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
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

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

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Notable events involving Afridi include:


7 Sep 1939

Convoy Green 1.

The convoy departed Gibraltar on 7 September 1939. Destination of the convoy was for most ships Suez but several ships were detached for Mediterranean ports en-route.

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alpera (British, 1777 GRT, built 1920), Andalusian (British, 3082 GRT, built 1918), Balmore (British, 1925 GRT, built 1920), Bandar Shahpour (British, 5236 GRT, built 1927), Blackhill (British, 2492 GRT, built 1919), Brighton I (British, 5359 GRT, built 1928), British Faith (British (tanker), 6955 GRT, built 1928), City of Christchurch (British, 6009 GRT, built 1915), City of Oxford (British, 2759 GRT, built 1926), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Draco (British, 2018 GRT, built 1922), Dromore (British, 4096 GRT, built 1920), Elizabeth Massey (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Frederick S. Fales (British (tanker), 10525 GRT, built 1939), Garesfield (British, 2168 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (British, 6491 GRT, built 1912), Kyle Glen (British, 3670 GRT, built 1917), Lassell (British, 7417 GRT, built 1922), Llandaff Castle (British, 10799 GRT, built 1926), Loch Maddy (British, 4996 GRT, built 1934), Lylepark (British, 5186 GRT, built 1929), Mardinian (British, 2434 GRT, built 1919), Marklyn (British, 3090 GRT, built 1918), Mervyn (British, 3402 GRT, built 1924), Rosewood (British (tanker), 5989 GRT, built 1931), Star of Egypt (British, 4372 GRT, built 1921) and Uskmouth (British, 2482 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Douglas (Cdr. R.F.B. Swinley, RN), HMS Velox (Cdr.(Retd.) J.C. Colvill, RN), HMS Vidette (Cdr.(Retd.) D.R. Brocklebank, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. W.J.B. Handley, RN).

Around 1600A/8, the French destroyers L'Alcyon (Lt.Cdr. V.A.M. Albertas) and Trombe (A.A.M. Lepotier) joined the convoy escort [No details available on when they left the convoy.]

Also on 8 September, the merchant vessel Marklyn arrived at Melilla after having parted company with the convoy.

On 9 September, the merchant vessel Balmore arrived at Oran.

Around 0630A/10, the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. D. de Pass, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) joined and HMS Douglas, HMS Velox, HMS Vidette and HMS Vortigern then parted company to return to Gibraltar.

Also on the 10th, the merchant vessel Uskmouth arrived at Algiers after having been detached from the convoy.

Around 1100A/11, the merchant vessel Blackhill parted company to proceed to Bone.

Around 0400A/12, the merchant vessel Mervyn parted company to proceed to Bizerta.

Around 0845A/13, the destroyers HMS Garland (Cdr. C.A.N. Chatwin, RN), HMS Gipsy (Lt.Cdr. N.J. Crossley, RN), HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) joined coming from Malta.

Around 0945A/13, the Malta bound ships, Andalusian, City of Oxford, Destro, Draco, Mardinian, parted company with the convoy escorted by HMS Cossack, HMS Maori, HMS Nubian and HMS Zulu.

On the 14th, the sloop HMS Aberdeen (Cdr. H.P. Currey, RN) joined the convoy.

On 16 September 1939, the merchant vessels Dromore and Rosewood arrived at Piraeus after having been detached from the convoy.

Also on 16 September 1939, HMS Garland was damaged by a depth charge explosion. A depth charge was dropped at to slow a speed and damaged the stern. Another depth charge then broke loose and exploded under the ship. She was taken in tow by HMS Griffin. They arrived at Alexandria on 17 September 1939.

On 18 September 1939, the merchant vessel Frederick S Fales arrived at Istanbul after having been detached from the convoy.

Also on 18 September 1939, the merchant vessels Alpera, Bighton I, Garesfield, Laomedon, Kyle Glen, Llandaff Castle, Lylepark and Star of Egypt arrived at Alexandria after having been detached from the convoy.

The remainder of the convoy, Bandar Shahpour, British Faith, City of Christchurch, Elizabeth Massey and Loch Maddy arrived at Port Said on the 18th.

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Cover for this convoy had been provided by ships from the Mediterranean Fleet, these were the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), light cruiser HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. R.F. Jolly, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN).

11 Sep 1939
Several ships from the Mediterranean Fleet conducted gunnery exercises off Alexandria; these were the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and four destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. R.F. Jolly, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN).

On completion of these exercises these ships set course to take up a position to the west of Crete to provide cover for convoy Green 1 passing from west to east through the Mediterranean and Blue 1 passing from east to west through the Mediterranean. Also cover was provided for a French eastbound convoy.

