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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS AFRIDI (L07) -  Tribal-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Afridi, sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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TRIBAL-Class Destroyer ordered on 10th March 1936 from Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle under the 1935 Build Programme and laid down on 9th June that year. The ship was launched on 8th June 1937 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, introduced in 1907 for a destroyer which was sold in 1919. HMS COSSACK, a sister ship was also launched at this shipyard on the same day. Build was completed on 3rd May 1938 for a tender price of £341,462 which excluded supply of weapons and communications outfits by the Admiralty.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


 DOVER PATROL 1914-18 - ZEEBRUGGE  1918 - NORWAY 1940


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field barry wavy, Blue and White, issuing from the base

an Afridi’s head and shoulders affronte proper.



D e t a i l s   o f   P r e - W a r   S e r v i c e



1 9 3 8



                29th        Commissioned for service in 1st TRIBAL Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet



                3rd          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Portland to work-up for service

                                with Flotilla as Senior Officer’s ship.

                                On completion of working-up took passage to join Flotilla at Malta.



                3rd          Arrived in Malta and joined Flotilla.

                                Deployed in Malta for exercises.


July                         Nominated for Non-Intervention Patrol duty off Spanish coast .

                                Deployed for patrol and visited Barcelona and Marseilles before return to Malta


August                  Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Exercise and Visits programme.

                                Called at Greek ports.


September             On completion of exercises took passage to Istanbul with HM Cruiser

                                DEVONSHIRE and HM Destroyer COSSACK of Flotilla,

                                Passage from Istanbul to Alexandria. to rejoin Flotilla.

                                (Note: Planned visits to Black Sea ports cancelled in view of Munich crisis


October                  Deployed at Alexandria with Mediterranean Fleet.

                24th        Sailed for Cyprus.


November              Passage to Malta.

                9th          Arrived in Malta and taken in hand for routine docking.



                17th        Undocked and prepared to resume Flotilla duties.

                                (Note: Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to F07.


1 9 3 9


January                  Deployed in Malta with Flotilla.


February                Passage to Gibraltar to take part in joint Exercises with ships of Home and

                                Mediterranean Fleets.


March                    Deployed for joint Fleet exercises based at Gibraltar

                                (Note: These were an annual event in peace-time and reintroduced in 1946.)

                18th        Sailed from Gibraltar with Mediterranean Fleet ships for Spring Visits to ports

                                in South France.

                                Later withdrawn from programme after collision with HM Cruiser PENELOPE

                                during transfer of mail.

                                Passage to Malta for repair by HM Dockyard


April                       Transferred with ships of Flotilla to 4th Destroyer Flotilla as new identity.

                                On completion of repair took passage to Alexandria to rejoin Flotilla.

                                (Note: Mediterranean Fleet had been ordered to assemble there after Italian

                                invasion of Albania on 7th.)


May                        On release from Fleet assembly deployed with Flotilla in Eastern Mediterranean

                                for Fleet and Flotilla exercises and visits programme.

                26th        Visited Mersa Matruh with HM Destroyer GURKHA (i)


June                        Exercise and visits programme in continuation including visits to Greek ports.

to July


August                  Deployed for Fleet exercises in Aegean with ships of Flotilla

                                (Note: This series of exercises was carried out in anticipation of outbreak of war

                                possibly involving Italy.)

                                Nominated for deployment in Red Sea as war station.)

                18th        Returned to Alexandria.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)




                2nd         Passage to Red Sea via Suez Canal for surveillance duties with HM Destroyers

                                GURKHA (i), MOHAWK and SIKH of Flotilla.

                                (Note: Surveillance was required on movement of Italian ships in Red Sea


                10th        On release from surveillance returned to Alexandria.


October                  Transferred with Flotilla from Mediterranean Fleet for service in Home waters.

                                Passage from Alexandria to UK with calls at Malta and Gibraltar

                                Nominated for service in North Sea with Humber Force based at Immingham.


November              Joined Humber Force.

                                (Note: Ships of 2nd Cruiser Squadron and 7th Destroyer Flotilla were based

                                at Immingham for interception of German warships taking passage to

                                Atlantic via NW Approaches.)

                                *Transferred to Rosyth (before 23rd) in continuation of North Sea deployment including

                                escort between UK and Norway.

                                (Note: ON Series between Methil and Bergen.

                                HN Series between Bergen and Methil.)

                                *With units of Home Fleet searched for German ship(s) that had sunk HM Armed

                                Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI on the 23rd. Erroneously believed to be pocket

                                battleship DEUTSCHLAND, but actually battlecruiser SCHARNHORST.


December              Rosyth-based duty in continuation


1 9 4 0


January                  Owing to accumulation of defects including leaks and problems with Turbine

                                blades, withdrawn from operational use for repair.

                                (Note: Cracks in hull structure developed in ships of this Class due to excess

                                of calculated stress factors when ship was moving at high speed in

                                heavy weather conditions.

