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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS PETUNIA (K 79) - Flower-class Corvette
including Convoy Escort Movements
 

HMCS Snowberry, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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FLOWER-Class corvette ordered from Henry Robb at Leith on 31st August 1939. She was laid down on 4th December that year and was launched on 19th September 1940 as the second RN warship to bear this name. It had been introduced in 1916 for a Sloop which was sold in 1922, but two trawlers requisitioned during WW1 carried this name and were identified by the suffices II and III to avoid any confusion with the Sloop which entered service after the two trawlers. Build of this ship was completed on 13th January 1941. In February 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Ormskirk, Lancashire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings Campaign.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1941-43 - NORMANDY 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a 

In common with many others of this type no Heraldic

Data is recorded in the Official List. However many

FLOWER Class Corvettes had unofficial Badges which

incorporated the flower after which they were named

 

 

S u m m a r y   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

(Note * = Further research is required into these periods)

 

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

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                   Commissioned for service in Western Approaches Command.

              13th           Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                After completion of trials and storing took passage to Tobermory to work-up for

                                operational service in Atlantic

 

*February              Work-up in continuation.

                                Passage to join Escort Group.

 

*March                   Deployed in Western Approaches for convoy escort.

to June

 

July                         Part of escort for convoy of troopships with HM Corvettes LAVENDER and STARWORT,

             5th              During passage in SW Approaches came under attack by U96 in position 44.25N  25.35W

                                and carried out series of counter attacks which forced submarine to return to base for repair.

                                (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair, Volume I)

 

*August                  Joined 8th Escort Group for convoy escort to from Western Meeting Point where

                                convoys were transferred to or from Groups based in Canada.

                                (Note: Installation of warning surface Radar Type 271 during this period is to be confirmed.

                                           For details of development and use of radar by Royal Navy see RADAR AT SEA by

                                           D Howse.)

 

September               8th Escort Group deployment in continuation.

to December            (Note: This Group then included HM Destroyers MALCOLM, BEVERLEY, SARDONYX

                                            SCIMITAR, NEWMARKET and six FLOWER Class Corvettes.)

                                            In this period the Group escorted 6 Atlantic convoys without loss of any merchant ships.)

 

1 9 4 2

 

*January                  Western Approaches deployment in continuation.

to February               (For details of tactics and weapons used by escorts and submarines during the Battle of

                                  the Atlantic see U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO), SEEK AND STRIKE

                                  by W Hackman, THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre and HITLERíS

                                  U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

 

*March                     Nominated for service at Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.

                                  Passage to join Station.

 

April                         Deployed at Freetown.

              26th             Provided Local Escort into Freetown with HM Destroyers BOREAS and WILD SWAN

                                  for military convoy WS18 during final stage of passage in Atlantic to West Africa.

              29th             Detached from WS18 with Local Escort on arrival at Freetown.

                                  (Note: WS18 was taking troops to Middle East.)

 

*May                        Freetown deployment for escort of convoys off West Africa and for anti-submarine patrol.

to September            (Note: 40th Escort Group based at Freetown included HM Corvettes ARMERIA, CLARKIA

                                                and HM Sloop MILFORD. Later in 1942 they were joined by newly built Frigates.)

 

October                      Deployed at Freetown.

               5th               Came under attack by Italian submarine BARBARIGO during escort of inward bound convoy

                                   to Freetown with an Escort Sloop and two Corvettes. The submarine was driven off by the

                                   sustained depth charge response from the escorts.

               23rd             Escorted Convoy SL125 with three other Corvettes during passage from Freetown to UK off

                                   West Africa.

                                   (Note: Convoy comprised 42 ships including several with troops returning to UK from Far

                                              East.)

               25th             Sighted by U203 which then reported the position and course of SL125 in order to prepare for

                                   concentrated attacks by STRETAX U-Boat Group being assembled for this purpose.

                                   (Note: This Group comprised 10 submarines of which nine carried out this specially planned

                                                operation.)

                27th            U-Boat attacks commenced and continued for three days.

                                   12 ships were sunk. (For details see HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR.)

 

*November

                  1st              German U-Boat attacks cancelled.

                                     Returned to Freetown on release from escort.

 

*December                   Freetown escort and patrol in continuation.

