Allied Warships

HMS Hydrangea (K 39)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 39 
Built byFerguson Shipbuilders. Ltd. (Port Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered31 Aug 1939 
Laid down22 Nov 1939 
Launched4 Sep 1940 
Commissioned3 Jan 1941 
End service 
History

HMS Hydrangea is not listed as active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Sold in 1947.
Became the merchantile Hydralock in 1948.
Wrecked off Formosa on 25 February 1957.

 

Commands listed for HMS Hydrangea (K 39)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Joseph Eric Woolfenden, RNROct 19401 May 1943
2T/A/Lt.Cdr. Frederick Standen Howell, RNR1 May 194314 Feb 1944
3T/Lt. Trevor Davies Bennett, RNR14 Feb 1944late 1944

4T/Lt. Edwin Charles Leaver, RNRDec 19444 Jan 1945
5Lt.Cdr. Sydney Warren Hicks, RNZNVR4 Jan 1945Jun 1945

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Notable events involving Hydrangea include:


14 Feb 1941
HMS H 28 (Lt. L.W.A. Bennington, DSC, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory. Upon completion of these exercises she proceeded to Rothesay together with the Norwegian submarine B 1. They were escorted by the corvette HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR). (1)

15 Feb 1941
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed Rothesay for Tobermory. She was escorted by HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR). (2)

1 Mar 1941

Convoy HX 112.

This convoy departed Halifax on 1 March 1941 for the U.K.

On departure from Halifax it was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ahamo (British, 8621 GRT, built 1926), Auris (British (tanker), 8030 GRT, built 1935), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), Black Condor (British, 5358 GRT, built 1921), Bonde (Norwegian, 1570 GRT, built 1936), Chaucer (British, 5792 GRT, built 1929), City of Oxford (British, 2759 GRT, built 1926), Dalcross (British, 4557 GRT, built 1930), Everleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Ferm (British (tanker), 6593 GRT, built 1933), Gloucester City (British, 3071 GRT, built 1919), J.B. White (British, 7375 GRT, built 1919), Korshamn (British, 6673 GRT, built 1920), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Lima (Swedish, 3762 GRT, built 1918), Margarita Chandris (Greek, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Mosli (Norwegian (tanker), 8291 GRT, built 1935), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Norefjord (Norwegian, 3082 GRT, built 1920), Reynolds (British, 5113 GRT, built 1927), Silvercedar (British, 4354 GRT, built 1924), Stad Haarlem (Dutch, 4518 GRT, built 1929), Tortu Guero (British, 5285 GRT, built 1921), Trekieve (British, 5244 GRT, built 1919), Venetia (British, 5728 GRT, built 1927) and Westland (Dutch, 5888 GRT, built 1931).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Bittersweet (A/Lt.Cdr. J.A. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Fennel (Lt. J.N. Smith, RCNR). The corvettes were however soon detached to return to Halifax.

In the morning of 4 March the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN) was sighted which provided close cover for the convoy until the morning of 15 March.

In the morning of 5 March 1941, Convoy BHX 112, coming from Bermuda, merged with Convoy HX 112. so the following merchant vessels joined; Beduin (Norwegian (tanker), 8136 GRT, built 1936), British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), Cistula (Dutch (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1939), Diloma (British (tanker), 8146 GRT, built 1939), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1936), Erodona (British (tanker), 6207 GRT, built 1937), Franche-Comte (British (tanker), 9314 GRT, built 1936), Ixion (British, 10263 GRT, built 1912), Katendrecht (British (tanker), 5099 GRT, built 1925), Ocana (British (tanker), 6256 GRT, built 1938), Oilreliance (British (tanker), 5666 GRT, built 1929), Robert F. Hand (British (tanker), 12197 GRT, built 1933), San Cipriano (British (tanker), 7966 GRT, built 1937), Traveller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1922) and Winamac (British (tanker), 8621 GRT, built 1926). Their escort, the armed merchant cruiser HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN), then parted company.

At 1620N/14, HMS Ranpura parted company with the convoy.

At 0720Z/15, HMS Norfolk parted company with the convoy.

Later on the 15th the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), escort destroyer HMS Viceroy (Lt.Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and the corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR) and HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined the convoy. HMS Viceroy was however soon detached while the destroyer HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) also joined (or early on the 16th).

During the night of 15/16 March the German submarine U-110 sighted the convoy and then attacked it damaging the tanker Erodona. Following this attack she was depth charged by HMS Volunteer and HMS Vanoc but she managed to escape without damage. Later that night U-110 made another attack but her torpedoes all missed.

During the night of 16/17 March the German submarine U-99 attacked the convoy resulting in the loss of the following ships; Venetia, Ferm, J.B. White, Korshamn, Beduin. The Franche Comté was damaged during these attacks.

Following these attacks the escorts encountered U-99's sister boat U-100. HMS Scimitar depth charged her causing damage. The U-boat than surfaced and was then rammed and sunk by HMS Vanoc. 6 survivors were picked up from the enemy submarine.

