartime meetings between Churchill and Roosevelt.

As Duke of York had crossed through a vicious Atlantic storm Churchill passed the time drafting the Atlantic Charter. It detailed the goals and aims of the Allied powers concerning the war (which America had not yet joined) and the post-war world. It’s an interesting thing that in those bleak days Churchill had already grown sure of eventual victory. The Atlantic Charter became the basis of the United Nations, with Britain and America effectively vowing to succeed where the League of Nations had so clearly failed. Roosevelt warmed to Churchill, becoming far less opportunistic in his aid to Britain and evermore an ally.

British and American warships in Sagami Bay, Japan, circa 27-29 August 1945. Battleship HMS King George V in the center, closest to camera. Other ships visible in the background include, from left to right: Two New Mexico-class battleships, USS San Juan (CL-54); USS Missouri (BB-63); USS Pasadena (CL-65); USS South Dakota (BB-57); a Fletcher-class destroyer underway; USS Iowa (BB-61) and HMS Duke of York.

(NHHC: 80-G-K-6523)