Allied Warships

HMS Arabis (K 73)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 73 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered19 Sep 1939 
Laid down30 Oct 1939 
Launched14 Feb 1940 
Commissioned5 Apr 1940 
End service30 Apr 1942 
History

Ordered for the French Navy, launched as HMS Arabis.
Transferred to the U.S.N. at Belfast on 30 April 1942 and was commissioned in the U.S.N. on the same day.
Decommissioned by the U.S.N. at Chatham, England, on 20 August 1945 and returned to the R.N. on 26 August 1945.
She was renamed HMS Snapdragon.
Sold in 1946.
Became the mercantile Katina in 1947.

 
Career notesTo the United States Navy as USS Saucy

Commands listed for HMS Arabis (K 73)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. John Parker Stewart, RNR23 Dec 1940Apr 1942

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Notable events involving Arabis include:


19 Jun 1940
HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. Arthur Blewett, RNR) picks up 15 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Tudor that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-48 northwest of Cape Finisterre in position 45°10'N, 11°50'W.

21 Sep 1940
HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. Arthur Blewett, RNR) picks up 23 survivors from the British whale factory ship New Sevilla that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-138 52 miles northwest of Rathlin Island in position 55°50'N, 07°30'W.

10 Dec 1940
HMS H 32 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR) and HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR). (1)

23 Jan 1941
The British merchant Lurigethan is bombed and damaged by a German FW200 aircraft. The crew abandoned ship and were picked up by the British corvette HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR), which stayed near the ship to wait for a tug. At 02.12 hours on 26 January 1941, the burning and abandoned Lurigethan was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-105 west of Ireland in position 53°46'N, 16°00'W.

15 Mar 1941

Convoy HG 56.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 15 March 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 1 April 1941.

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Ary Lensen (British, 3214 GRT, built 1930), Aymeric (British, 5196 GRT, built 1919), Baron Haig (British, 3391 GRT, built 1926), Baron Nairn (British, 3164 GRT, built 1925), Baron Pentland (British, 3410 GRT, built 1927), Bruce M. (British, 1887 GRT, built 1927), Crane (British, 785 GRT, built 1937), Cressado (British, 1228 GRT, built 1913), Dayrose (British, 4113 GRT, built 1928), Fanefjeld (Norwegian, 1354 GRT, built 1920), Fendris (British, 1018 GRT, built 1925), Lech (Polish, 1568 GRT, built 19341927), Lissa (British, 1511 GRT, built ), Magne (Swedish, 3103 GRT, built 1912), Margareta (British, 1173 GRT, built 1904), Ocean Coast (British, 1173 GRT, built 1935), Philipp M. (British, 2085 GRT, built 1924), Procris (British, 1033 GRT, built 1924), Rhineland (British, 1381 GRT, built 1922), Rimfakse (Norwegian, 1334 GRT, built 1921), Thurso (British, 2436 GRT, built 1919), Treminnard (British, 4964 GRT, built 1922), Ulea (British, 1574 GRT, built 1936), Uskside (British, 2708 GRT, built 1937) and Wallonia (Swedish, 1435 GRT, built ).

[It is possible some of these ships did not sail from Freetown but joined the convoy at sea.]

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), sloop HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), corvettes HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR), HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR) and the submarine HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN).

HMS Velox, HMS Geranium and HMS Verbena parted company on 16 March to return to Gibraltar.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined the convoy around 0900Z/23.

At 1600Z/24, HMS Olympus parted company with the convoy and proceeded to join convoy OG 56.

Around 1130Z/25, the armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0800Z/27, the destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) joined the convoy.

Around 1000Z/27, the corvettes HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR), HMS Mallow (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Piggott, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 1700Z/27, the destroyers HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, OBE, RN), HMS Burwell (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR), sloop HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and rescue ship Zaafaran (1559 GRT, built 1921) joined.

Around 0930A/29, the destroyer HMS Broadwater (Lt.Cdr. W.M.L. Astwood, RN) joined the convoy.

29 Jun 1941
German U-boat U-651 was sunk south of Iceland, in position 59°52'N, 18°36'W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. C.D. Howard-Johnston, DSC, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, RN), the corvettes HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) and the minesweeper HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RNR).

26 Oct 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR). (2)

17 Jan 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, RNR), HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR) and HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR). (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16291
  2. ADM 173/16786
  3. ADM 173/17209

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


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