ORP Krakowiak (L115)

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Arttillery of Polish Destroyer Krakowiak.jpg
ORP Krakowiak's artillery turret in action
Career (Poland) Naval Ensign of Poland
Name: ORP Krakowiak
Builder: J.S. White & Co.
Cowes, United Kingdom
Laid down: December 5, 1939
Launched: December 4, 1940
Commissioned: May 28, 1941
Decommissioned: 1946
Fate: scrapped in 1959
General characteristics
Class & type: Hunt (Type II) class destroyer
Displacement: standard: 1,050 t
total: 1,490 t
Length: 85.0 m (278 ft 10 in)
Beam: 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)
Draft: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Armament: 6 × 102 mm (4.0 in) universal Mk XVI guns
4 × 40 mm (1.6 in) Pom-Pom AA cannons
4 × Oerlikon 20 mm (0.79 in) AA cannons
2 × Lewis machine guns
2 × depth charge launchers
2 × Thornycroft depth charge mortars
110 depth charges

ORP Krakowiak (L115) was a British Hunt II-class destroyer escort, used by the Polish Navy during World War II. Initially built for the Royal Navy, it bore the name of HMS Silverton during British use.


The ship was laid down on December 5, 1939 in J. Samuel White Shipyard in Cowes. Almost a year later it was launched and commissioned by the Royal Navy as HMS Silverton. However, it never entered service in the British naval forces due to lack of experienced crews. Instead, on April 20, 1941 she was leased to the Polish Navy. Officially commissioned on May 22 of that year, she was renamed to ORP Krakowiak, after either a folk dance from Kraków or an inhabitant of that city.

As she was the first ship of her class to be handed to the Poles, until July 10, 1941, her crew spent most of their time training and getting to know the ship. After that date she entered line service in convoy escort role in the North Atlantic. In December of that year she was among the ships to take part in the successful raid against a German naval outpost at Lofoten islands. Throughout the war she also patrolled the North Sea, often engaging in skirmishes with German torpedo boats. In 1943 she was moved to the Mediterranean, where she took part in, among others, the Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, and later in the Dodecanese Campaign. Altogether, during World War II she crossed more than 146,000 nautical miles (270,000 km) escorting 206 different convoys, including 9 in the North Atlantic. She downed three enemy planes, but the number of enemy vessels sunk is unclear.

After the Allied powers withdrew their support for the Polish government, on September 28, 1946 the ship was decommissioned by the Polish Navy and returned to the British, who commissioned it under its original name. Instantly demobilized, it was reclassified as a frigate and given a new number - F 55. Serving in only rare cases, she spent most of the time in docks, preserved as part of the Reserve Fleet. As such she represented the Reserve Fleet during Queen Elizabeth's coronation celebrations in Spithead in July 1953. In 1959 she was finally decommissioned and sold for scrapping.

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Coordinates: 44°35′N 16°28′W / 44.583°N 16.467°W / 44.583; -16.467