Shortly afterwards U-99 was depth charged by HMS Walker. The U-boat was damaged and had to surface. HMS Walker was able to pick up 40 survivors from the U-boat including it's famous Commanding Officer Otto Kretschmer.

On the 18th, HMS Bluebell was detached.

On the 19th, HMS Walker, HMS Sardonyx and HMS Scimitar were detached.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on the 20th.

6 May 1941

Convoy HX 125

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 May 1941 in two sections, convoy HX 125A and convoy HX 125B. They merged in the afternoon of May 16th.

Convoy HX 125A was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Abraham Lincoln (British, 5740 GRT, built 1929), Armadale (British, 5066 GRT, built 1929), Athelknight (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1930), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Baron Dunmore (British, 3938 GRT, built 1933), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), British Cinfidence (British (tanker), 8494 GRT, built 1936), British Fortitude (British (tanker), 8482 GRT, built 1937), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), Clausina (British (tanker), 8083 GRT, built 1938), Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1935), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Fjordheim (British, 4115 GRT, built 1930), Garonne (Norwegian (tanker), 7113 GRT, built 1921), Glenwood (British, 4897 GRT, built 1940), Harmala (British, 5730 GRT, built 1935), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Ingerfem (British, 3987 GRT, built 1912), King Neptune (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Lucellum (British (tanker), 9425 GRT, built 1938), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Luxor (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1930), O.A. Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 11007 GRT, built 1938), Port Nicholson (British, 8402 GRT, built 1919), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Robert F. Hand (British (tanker), 12197 GRT, built 1933), San Amado (British (tanker), 7316 GRT, built 1935), San Cipriano (British, 7966 GRT, built 1937), Silverelm (British, 4351 GRT, built 1924), Taron (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Topdalsfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Trevilley (British, 5296 GRT, built 1940), Troubadour (Norwegian, 5808 GRT, built 1920) and Vancouver (British (tanker), 5729 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125A was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ascania (Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Ringrose-Wharton, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Wetaskiwin (Lt.Cdr. G.S. Windeyer, RCN). The corvettes however soon returned to Halifax.

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Convoy HX 125B was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Breedijk (Dutch, 6861 GRT, built 1922), Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), British Prestige (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Christian Holm (British (tanker), 9119 GRT, built 1927), City of Adelaide (British, 6589 GRT, built 1920), Clearpool (British, 5404 GRT, built 1935), Cockaponset (British, 5995 GRT, built 1919), Corrales (British, 5363 GRT, built 1930), Diloma (British (tanker), 8146 GRT, built 1939), Egyptian Prince (British, 3490 GRT, built 1922), Empire Barracuda (British, 4972 GRT, built 1919), Empire Hail (British, 7005 GRT, built 1941), Evgenia Chandris (Greek, 5317 GRT, built 1920), Frontenac (Norwegian (tanker), 7350 GRT, built 1928), Gold Shell (British (tanker), 8208 GRT, built 1931), Hellen (Norwegian, 5289 GRT, built 1921), Ida Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 8913 GRT, built 1925), Invincible (British, 7592 GRT, built 1918), Kelso (British, 3956 GRT, built 1924), Kent (British, 8697 GRT, built 1918), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Exporter (British, 5277 GRT, built 1918), Masunda (British, 5250 GRT, built 1929), Modavia (British, 4858 GRT, built 1927), Norfolk (British, 10948 GRT, built 1918) and Nyanza (British, 4974 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125B was escorted by the sloop HMS Aberdeen (Lt. S.G. Rivers-Smith, RN).

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On 7 May 1941, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Halifax to provide cover for both sections of the convoy. She set course to return to Halifax around midnight during the night of 13/14 May 1941.

Four recently transferred US Coast Guard Cutters were also with the convoy, though these had not been rearmed and worked up. These were; HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Hartland ( A/Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN).

On the 16th the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR), HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) and HMS Larkspur (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Iceland. They remained with the convoy until the 18th.

In the afternoon of the 16th, Convoys HX 125A and HX 125B merged into one big convoy.

Around 1330Z/18, HMS Ascania parted company with the convoy to proceed to Reykjavik.

On the 18th the destroyers HMS Ramsey (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Stannard, VC, RNR), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR), HMS Candytuft (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Gregorie, RNR), HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR), HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and HMS Wallflower (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RN), and the minesweeper HMS Salamander (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 19th the destroyer HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) joined on the 19th as did the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN), HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, RN), HMS Seagull ( Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) but apparently only for a short while.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the convoy on the 20th.

also on the 20th the corvettes HMS Tulip and HMS Wallflower were detached.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were destached on the 21st as was the corvette HMS Honeysuckle.

The convoy arrived in British waters on 22 May 1941.

8 Jun 1941

Convoy SL 77.