                                Similarly damage was caused to blades of steam turbines in most of

                                the British built TRIBAL Class destroyers in the first months of their

                                service. Blades were replaced at refits in 1939 and 1940)

                16th        Passage to West Hartlepool.

                17th        Taken in hand by commercial shipyard.


February                Under repair.



                19th        Carried out post refit trials and on completion took passage to resume

                                duties in Home Fleet.


April                       Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

                7th          Sailed from Forth as part of destroyer screen for HM Cruisers GALATEA

                                and GALATEA with HM Destroyers GURKHA (i), SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU.

                                COSSACK, KASHMIR, KELVIN, Polish destroyers ORP GROM, ORP

                                BURZA and ORP BLYSKAWICA to carry out search for German warships

                                reported on passage in North Sea.

                8th          Deployed as screen for Striking Force with same ships during sweep to the

                                northward in search for German warships.

                                Striking Force and screen ordered to join ships of Home Fleet at sea off

                                Norwegian coast.

                9th          Joined Home Fleet with Striking Force.

                                Detached with HM Destroyers GURKHA (i), SIKH, MOHAWK, SOMALI,

                                MATABELE and MASHONA as screen for HM Cruisers MANCHESTER,

                                GLASGOW, SHEFFIELD and SOUTHAMPTON to carry out attacks on

                                warships and transports in Bergen

                                Operation cancelled and took passage with same ships to rejoin Home Fleet.

                                (Note: Admiralty decided that attack at this strength was unlikely to be

                                successful For details see NAVAL OPERATIONS IN THE

                                CAMPAIGN OFF NORWAY, April – June 1940. ENGAGE THE

                                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE DOOMED

                                EXPEDITION by J Adams and NORWAY 1940 by F Kennedy.)

                                Under sustained and heavy air attacks during which HMS GURKHA (i) was

                                sunk , HM Battleship RODNEY hit by falling aircraft with HMS

                                SOUTHAMPTON and HMS GLASGOW slightly damaged by near misses.

                10th        Passage to Scapa Flow to refuel and re-ammunition.

                11th        Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, SIKH,

                                MATABELE and MOHAWK as screen for HMS GLASGOW and HMS

                                SHEFFIELD during inshore interception on Norwegian coast northward from


                12th        Screen deployment during patrol.

                13th        Deployed in search operation by same ships for ships reported by aircraft.

                                Nominated for support of planned landings at Namsos.

                                (Operation HENRY)

                                Deployed with the six destroyers of screen to destroy enemy shipping

                                believed to be at Alesund.

                                (Note: On arrival the ships were found to be Norwegian. See References)

                                Under air attacks at Alesund.

                                (Note: Landing Parties from the cruisers were embarked in destroyers

                14th        Rejoined Cruisers and refuelled.

                15th        Deployed off Kya Light to await arrival of troop convoy to carry out landings

                                at Namsos (Operation MAURICE.)

                16th        Arrived at Lillesjona with troopships and ferried troops ashore.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers NUBIAN, SIKH, MATABELE and MASHONA

                                also carried troops from ships of MAURICE convoy.)

                                Under sustained air attacks.

                17th        Escorted mv CHOBRY to Namsos with HM Cruiser CURLEW and same

                                five TRIBAL Class destroyers.

                                (Note: Army Headquarters staff controlled landings from ship.

                                See above references for details.)

                                Heavy air attacks continued.

                18th        Passage to UK with HMS NUBIAN

                26th        Escorted supply convoy from UK to Andalsnes with HM Destroyers

                                WITHERINGTON and AMAZON for support of military forces landed

                                for Operation SICKLE on 18th.

                27th        Under series of air attacks.

                28th        Deployed off Namsos for support of military operations.


May                        Nominated for support of evacuation of troops from Namsos.

                1st           Deployed with Fleet units off Namsos pending evacuation which was

                                delayed to allow military forces to disengage from shore operations.

                                Under air attacks.

                2nd         Embarked troops of Royal Lincolnshire Regiment from shore and

                                transferred them to French Auxiliary Cruiser KANTARA.

                                Remained at Namsos to evacuate rearguard.

                3rd          Embarked troops of *Hallamshire (Sheffield) Battalion, York and Lancaster Regt.

                                Shelled transport vehicles abandoned on quayside before sailing.

                                Took passage as escort for returning troopships and came under series of

                                air attacks. French destroyer BISON was hit and badly damaged.

                                Rescued survivors from BISON with HM Destroyers GRENADE and *IMPERIAL

                                when decision made to sink the French warship by gunfire..

                                Subsequently hit by two bombs and capsized with loss of 100 lives,

                                including some survivors from BISON and 13 army personnel.

                                Survivors were rescued by HM Destroyers IMPERIAL and *GRIFFIN.

                                Ship sank in position 66.14 N, 05.45E.







by Don Kindell


This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








ON 005/1





HN 005





ON 006/1





HN 023A





TM 001/1








(Note on Convoys)





With thanks to John Gritten who served on her from 23 November 1939 until her loss


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