HMS Barham and HMS Penelope however returned to Alexandria after the exercises had been completed while the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), and her attendant destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), which had been conducting flying exercises off Alexandria, joined the other ships.

HMS Devonshire, HMS Sussex and the four Tribal class destroyers were detached for patrol as was HMS Arethusa later although HMS Arethusa rejoined on the 15th having patrolled the Kithera Channel. The patrol for HMS Sussex was apparently later cancelled and she proceeded to Malta for a docking.

The Fleet returned to Alexandria on 16 September.

[For more info on convoy Green 1, see the event ' Convoy Green 1 ' for 7 September 1939.]

[For more info on convoy Blue 1, see the event ' Convoy Blue 1 ' for 9 September 1939.]

[For the moment no info is available on the French convoy.] (1)

1 Oct 1939
The light cruiser HMS Galatea (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and destroyers (7th Division) HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. R.F. Jolly, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN) departed Alexandria around 1930B/1 for contraband patrol.

The ships parted company with each other around 1730B/2.

HMS Galatea patrolled in the Kithera area on the 3rd. She went to the Gulf of Patras on the 4th and then went on the patrol south of the Otranto Strait. She arrived at Malta around 0715A/7.

[No log is available for HMS Afridi so her exact movements are not known to us.] HMS Afridi arrived at Malta to fuel on the 4th. She departed on the 5th to resume her patrol. She arrived back at Malta on the 7th.

[No log is available for HMS Gurkha so her exact movements are not known to us.] HMS Gurkha arrived at Malta from patrol around 0730A/7.

HMS Mohawk patrolled in the Gulf of Patras on the 3rd and then patrolled south of the Otranto Straits on the 4th. She arrived at Malta around 0800A/6.

HMS Sikh was south-west of Corfo on the 3rd but she developed engine problems and arrived at Malta around 0700B/5. At Malta she was taken in hand for turbine repairs which were only completed in December. (2)

13 Nov 1939
Around 1630A/13, HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN), HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), departed Rosyth for Immingham.

They were joined around 1645A/13, by HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) which was also on passage to Immingham. She had departed Scapa Flow around 2330A/12.

HMS Edinburgh, HMS Curlew, HMS Ashanti and HMS Maori arrived at Immingham around 1300A/14. (3)

16 Nov 1939
The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Belfast (Capt. G.A. Scott, DSC, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Lt.Cdr. P.V. James, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) departed Immingham around 1700/16 hours for Rosyth where they arrived around 0830/17.

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.(Retd.) E.C. Kennedy, RN) sighted the Scharnhorst. Rawalpindi was part of the British Northern Patrol and was stationed south-east of Iceland in the Iceland-Faroe gap. Captain Kennedy at first tried to get away from the German ship and report to the Admiralty that he sighted the German pocket battleship Deutschland, still believed to be operating in the North Atlantic, and so as 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 the Rawalpindi which 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, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN) HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, 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, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, 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 (Commodore E.B.C. Dicken, OBE, DSC, 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 Faroe Islands).

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).

The light cruisers HMS Calypso (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) were stationed off Kelso Light to act as a night attack striking force. The destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) had just departed Belfast on escort duties. They were ordered to join Admiral Forbes. The ships they were escorting were ordered to return to Belfast.

The destroyers HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Scapa Flow with orders to locate and shadow the German ships. HMS Tartar however had to return to Scapa Flow the next day due to a damaged rudder. The other two destroyers were ordered to join HMS Aurora which was to form a strike group of destroyers.

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

10 Dec 1939

Convoy TC 1.

This convoy of troopships departed Halifax at 0510 hours on 10 December 1939 for the Clyde where it arrived on 17 December 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / liners; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914, carrying 2638 troops), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928, carrying 1312 troops), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914, carrying 1235 troops), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931, carrying 1303 troops) and Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931, carrying 961 troops),

Close escort was provided on leaving Halifax by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) and the Canadian destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.N. Creery, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Capt. G.C. Jones, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN). These Canadian destroyers remained with the convoy until 12 December 1939 when they set course to return to Halifax.

Cover for the convoy was provided by the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN) and HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN). At dusk on the 10th both destroyers were detached to join the local escort. They returned to Halifax with the Canadian destroyers.

Early on the 15th, HMS Emerald was detached, HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) had joined the cover force in the afternoon of the 14th to take her place.

When the convoy approached the British isles, the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) departed the Clyde on the 12th to sweep ahead of the convoy. HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) was also to have sailed but was unable to join. HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) was sailed in her place and later joined the other destroyers at sea.

After German warships had been reported in the North Sea, and concerned for the safety of convoy TC.1, Admiral Forbes, departed the Clyde on the 13th to provide additional cover with the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN), battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN), HMS Imperial, HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN) sailed from Loch Ewe and later joined this force at sea. Three cruisers from the Northern Patrol were ordered to patrol in position 53°55’N, 25°00’W to provide cover for the convoy. These were the heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN).