 

1 9 4 3

 

* January                      Deployment at Freetown in continuation.

to February

 

March

                11th              Provided Local Escort for military convoy WS27 with HM Corvette CROCUS during

                                     initial stage of passage to Capetown.

                14th              Detached from WS27 with HMS CROCUS and returned to Freetown.

 

*April                          Freetown deployment in continuation.

to December               Nominated for return to UK

                                     Passage to UK

 

1 9 4 4

 

*January                      Deployed in Western Approaches Command after refit and Foreign service leave.

to March

 

*April                          Nominated for escort of military convoys during planned allied landings in Normandy

                                     (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                     Allocated for deployment in Force J of Eastern British Task Force.

                                     (Note: For details of naval activities before and during landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE

                                                  by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)

                                     Western Approaches convoy defence duties in continuation.

 

*May                            Allocated for escort of Build-up Convoys with HM Destroyer VERSATILE as Escort

                                      Group 141.

                                      Passage to join Force J, based at Cowes.

                                      (Note: During this period Force J carried out preparatory exercises including FABIUS

                                                  at Bracklesham as well as others in Channel area including Night defence against

                                                  E-Boat attacks. For details see references.)

                                      On completion of exercises deployed in Solent for briefing.

 

June                               Deployed in Solent for escort of Assault Convoy J15 during passage for first landings.

                 4th                Operation delayed by 24 hours.

                 5th                Sailed from Solent with HM Trawler NORTHERN FOAM, HM Corvettes CLARKIA and

                                      PINK accompanied by a Motor Launch as escort for Convoy J15 through swept channel to

                                      JUNO beach head.

                                      (Note: Convoy comprised 12 Landing Craft, Tank, 12 RHINO Ferries and a Fire Float.

                  6th               Detached from J15 after arrival and took passage to Portland to join Escort Group 141.

                  7th               Deployed as escort for Build-up Phase convoys based at Portland.

                25th               On completion of NEPTUNE deployed for convoy defence and patrol in English Channel

                                      and SW Approaches,

 

July                               Channel deployment in continuation.

to December                  (Note: During this period SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats were concentrating their attacks

                                                    on convoy focal points and on coastal traffic. See above references and HOLD THE

                                                    NARROW SEA by P Smith, BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS by J Terraine and

                                                    ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                         Deployed for coastal convoy defence.

to May                          (Note: Extensive mining operations were being carried out as well as attacks on support

                                                  convoys to ports in Belgium and France. As a result the number of escorts deployed

                                                   in the Channel was increased. In addition Atlantic convoys were re-routed through

                                                   the Channel as the threat from air attacks from French bases had been removed.

                                                   Attacks were also being carried out by E-Boats and submersibles as well as by

                                                   SCHNORKEL fitted submarines.)

 

June                              Nominated for reduction to Reserve status after VE Day on release from Channel deployment.

to August                    Paid-off and destored before being laid-up in Reserve.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS PETUNIA was placed in the Disposal List after VJ Day and sold to the Chinese Nationalist Government in 1946. Renamed FU PO she took passage to China later that year and served in operations against the Chinese Communists with the Chinese Nationalist Navy. The next year she was sunk after a collision, but the details are not known.

 


 

Addenda

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS PETUNIA

by Don Kindell

 

