The Portsmouth-based warship, a Type 42 destroyer, was deployed at the end of November and sailed to ports including Gibraltar, the Cape Verde Islands, Brazil and the Canary Islands before arriving at the Falkland Islands in January 2010.
While stationed in the South Atlantic Overseas Territories, HMS York provided reassurance to the local people and acted as a deterrent. She also took part in a joint exercise with her affiliated Army regiment, the Yorkshire Regiment, members of the 1st Battalion of which (1 YORKS) were stationed on the islands.
The destroyer’s gun fired 100 rounds of high explosive ordnance in support of members of 1 YORKS during the exercise, some of the 1,000 rounds fired in total.
Several air defence exercises were also held with RAF Typhoon aircraft.
HMS York’s Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Staley, said:
The excellent training and support provided prior to our departure last year has stood York in very good stead for what has been a challenging and sometimes gruelling South Atlantic deployment.
Focused on our mission from the get go, my ship’s company has retained York’s outstanding strength throughout; they have been utterly professional, consistently resourceful, and determined to retain the sense of humour synonymous with the Senior Service.
On patrol in the extremis of the South Sandwich Islands, or when exercising with tri-Service colleagues and international partners in the littoral and on the high seas, Team York has succeeded on all counts.
As their Commanding Officer, I am immensely proud of these tenacious and loyal men and women and delighted to be returning them safely home to their friends and families.
While stationed in the Falkland Islands, HMS York worked alongside the on-station tanker, RFA Wave Ruler, to support an RAF helicopter rescue of an ill trawlerman, provided the Guard at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in Port Stanley, and was in the area when the exploratory oil rig, Ocean Guardian, arrived to begin the search for oil reserves.
Settlement visits were also held at Pebble Island, Port Edgar, Fox Bay and San Carlos, with memorial services conducted at the war grave sites of HM Ships Ardent, Antelope, Coventry and Sheffield.
HMS York also visited South Georgia and provided support to the British Antarctic Survey who are based there to assess the impact of climate change.
Stops at the stunning Drygalski Fjord and Gold Harbour and Grytviken provided excellent opportunities for the ship’s company to see some diverse wildlife. HMS York also took the rare opportunity to visit Southern Thule, part of the South Sandwich Islands, and the most southerly point, where they flew the White Ensign.
Chief Petty Officer Dennis Nolan said:
This is my last deployment as I will be shore-based from now until I retire in three years, and patrolling the South Atlantic has definitely seen me end that side of my career on a high.
It has been extremely challenging - especially working within the operational theatre of the Falkland Islands; we had to make sure that we did a decent job by providing a strong mixture of reassurance and deterrence.