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Cdr. C. Wauchope, RN, temporary in command) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Shetlands and the Faroes.

The destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) departed Rosyth and proceeded north at high speed to try to cut of the enemy warhips if they were to enter the Atlantic.

The light cruisers HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), HMS Delhi (Capt L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Diomede (Commodore E.B.C. Dicken, OBE, DSC, RN) which were on the Northern Patrol were to concentrate near the Faroes where they were joined by HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN) and HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) which were on passage to their patrol stations.

Nothing happened and the convoy arrived safely in the Clyde on 17 December 1939. (4)

16 Dec 1939
HMS Triad (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN) departed from Rosyth for convoy escort duties. She is part of the escort of convoy ON-5 from Methyl to Norway. Other ships of the escort force were HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN). HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) joined at sea on 18 December. (5)

21 Dec 1939
HMS Triad (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN) joins convoy HN-5 from Norway to Methil. Escort was provided by HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) later joined at sea.

27 Dec 1939
HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) departed the Clyde to proceed to a position to the north-east of the Shetlands to provide distant cover during convoy operations to and from Norway. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN). The destroyer HMS Diana, HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN) joined later coming from Scapa Flow. On 2 January HMS Ilex was detached after HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) had joined.

5 Jan 1940
HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) arrived at the Clyde.

7 Apr 1940
The light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Cossack (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN), ORP Burza (Lt.Cdr. W. Francki), ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. S.M. Nahorski) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) departed Rosyth in the evening for operations of Norway. They were to proceed to a position west of Stavanger and then were to sweep northwards. On the 9th they made rendezvous with the Home Fleet.

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), 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) were detached for an operation in Norwegian territorial waters (operate against German forces in water at and around Bergen). 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. (6)

10 Apr 1940
Around 1530 hours the destroyers HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN), HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. M. Culme-Seymour, RN) and HMS Codrington (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN) arrived at Sullom Voe to fuel. (7)

11 Apr 1940
Around 2230A/11, the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN), HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway.

At 1509A/12, while north-west of Alesund, in position 63°00'N, 04°47'E the destroyers parted company with the cruisers to patrol inside Norwegian waters.

Around 0545A/13, the destroyers were ordered to search for the enemy inside the fjords.

At 1418A/14, the destroyers rejoined the cruisers.

Around 1930A/14, the ships entered the Namsenfjord. HMS Mashona then went alongside HMS Glasgow to take off landing parties from the cruisers. In the meantime she took on board some fuel from the cruiser. Meanwhile HMS Matabele went alongside HMS Sheffield for the same purpose.

Having completed this HMS Somali, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele went to Namsos to land the troops.

HMS Afridi then went alongside HMS Glasgow to fuel and HMS Sikh went alongside HMS Sheffield. Fuelling was completed very late in the evening.

Around 0040A/15, HMS Glasgow, HMS Sheffield, HMS Afridi, HMS Mohawk and HMS Sikh got underway again and proceeded to sea.

At 1910A/15, HMS Mohawk was detached to Scapa Flow to fuel. Destroyer HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) arrived in the area with the RFA tanker War Pindari (5548 GRT, built 1920)

At 0404A/16, a surfaced submarine was sighted and avoiding action was taken but the submarine soon identified herself as HMS Taku (Lt.Cdr. V.J.H. Van der Byl, RN). The submarine was searching for five German destroyers that had been reported. She had just attacked HMS Ashanti with four torpedoes which fortunately had missed. HMS Ashanti had dropped a pettern of depth charges but these fortunately did not damage the submarine which then surfaced having meanwhile identified the destroyer as British due to her tripod mast and twin gun turrets.

On the 17th, the destroyers; HMS Ashanti, HMS Mashona, HMS Matabele, HMS Nubian and HMS Sikh were used to ferry troops ashore at Namsenfjord from troopships which meanwhile had arrived in the area. HMS Somali which was low on ammunition had meanwhile been sent back to Scapa Flow arriving there very late on the 17th. Also the cruisers re-embarked their landing parties.

During the night of 17/18 April, while still in Namsenfjord, HMS Mashona took on some fuel from HMS Glasgow while HMS Nubian took on some fuel from HMS Sheffield.

Around 0300A/18, the cruisers then departed Namsenfjord to return to Scapa Flow taking HMS Matabele with them. The destroyer was detached to Sullom Voe to fuel after dark on the 18th.

