Allied Warships

HMS Afridi (F 07)

Destroyer of the Tribal class


HMS Afridi as completed

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTribal 
PennantF 07 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Newcastle-on-Tyne, U.K.): Vickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered10 Mar 1936 
Laid down9 Jun 1936 
Launched8 Jun 1937 
Commissioned3 May 1938 
Lost2 May 1940 
Loss position66° 14'N, 5° 45'E
History

Pennant numbers:
L 07, April 1938 - December 1938
F 07, January 1939 - May 1940.

HMS Afridi's acceptance trials took place on 29th April 1938 in a rising gale but all went well and she was accepted. After completing the usual formalities, she sailed from Portland, England on 27th May on her way to join the Mediterranean Fleet at Malta. In July, she left Malta to patrol the waters off the Mediterranean Spanish coast. Afridi like all other Royal Navy vessels in these waters, had broad, red, white and blue bands painted on 'B' gun-mounting so that Spanish Republican and Nationalist aircraft could identify the neutral British. By 18 September 1938, Afridi arrived at Istanbul, Turkey for a formal visit. The Czechoslovak crises were upon the world so the remainder of the Black Sea cruise was canceled. Afridi sailed for Alexandria, Egypt for a short stay then left to rejoin the 4th Destroyer Flotilla (4th D.F.) in Malta. On 23rd February 1939, Afridi steamed to Gibraltar where the Mediterranean and Home Fleets were gathering for combined exercises. With one hundred ships and thirteen Admirals taking part, many aspects of warfare could be tested.

When war broke out, Afridi was ordered back to Alexandria in anticipation of convoy duty. Meanwhile, Italy took steps to prove her neutrality so the convoy escorts and blockade controls which were anticipated could no longer be justified. The 4th D.F. was ordered back to England. From now on, the flotilla virtually lost its identity and each Tribal was assigned individual duties by the Flag Officer under whose command she came. From April 1940 onwards, Afridi participated in numerous sea campaigns off Norway in the company of her sister ships.

On 2 May 1940 at 0800hours, while escorting a convoy off the Norwegian coast, HMS Afridi (Capt. Philip Louis Vian, DSO, RN) and the other ships around her were attacked by German Ju87 and Ju88 bombers . The French destroyer Bison was hit and her forward magazine exploded. Afridi joined HMS Grenade in rescuing survivors and in fighting off two more air attacks. Another Ju87 dive bombing attack developed at 1400hours. Since Afridi was the common target for two aircraft coming in from each side, evasive maneuvers were not possible. One bomb hit her No. 1 Boiler Room starting a severe fire at the after end of the messdecks. Another bomb hit the port side just forward of the bridge. HMS Imperial came alongside and HMS Griffin stood by to carry out rescue work. At 1445hours, Afridi went down bow-first about 150 nautical miles west-north-west of Vega Island, Norway in position 66º14'N, 05º45'E. She took with her, 49 officers and men, 13 soldiers and over 30 Bison survivors. It was the second anniversary of her commissioning.

 

Commands listed for HMS Afridi (F 07)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. George Hector Creswell, DSC, RN11 Dec 19371 Jan 1940
2Capt. Philip Louis Vian, RN1 Jan 194018 Jan 1940
3Cdr. Robert St. Vincent Sherbrooke, RN18 Jan 194029 Mar 1940
4Capt. Philip Louis Vian, RN29 Mar 19403 May 1940

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Afridi include:


23 Nov 1939

Sinking of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi

Around midday on 21 November 1939 the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, escorted by the light cruisers Köln and Leipzig and the destroyers Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim, Z 12 / Erich Giese and Z 20 / Karl Galster, departed Wilhelmshaven for a raid into the North Atlantic, this was to relieve the pressure of the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee operating in the South Atlantic. Late on the 21st the escorts left the battlecruisers.

Just after 1500 hours on 23 November the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi (Capt. E.C. Kennedy, (retired), RN) sighted the Scharnhorst. Rawalpindi was part of the British Northern Patrol and was stationed south-east of Iceland in the Iceland-Faroer gap. Captain Kennedy at first tried to outrun the German ship, to report to the Admiralty that he sighted the German pocket battleship Deutschland, still believed to be operating in the North Atlantic, and to buy time so that other ships of the Northern patrol could come to his assistance. Just after 1600 hours, Rawalpindi came within range of the Scharnhorst and was quickly reduced to a flaming wreck. During this engagement Scharnhorst was hit by a 6in shell from Rawalpindi causing only light damage. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau together picked up 27 survivors from Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi finally sank around 2000 hours.

The British light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt J. Figgins, RN), that was also part of the Northern Patrol, picked up Rawalpindi's signal and closed the scene. She sighted the Gneisenau but the Germans managed to escape in the fog.

The Admiralty also thought the ship sighted by Rawalpindi and Newcastle was the Deutschland that was trying to return to Germany. In response to the sighting and destruction of the Rawalpindi the Admiralty took immediate action;
The battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN with Admiral Forbes aboard) HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) departed the Clyde to patrol of Norway to cut off the way to Germany for the Deutschland.

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Orkney and Shetland islands.

Light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) was sent from Loch Ewe to the last known position of the German ship(s).

On northern patrol, south of the Faroes were the light cruisers HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clark, RN), HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN). These were joined by HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN) and HMS Diomede (Capt. E.B.C. Dicken, RN).

Of the ships of the Denmark strait patrol, the heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, MVO, DSO, RN) were ordered to proceed to the Bill Bailey Bank (to the south-west of the Faroes).

The light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) were already at sea patrolling north-east of the Shetlands were to be joined by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN).

Despite the British effort to intercept the German ships, both German battlecruisers returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 27th.

9 Apr 1940
At 0700 hours (zone -1), HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN) and HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) both joined the C-in-C in the Home Fleet.

At 1140 hours, HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN), was detached for an operation in Norwegian territorial waters (operate against German forces in water at and around Bergen) together with the cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN).

Soon after 1400 hours however a signal was received cancelling the operation and the ships set course to re-join the fleet.

In the afternoon the German Luftwaffe however started to attack the ships and near missed lightly damaged HMS Southampton and HMS Glasgow. HMS Gurkha was however sunk. Survivors were picked up by HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) who was also on her way to join the Home Fleet at sea.

Later on the 9th most of the ships involved in the intended opertion against Bergen were ordered to proceed to Scapa Flow or Sullom Voe for refuelling. (1)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


Return to the Allied Warships section