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above 

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

20/02/41

20/02/41

OB 289

24/02/42

24/02/41

13/02/41

26/02/41

HX 109

03/03/41

04/03/41

17/05/41

19/05/41

OB 323

23/05/41

25/05/41

19/05/41

29/05/41

SC 032

07/06/41

07/06/41

01/06/41

15/06/41

HX 130

20/06/41

20/06/41

08/07/41

08/07/41

HG 067

24/07/41

24/07/41

30/08/41

01/09/41

ON 011

04/09/41

11/09/41

24/08/41

05/09/41

SC 041

11/09/41

11/09/41

13/09/41

15/09/41

ON 016

20/09/41

27/09/41

10/09/41

20/09/41

HX 149

24/09/41

25/09/41

04/10/41

05/10/41

ON 023

10/10/41

19/10/41

22/03/42

22/03/42

SL 103G

25/03/42

25/03/42

24/03/42

10/04/42

OS 023

11/04/42

11/04/42

13/05/42

13/05/42

SL 110

04/06/42

04/06/42

16/10/42

16/10/42

SL 125

09/11/42

09/11/42

11/12/42

11/12/42

KMS 005G

24/12/42

27/12/42

24/12/42

24/12/42

KMS 006G

05/01/43

09/01/43

06/03/43

24/03/43

OS 044

28/03/43

24/03/43

01/04/43

01/04/43

TS 034

06/04/43

06/04/43

14/04/43

14/04/43

ST 062

20/04/43

20/04/43

22/04/43

22/04/43

TS 036

27/04/43

27/04/43

29/04/43

03/05/43

ST 063

06/05/43

04/05/43

21/05/43

21/05/43

TS 041

27/05/43

27/05/43

04/06/43

04/06/43

ST 068

unknown

unknown

11/06/43

11/06/43

TS 044

17/06/43

17/06/43

23/06/43

23/06/43

ST 070

29/06/43

29/06/43

03/07/43

03/07/43

TS 046

08/07/43

08/07/43

11/07/43

11/07/43

ST 072

20/07/43

20/07/43

18/08/43

18/08/43

ST 074

unknown

unknown

03/09/43

03/09/43

SL 136

25/09/43

14/09/43

14/09/43

14/09/43

SL 136MK

25/09/43

25/09/43

27/10/43

28/10/43

OS 057KM

09/11/43

09/11/43

09/11/43

09/11/43

KMS 031G

10/11/43

10/11/43

13/11/43

13/11/43

MKS 030G

16/11/43

16/11/43

16/11/43

16/11/43

SL 139MK

24/11/43

26/11/43

15/12/43

16/12/43

OS 062KM

02/01/44

02/01/44

02/01/44

02/01/44

KMS 036G

03/01/44

03/01/44

06/01/44

06/01/44

SL 144MK

18/01/44

18/01/44

24/01/44

25/01/44

OS 066KM

05/02/44

05/02/44

06/02/44

06/02/44

KMS 040G

07/02/44

07/02/44

11/02/44

11/02/44

MKS 039G

12/02/44

12/02/44

12/02/44

12/02/44

SL 148MK

24/02/44

24/02/44

13/06/44

13/06/44

FCM 002

13/06/44

unknown

14/06/44

14/06/44

FCM 005

15/06/44

15/06/44

08/08/44

08/08/44

EBC 066

10/08/44

10/08/44

09/08/44

09/08/44

EBC 067

11/08/44

11/08/44

03/09/44

03/09/44

EPM 052

03/09/44

03/09/44

04/09/44

04/09/44

FWM 020

05/09/44

05/09/44

08/09/44

08/09/44

FBC 076

10/09/44

10/09/44

10/09/44

10/09/44

EPM 060

10/09/44

10/09/44

13/09/44

13/09/44

EPM 063

13/09/44

13/09/44

17/09/44

17/09/44

EPM 066Y

17/09/44

17/09/44

18/09/44

24/09/44

SL 170MK

26/09/44

26/09/44

28/09/44

28/09/44

ON 256

unknown

12/10/44

06/10/44

06/10/44

ON 258

10/10/44

24/10/44

28/09/44

10/10/44

HX 311

14/10/44

14/10/44

12/11/44

12/11/44

ON 266

16/11/44

03/12/44

04/11/44

17/11/44

HX 318

19/11/44

19/11/44

26/11/44

01/12/44

SL 177MK

05/12/44

05/12/44

24/12/44

05/01/45

HX 328

08/01/45

08/01/45

05/01/45

11/01/45

MKS 075G

13/01/45

14/01/45

10/01/45

13/01/45

MKS 076G

21/01/45

21/01/45

21/02/45

21/02/45

ON 286

23/02/45

09/03/45

12/02/45

25/02/45

HX 338

unknown

27/02/45

22/03/45

22/03/45

ON 292

26/03/45

08/04/45

14/03/45

26/03/45

HX 344

unknown

28/03/45

01/04/45

01/04/45

ON 294

05/04/45

20/04/45

01/04/45

05/04/45

MKS 092G

08/04/45

08/04/45

02/05/45

02/05/45

ON 300

04/05/45

18/05/45

23/04/45

05/05/45

HX 352

unknown

08/05/45

21/05/45

21/05/45

ON 304

24/05/45

05/06/45

13/05/45

24/05/45

HX 356

unknown

26/05/45

23/05/45

04/06/45

HX 358

unknown

06/06/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys) 

 

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