HMS Shikari D85




HMS Shikari (D85) was ordered by the Admiralty in 1917 from the Sunderland shipyard of William Doxford & Sons and was launched on July 14th, 1919. An S-class destroyer, she was completed by the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham in April, 1924. The S-class comprised some 67 vessels; Shikari (meaning a hunter, or guide in Urdu) was among the 11 destroyers which survived the scrap yard during the 1930's as the rest of her class were decommissioned in order to comply with the 1920 treaty of London, which limited the sizes of the world's navies. On September 15th 1933, she took part in the Invergordon Mutiny; this remains one of the few incidents of a military strike by the forces of the United Kingdom. For two days, the Atlantic fleet (which included the then-flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood) was in open revolt which caused the stock market in London to go into free-fall, ultimately leading to the United Kingdom being forced to leave the gold standard.




Shikari was briefly under the command of Cpt. F.J. Walker (1896 - 1944), CB, DSO and three bars, who would later in the war become the premier Allied anti-submarine commander. The early part of Shikari's career saw her used as a control vessel, thus being initially armed with no more than a radio and associated aerials. With the advent of hostilities, she was finally armed for the express role of anti-submarine operations and assigned as an escort vessel for the protection of merchant naval convoys. On 2 February, 1939 she was involved in a collision with the destroyer Griffin off the coast of Malta.

She was under the command of Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson in 1940, when the crisis unfolding at Dunkirk saw her recalled from convoy escort duties to participate in the evacuation of the BEF. Her first evacuation trip took place on 28 May, with a following trip the next day. While on her second evacuation trip, the Admiralty decided that the modern destroyers should be withdrawn from the action; this only served to place more pressure on Shikari and her older sisters. On 1 June, Shikari took part in the rescue of some 3,000 French troops who were on board the SS Prague. The Prague had been shelled by the German artillery while attempting to depart the port of Dunkirk; the damage was further compounded by an attack by the Luftwaffe which resulted in the ship eventually becoming beached on the Sandwich Flats. Shikari's final trip to Dunkirk was on the night of 3/4 June. Shikari has the distinction of being the last Royal Naval vessel to depart the port of Dunkirk, having made a total of seven trips and personally accounting for the return of 3,349 troops.

Following Dunkirk, Shikari resumed her role as an escort for the convoys. She formed part of the escort to HX 72 (September 1940), which was mauled, prior to the arrival of the escorts, by a wolf pack assembled by the commander of U-47. After being placed into the Naval Reserve fleet in late 1944, Shikari was sold off for scrap and arrived at Cashmore's ship breakers on the banks of the River Usk on 4 November, 1945.


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