|Class and type:||Tribal class destroyer|
|Ordered:||10 March 1936|
|Builder:||Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle-on-Tyne|
|Laid down:||9 June 1936|
|Launched:||8 June 1937|
|Commissioned:||3 May 1938|
|Fate:||Sunk on 3 May 1940 by Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers off Norway|
|Displacement:||1,850 tons (standard),
2,520 tons (full)
|Length:||377 ft (115 m) o/a|
|Beam:||36 ft 6 in (11.13 m)|
|Draught:||9 ft (2.7 m)|
|Propulsion:||Three x Admiralty 3-drum boilers, steam turbines on
|Range:||524 tons fuel
5,700 nmi at 15 kt
number L07, later F07
Badge: On a Field barry wavy, Blue and White, issuing from the base an Afridi’s head and shoulders affronte proper.
She was ordered from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne yards of Vickers-Armstrong on 10 March 1936 under the 1935 Build Programme. She was laid down on 9 June that year and was launched on 8 June 1937 by Lady Foster. Also launched on that same day from the same yard was HMS Cossack, Afridi’s sister ship. Afridi was completed and commissioned on 3 May 1938 at a cost of £341,462 which excluded supply of weapons and communications outfits by the Admiralty.
Her acceptance trials took place on 29 April 1938 in a rising gale, but all went well and she was accepted. On commissioning, Afridi was assigned to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, with the Mediterranean Fleet, which consisted of other Tribal class destroyers. She left Portland Harbour on 27 May for Malta, arriving there on 3 June. In July, she left Malta to patrol the waters off the Mediterranean Spanish coast. Afridi, in common with all other Royal Navy vessels in these waters, had broad, red, white and blue bands painted on her '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 Munich Agreement and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia caused the remainder of the Black Sea cruise to be cancelled. Afridi then sailed for Alexandria, Egypt for a short stay then left to rejoin the 4th Destroyer Flotilla in Malta. On 23 February 1939, Afridi steamed to Gibraltar where the Mediterranean and Home Fleets were gathering for combined exercises. These consisted of over one hundred ships and thirteen Admirals, and resulted in the testing and evaluation of many aspects of naval warfare. Afridi was later withdrawn from the exercises after colliding with HMS Penelope during the transfer of mail. Afridi returned to Malta for repairs. After the repairs were completed, she was transferred to the 4th Destroyer Flotilla and sailed to join it at Alexandria. The rest of the pre-war period was spent on exercises and port visits.
Italy, which British planners were concerned might enter a war against Britain, took steps to prove her neutrality so the convoy escorts and blockade controls which were anticipated could no longer be justified. The 4th Destroyer Flotilla was therefore 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. Afridi was assigned to service in the North Sea with the Humber Force, based at Immingham. In December she was moved to Rosyth to carry out convoy escort duties between the UK and Norway.
By January 1940, a number of defects had become noticeable, including leaks and problems with turbine blades caused Afridi to undergo repairs at a commercial shipyard in West Hartlepool. These repairs lasted throughout February and into March. She rejoined active service in April, under the command of Captain Philip Vian, when she carried out screening duties and escorts for convoys off the Norwegian coast. During these operations she came under heavy and sustained air attacks. HMS Gurkha was sunk and HMS Rodney, HMS Glasgow and HMS Southampton were damaged. Afridi escaped damage and returned to refuel and rearm at Scapa Flow. She continued to take part in sweeps off the Norwegian coast, occasionally coming under air attack whilst screening Fleet units or escorting troop convoys.
On 1 May 1940, Afridi was deployed with Fleet units off Namsos, pending the evacuation of troops from the area after the failure of the Namsos Campaign. She continued to come under heavy air attack. On 2 May she embarked troops of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and transferred them to the French auxiliary cruiser Kantara. On 3 May she embarked troops of the Hallamshire Battalion of the Royal Hampshire Regiment. She was one of the last ships to leave the port, and in the rush there had been no time to either embark or destroy heavy equipment. Instead Afridi shelled transport vehicles abandoned on the quayside before sailing. She began to escort the departing troopships when they came under a series of air attacks. The French destroyer Bison was hit and her forward magazine exploded, badly damaged her. Afridi and HMS Grenade fought off two more air attacks and rescued survivors from the Bison. They then attempted to sink the stricken destroyer with gunfire.
Whilst attempting this, another dive bombing attack developed at 1400hours. Afridi was the common target for two aircraft coming in from each side, making evasive manoeuvres impossible. She was hit by two bombs dropped by Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers, one hitting 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 1445 hours, Afridi capsized and sank bow-first with the loss of 49 officers and men, 13 army personnel and over 30 survivors from Bison. The survivors were picked up by the destroyers HMS Imperial and HMS Grenade. It was the second anniversary of her commissioning.