Allied Warships

HMS Hibiscus (K 24)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantK 24 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered19 Sep 1939 
Laid down14 Nov 1939 
Launched6 Apr 1940 
Commissioned21 May 1940 
End service2 May 1942 

Ordered for French Navy but taken over with the fall of France.
Transferred to the USN at Leith, Scotland, on 2 May 1942 and was commissioned in the USN the same day.
Decommissioned by the USN in England on 20 August 1945 and returned to the Royal Navy on 26 August 1945.
Sold in 1947 into mercantile service as Madonna and scrapped at Hong Kong in 1955.

Career notesTo the United States Navy as USS Spry

Commands listed for HMS Hibiscus (K 24)

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1Lt.Cdr. Reginald Phillips, RNR20 Apr 194010 Oct 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Charles George Cuthbertson, RNR10 Oct 1940Feb 1941
3Lt. Henry Roach, RNRFeb 1941early 1942

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Notable events involving Hibiscus include:

30 Aug 1940
The Norwegian merchant Norne is torpedoed and sunk 58 nautical miles west-north-west of Cape Wrath in position 58°48'N, 06°49'W by German U-boat U-32. HMS Hibiscus (Lt.Cdr. R. Phillips, RNR) later picks up 11 survivors.

18 Oct 1940
The British merchant Sandsend is torpedoed and sunk 254 nautical miles west-north-west of Rockall in position 58°12'N, 21°29'W by German U-boat U-48. HMS Hibiscus (Lt.Cdr. R. Phillips, RNR) later picks up 34 survivors.

10 May 1941

Convoy SL 74

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 May 1941 for the U.K. where it was dissolved on 4 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant ships;
Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913) retuned 11-04 after collision with Zephyros, Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Arosa (Norwegian, 5043 GRT, built 1924), Benalder (British, 5161 GRT, built 1919), Bonita (Panamanian, 4929 GRT, built 1918), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Clan MacNair (British, 6096 GRT, built 1921), Corvus (Norwegian, 1317 GRT, built 1921), Empire Success (British, 5988 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trader (British, 9990 GRT, built 1908), Evros (Greek, 5283 GRT, built 1918), Gamaria (British, 5255 GRT, built 1918), Glenstrae (British, 9460 GRT, built 1922), Holmside (British, 3433 GRT, built 1930), Koumoundouros (Greek, 3598 GRT, built 1925), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Melpomene (French, 7011 GRT, built 1923), Nagara (British, 8791 GRT, built 1919), Nicolas Pateras (Greek, 4362 GRT, built 1910), Norita (Swedish, 1516 GRT, built 1924), Olivebank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926), Olympos (Greek, 5216 GRT, built 1918), P.L.M. 17 (French, 4008 GRT, built 1922) left the convoy on 20 May with engine trouble, Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Queensbury (British, 3911 GRT, built 1931), Rosenberg (Dutch, 2068 GRT, built 1918), Saturnus (Dutch, 2741 GRT, built 1909), Scotia (Swedish, 1874 GRT, built 1918), Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938), Southern Empress (British, 12398 GRT, built 1914), Taurus (Norwegian, 4767 GRT, built 1925), Tombouctou (French, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Tovelil (Danish, 2225 GRT, built 1925), Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Tudor Star (British, 7199 GRT, built 1919), Vassilios A. Polemis (Greek, 3429 GRT, built 1907), Viking Star (British, 6445 GRT, built 1920), Waterland (Dutch, 6847 GRT, built 1922), Wentworth (British, 5212 GRT, built 1919) and Zephyros (Greek, 4796 GRT, built 1909).

Escort was initially provided by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) (10 May 1941 to 3 June 1941) and the corvettes HMS Amaranthus (Lt. N.B.J. Stapleton, RNR), HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. P. Everett-Price, DSC, RNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR). (All from 10 May 1941 to 19 May 1941). They were joined on 12 May 1941 by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy to join the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck. She succeeded in making contact on the next day he delivered the coup de grace to her and torpedoed the heavily damaged German battleship from both sides and she sank soon afterwards. HMS Dorsetshire picked up German survivors until she was forced to leave the scene after a U-Boat alarm. More survivors had to be left in the water.

The convoy was joined by more escorts for the passage through the Western Approaces, these were;
Destroyer HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gentian (Lt.Cdr. R.O. Yeomans, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR). These ships all joined on 30 May 1941 and remained with the convoy until it was dissolved on 4 June 1941. The destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) also joined on 30 May but left the convoy on 2 June 1941. Finally the corvette HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) joined the convoy on 31 May and remained with it until dissolved on 4 June 1941.

27 Sep 1941
HMS Hibiscus (Lt.Cdr. H. Roach, RNR) picks up survivors from the British fighter catapult ship HMS Springbank that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-201 in convoy HG-73 north-north-east of the Azores in position 49°09'N, 20°10'W.

28 Sep 1941
HMS Hibiscus (Lt.Cdr. H. Roach, RNR) picks up 34 survivors from the British merchant Margareta that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-201 in convoy HG-73 south-west of Cape Clear in position 50°15'N, 17°27'W.

12 Nov 1941
HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed from Holy Loch for her 10th war patrol. She is to patrol off the Norwegian Coast. Tuna was escorted out by HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR) until 0100/14.

No logs are available for this period so no map of this patrol can be displayed. (1)


  1. ADM 199/1844

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

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