SMS Yorck was the second and final ship of the R'oon-class of armored cruisers built for the GermanImperial Navy. Yorck was named for Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg, a Prussian field marshal. She was laid down in 1903 at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, and finished in November 1905. The ship had a short career; she served with the fleet for the first seven years, after which she was decommissioned and placed in reserve. After the outbreak of World War I, she was reactivated and returned to front-line service. After returning from the raid on Yarmouth on 3–4 November, the ship made a navigational error in heavy fog and accidentally sailed into a German defensive minefield. The ship sank quickly with heavy loss of life, though sources disagree on the exact number of fatalities.
While returning from a fishing trip, the steam trawler Ripple meet with the SMS Yorck as they came into Boston Harbor. The German ship launched a boat whose crew purchased their fish but refused any wine. The reason being that she was on high alert after the assassination of the Austrianarch duke.