HMS EDINBURGH was a cruiser of 10,000 tons, armed with twelve 6 inch guns, and a designed speed of 32.5 knots. She was built under the 1936 programme by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Newcastle-on-Tyne, with machinery by the Wallsend Slipway Company, and was laid down on 30 December 1936; launched on 31 March 1938; and completed on 6 July 1939.
On the outbreak of the Second World War she was in the 18th Cruiser Squadron in the Home Fleet in Scapa. After patrolling between Iceland and the Faroes during 1939, she was transfered from the 18th to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron on 1 October, for duty with the Humber Force. She was, however, still in the Firth of Forth when German aircraft made a raid on 16 October. Only minor damage from near miss bombs was sustained.
Later in March 1941, she accompanied the troop convoy WS 7 on the first stage of it's journey to the Middle East, afterwards fuelling at Gibraltar and returning to Scapa on 15 April. Later that month she covered a minelaying operation in the Denmark Strait.
In the operations which led to the sinking of the German battleship BISMARK, in May 1941, the EDINBURGH, which has been on the Biscay Patrol, during which she intercepted the German SS LECH on 22 May, was ordered to make for the enemy's position and take over as a standby shadower. She did not, however, have the good fortune to sight the enemy.
On 1 June she left Scapa to relieve the HERMONE on the Denmark Strait Patrol. At the end of the month she was detached from the Home Fleet for ocean escort duty. She asssisted to cover yet another Middle East Convoy, WS 9B from the Clyde, and in July went to Gibraltor for docking. Later in July she took part in the Malta convoy operation "Substance", arriving and leaving Malta on the 24th. Next day she was missed by an aircraft torpedo.
The EDINBURGH left Rosyth on 23 October for escort duties with Narvik convoys. When reports of the attack on the armed merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI were recieved on 23 November, she was amoung the ships which searched unsuccessfully for her assailant, the battle cruiser SCHARNHORST. She afterwards resumed escort duties with the Narvik convoys.
On 17th March 1940, the EDINBURGH arrived in the Tyne for a long refit which lasted until the 28 October, after which she rejoined the 18th Cruiser Squadron Home Fleet. On 18th November she left the Clyde escorting a troop convoy, WS 4B, as far as Freetown, returning to Scapa on 12 December. During the winter months she took part in various Home Fleet patrols and minor operations. She helped to cover the raid on the Lofoten Islands on 4 March 1941.
In August 1941, the EDINBURGH took part in the escort of convoy WS 10 from the Clyde to Simonstown. At the end of September she took part in another Malta convoy, operation "Halberd", arriving and leaving Malta on the 28th.
On 1 October she left Gibraltor for the Clyde with prisoners of war, etc., and after repairs there rejoined the Home Fleet in Scapa. During November she was employed on the Iceland Forces Patrol. In December 1941, she was one of the escorts for the Russion convoys PQ6 and QP4, both of which arrived safely. On 14 January 1942, she left Scapa to refit in the Tyne until 4 March, when she left to return to Scapa. During March she was again on the Iceland-Faroes Patrol. On 22 March she left Scapa to cover the Russion convoy PQ13 and QP9, returning on the 28th.
On 6 April she again left to escort the convoy PQ14. Of it's 24 ships, 16 had to return to Iceland owing to ice and bad weather, and one was sunk by U-boat. The EDINBURGH with the remainder of the convoy arrived in the Kola Inlet on 19 April.
On 30 April 1942, the EDINBURGH was struck by two torpedos from the German submarine U456 (captain Kapitänleutnant Max Teichert) and seriously damaged, she was taken in tow, but later was able to proceed at slow speed under her own steam.
On 2 May, however, after driving off attack by torpedo aircraft, she was attacked off Bear Island by German destroyers, but was agained torpedoed, and later had to be abandoned, being finally sunk by torpedo from the destroyer FORESIGHT, Two officers and 56 ratings were lost.