This convoy departed Freetown for the U.K. on 8 June 1941.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913), Banfora (British, 9472 GRT, built 1914), Blackheath (British, 4637 GRT, built 1936), Boskoop (Dutch, 5620 GRT, built 1927), Chulmleigh (British, 5445 GRT, built 1938), Ile de Batz (British, 5755 GRT, built 1918), John Holt (British, 4975 GRT, built 1938), Kindat (British, 4358 GRT, built 1938), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Mahsud (British, 7540 GRT, built 1917), Peebles (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936), Spar (Dutch, 3616 GRT, built 1924) and Storaas (Norwegian (tanker), 7886 GRT, built 1929).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by armed merchant cruiser HMS Arawa (A/Capt. G.R. Deverell, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gardenia (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR) and the auxiliary A/S yacht HMS Surprise (Capt.(Retd.) E. Stubbs, RN).

The merchant vessels Aliakmon and Blackheath however soon returned to Freetown due to engine defects.

At 1015N/10, the convoy was joined by the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). She parted company around 0800N/11.

HMS Gardenia and HMS Marguerite and HMS Surprise parted company in the afternoon of 13 June.

Around 1130N/15, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) joined the convoy as did the merchant vessels Anglo Indian (British, 5609 GRT, built 1938), Cordillera (British, 6865 GRT, built 1920), Gascony (British, 4716 GRT, built 1925), and Stornest (British, 4265 GRT, built 1921) which had been brought out from St. Vincent by the corvette HMS Cyclamen.

At 1810N/15, HMS Surprise parted company with the convoy.

Around noon on 21 June, the merchant vessel Peebles was detached to the Azores due to engine defects.

Around 1100Z/27, HMS Norfolk was detached to proceed to Scapa Flow.

Around 0700A/28, the armed boarding vessel HMS Hilary (Cdr. T.L. Owen, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0100B/28, the armed boarding vessel Cavina (Cdr. C.B. Osborne, RD, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0800B/28, the corvette HMS Wallflower (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1140B/28, the destroyer HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1210B/28, the destroyers HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HNoMS Bath (Lt.Cdr. C.F.T. Melsom) and the corvette HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1300B/28, the rescue ship Toward (British, 1571 GRT, built 1923) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 2 July 1941.

3 Aug 1941
German U-boat U-401 in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 50°30'N, 19°35'W, by depth charges from the British corvette HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR).

5 Aug 1941
HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) picks up 36 survivors from the British merchant Cape Rodney that foundered west of Ushant in position 52°44'N, 11°41'W after being torpedoed and damaged west of Ireland in position 53°26'N, 15°40'W by German U-boat U-75.

Hydrangea also picks up 39 survivors from the British merchant Harlingen that was torpedoed and sunk by U-75 in the same attack.

19 Mar 1942

Convoy AS 2.

This convoy departed Charleston, South Carolina, USA on 19 March 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Agwileon (American, 6678 GRT, built 1907), Brazil (American, 20614 GRT, built 1929) and Mormactide (American, 7773 GRT, built 1941).

They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, DSC, RN), escort carrier HMS Archer (Cdr. J.I. Robertson, RN) and the destroyers USS Upshur (Lt.Cdr. W.K. Romoser, USN), USS Du Pont (T/Lt.Cdr. F.M. Adamson, USN) and USS Cole (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Dyer, USN).

Around 0800Q/20, the destroyer USS Du Pont was detached to return to Charlestown.

Around 1200Q/22, HMS Devonshire was detached to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands where she arrived later the same day.

The convoy arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico later the same day.

At 0900Q/23, the Agwileon departed San Juan for St. Thomas where she arrived later the same day to fuel. She was escorted by USS Cole.

Around 0630Q/24, the Brazil, Mormactide and HMS Archer departed San Juan. They were joined off the harbour entrance by USS Upshur who first had conducted an A/S sweep of the harbour prior to the departure of the convoy.

Around 1400Q/24, the Agwileon, HMS Devonshire and USS Cole joined the convoy coming from St. Thomas.

Around 0900P/25, the troopship Monterey (American, 148017 GRT, built 1932) and USS Du Pont joined the convoy. They had departed Charleston around 1900Q/21.

Around 0645P/26, USS Du Pont was detached from the convoy. She was to proceed to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Around 0400P/27, USS Upshur was detached from the convoy. She was to proceed to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Around 0600P/28, USS Cole was detached to proceed to Bermuda.

Around 1500N/1, the corvettes FFS Commandant Detroyant and HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined.

Around 1400N/2, HMS Devonshire parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead of it to Freetown where she arrived around 0600Z/3.

The convoy arrived around 1430Z/3. (3)

12 Dec 1942
HMS P 614 (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR), FFS Commandant Drogou, HMS Viviana (Skr. R. Trueman, RNR) and HMS Northern Isles (T/Lt. J.M. Baldry, RNVR). (4)

21 Dec 1942
HMS P 614 (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR) and FFS Commandant d'Estienne d'Orves. (4)

24 Dec 1942
HMS P 614 (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Holcombe (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Pinchin, DSC, RN), HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR) and HMS ML 289 (T/Lt. S.E. Slater, RNVR). (4)

19 Mar 1943
HMS P 615 (Lt. C.W.St.C. Lambert, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown with HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN) and HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR). (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16714
  2. ADM 173/16790
  3. ADM 53/115779
  4. ADM 173/17529
  5. ADM 199/635

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


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