HMS Glasgow and HMS Sheffield arrived at Scapa Flow around 1200A/19. (8)

17 Apr 1940
Troopship Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939) departed Lillesjona for Namsos to land more troops and stores together with the troops that had been put on board the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN). The newly arrived AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) went in with the Chrobry and the five destroyers while HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN) remained at sea while the other AA cruiser, HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), was sent north to Skjel Fjord to fuel. The troopship Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914) was ordered to return to the U.K. escorted by HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) and HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) was also initially have to been part of this escort but she had run aground while on A/S patrol off Lillesjona around 0130 hours and had been damaged. She was detached soon after departure for the Tyne where she was to undergo repairs. Shortly before HMS Highlander was detached she forced a German submarine to dive which enabled the convoy to pass unharmed.

At 0200/18 unloading of the Chrobry was halted and she went out to sea again with 170 tons of stores still onboard. She had to clear the area before daylight and the expected air attacks. She was to return the next night. Chrobry indeed succeeded in landing her remaining stores in the evening of the 18th. She then took on board a cargo of timber and set course for the U.K. escorted by HMS Sikh and HMS Mashona. HMS Matabele and HMS Curlew meanwhile had gone back to the U.K. for fuel. HMS Manchester was also on her way back home but was ordered to return to assist a French convoy that was next to land troops at Namsos. HMS Manchester could not be back in time to assist in the landings but course and speed were adjusted so as to meet the convoy at sea and escort it on the return passage. HMS Manchester joined the convoy in the evening of the 20th and remained with it until off the Shetlands the next day after which she was detached and set course for Scapa Flow. HMS Cairo had meanwhile also returned after fueling at Skjel Fjord and assisted the French during the landings. HMS Cairo then returned to the U.K. bolstering the escort of the French convoy. (6)

29 Apr 1940

Operation Klaxon, the evacuation of troops from Namsos.


Timespan: 29 April to 5 May 1940.

At 2000A/29 the French armed merchant cruisers El D’Jezair, El Kantara and El Mansour departed Scapa Flow for Namsos, Norway where they were to evacutate troops. They were escorted by the British destroyers HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and the French large destroyer Bison (Capt. J.A.R. Bouan).

A cover force departed Scapa Flow one hour later. It was made up of the British heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), the French light cruiser Montcalm (Capt. J.L. de Corbiere, flying the flag of Commodore (Contre-Admiral) E.L.H. Derrien) and the British destroyers HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN).

These forces were later reinforced by the British destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and the French destroyer Foudroyant Foudroyant (Cdr. P.L.A. Fontaine)

The force lead by Vice-Admiral Cunningham arrived off the Norwegian coast near Namsos on May 1st.

HMS Maori had been sent on ahead and reported fog. HMS Kelly, HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin and Bison were ordered to join her.

When entering the Namsenfjord in fog on 2 May 1940, HMS Maori is bombed and damaged from near misses. She had to retire for temporary repairs but was able to participate in the evacuation during the next night. The evacuation attempt was then postponed to the night of 2/3 May.

On 2 May the force was reinforced by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN).

In the evening of 2 May the force entered the Fjord to embark troops except HMS Devonshire, Montcalm, HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin, HMS Hasty and HMS Imperial which remained at sea to cover the operation.

A total of 1850 British, 2345 French, some Norwegian troops and 30 German prisoners were evacuated. The evacuation was completed around 0445A/3.

Heavy German air attacks developed when the Force was leaving the area. The attacks concentrated on the Devonshire and Montcalm but they were not hit.

The French destroyer Bison was hit at 1010 hours in position 65°42'N, 07°17'E and her forward magazine exploded blowing off the fore part of the ship.The survivors were rescued by HMS Grenade, HMS Imperial and HMS Afridi The wreck was then scuttled by HMS Afridi.

But the attacks continued and at 1400 hours HMS Afridi was hit in position 66°14'N, 05°45'E and sank around 1445 hours. Her survivors were picked up by HMS Griffin and HMS Imperial.

The destroyers with the survivors; HMS Grenade, HMS Griffin and HMS Imperial were detached to land these at Sullom Voe where they arrived around 1700A/4. They departed again around 2130A/4 for Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0730A/5.

Reinforcements had meanwhile been sent out from Sullom Voe these were the light cruiser HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN). They had departed Sullom Voe late in the evening of May, 2nd with orders to give support to the forces operating in the Namsos area.

Shortly before midnight during the night of 3/4 May, four more destroyers were sent out, these were; HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN).

All forces arrived at Scapa Flow in the evening of May 4th or the early hours of May 5th. (9)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/389
  2. ADM 53/108844 + ADM 53/109786 + ADM 53/110619 + ADM 199/389
  3. ADM 53/108462
  4. ADM 199/367 + ADM 199/393
  5. ADM 199/1847
  6. ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798
  7. ADM 199/376
  8. ADM 53/112294 + ADM 53/113210 + ADM 199/361 + ADM 199/376
  9. ADM 199/361

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


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