Flower Class Corvette Association Message Board

Dear Ms Whiteley,

My wife and I recently found the lovely oak plaque in an antique shop in Wiltshire that commemorates the adoption of the Flower Class Corvette HMS Coltsfoot by the Rural District of Amesbury in February 1942. By chance both my wife and I were born in February 1942 and we were so taken by the beautifully carved plaque with its depiction of Stonehenge, oak leaves & acorns that we bought it. Having done some limited research on the war record of this ship and the role it played in support of some of the most hazardous 1942 Malta Convoys we feel very honoured to own this plaque and wonder if it would be possible to find some further background information on HMS Coltsfoot?

We appreciate that the Flower Class Corvette Association is essentially in place for ex-serving members of the crews of these vessels and their direct families and descendants - but if it were at all possible to gain some sort of associate membership of the FCCA we would be delighted to be able to join.

Because the plaque has two very strong "keyhole" type slot fastenings on the rear face of the plaque this suggests that such a firm & secure fixing method may mean that this plaque could have been presented to the ship and may have been installed in her wardroom, since such a fastening method would be quite unnecessary for a shore-based location? If any of your members could shed light on this matter that would be very helpful.

Please feel free to share these photographs on your website. The lettering on the plaque has been carved wonderfully well and although the gold paint infill in the lettering is somewhat faded it is a beautiful piece of work and I am getting professional advice on the best way to preserve and perhaps sensitively restore this historic item. And again may I say we feel immensely proud and honoured to own this and grateful for the sacrifices made by the men of the Royal Navy who served in these ships.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Bishop

North Yorkshire

Email: wilf.bishop@btinternet.com

My name is laura cherry, from Northern Ireland, I was wondering if you would post this email on your web page, I am wanting information however small, regards to my late father, many thanks.

My late father, Robert John Robinson (Bobbie) began his navel career at the age of 19 yrs as an ordinary Signalman, In 1941 he was sent to the flower class corvettes,HMS Fritillary,completed at Harland and Wolf shipyard Belfast. My father was aboard the ship during her work up trials at Tobermorey. On Dec 1st 1941 he departed the UK in HMS Fritillary bound for the South Atlantic.

HMS Fritillary arrived in Freetown Sierra Leone on 21st Dec and spent most of January and February 1942 escorting convoys from Freetown and Bathhurst. In early March she was sent with her sister ship HMS Freesia to Simonstown in South Africa. From there the fritillary went to Durban and then onto Diego Suarez. After a brief spell at the Madagascar Port she returned to Durban, but was then reassigned from the South Atlantic Command to the Eastern Fleet.

With the Eastern Fleet HMS Fritillary initially based at Kilindini (now Mombasa) where my father was given a temp position to Yeoman of signals towards the end of October.Meanwhile HMS Fritillary was sent with the 'Isles' class trawler HMS Hoxa to search for suspected Japanese Submarine close to Addu Atoll and during November she was involved in anti-submarine searches of the Seychelles.

In Dec 1942 the Fritillary was once more assigned to the South Atlantic Command and spent her time escorting convoys between Durban and Cape Town. In July 1943, while the Fritillary continued to plough the seas between Durban and Cape Town my father was given a post ashore as temp Acting Leading Signalman at HMS GNU navel base at Cape Town. From there onto the HMS Lochailort combined operations base and school for boat officers at Inverailort Castle near Inverness where he trained to become a commissioned officer, a temporary acting sub Lieutenant with the RNVR .In 1943 my father was assigned to LCI(L)382 Landing craft awaiting D.Day operation overlord. He returned to civilian life in 1946.This information was forwarded to me from the Royal Naval records at my request.

I am hopeing for someone who can remember Bobbie,His other assignment ships are posted on the ( RNVR Officers 1939/1945) web sight under The British Flag, then under initial (R) Robert John Robinson.
His other ships picked up survivors from HM Sloops, Folkstone, Londonderry, Wellington/ HM Cutters,Sennen, Totland. HMS Royal Archer/ Confield/Cingalese Prince/ Brunswick / Athel Princess, I would be gratefull if anyone can give me any information whatsoever. or someone who was onboard a corvette could give me a summary of what daily life at sea was like during those dreadful times,

This information is for a family portfolio to honor my fathers memory.

Thanking you,sincerly Laura Cherry. e.mail cherrylaura@hotmail.co.uk

BLUE TALLY HO! By Vice-Admiral Usborne.

I have a note that I read this book on corvettes, I think, or at any rate on the Battle of the Atlantic, some sixty years ago and would like to read it again but the local library tells me that it cannot be traced. I wonder if it is worth while adding it to your list in the hope that some member may still have a copy and willing to lend it.

W.A.J. Cunningham


By Anne Seymour Honorary Treasuer Flower Class Corvette Association.

63 years Later......

The Flower Class Corvette Association was Founded by my father Cyril Stephens, (Stevo as he's better known to members)
with the aim of reuniting old shipmates. Survivors who had been rescued by Flower Class Corvettes were also invited to join as Associate members.
Over the years many happy reunions have taken place,including very emotional ones where a survivor has met his rescuer. None more than the one that took place in May this year 2007.
Associate Life member Ex leading Aircraftsman Eric Ingham was rescued from the torpedoed F.D.T. 216 along with about 200 other survivors by HMS Burdock. To use Eric's words "The crew looked after us like children at a Sunday School outing - giving us everything they could".
Now by a remarkable coincidence Eric has been able to meet one of his rescuers after 63 years.....
Towards the end of May 2005 Eric rang me, he had put HMS Burdock into "Google" on the internet and come up with the name Alan Boot. Did I know an Alan Boot ? yes I did. By some miracle Alan had joined the FCCA less than two months before ! ! I was able to give Eric Alan's telephone number and he got in touch.
At this year's reunion Alan told me that he was soon to go to Skegness to meet Eric for the first time since July 1944.
The meeting was not only very emotional but they were able to swap information and " fill in the Gaps"
Alan describes their meeting.... He picked me up from my hotel on Thursday and we went for a drink to get to know each other. We then went to his bungalow where I met his wife Muriel. We then went to a golf club for lunch...I enjoyede every minute. they are such a wonderful couple. In the afternoon we went back to the bungalow and exchanged all the literatur we had. I met his granddaughter Rachel. Muriel thanked me for giving her a wonderful husband for 54 years. Rachel thanked me for giving her a wonderful grandfather for 30 years.
we met again on Thursday evening and we stayed in and talked and after a couple of "tots" Eric put his arms around me and thanked the Burdock crew in general for saving his life. Very Emotional !.
Without the FCCA it is extremely unlikely that Eric and Alan would have met. Stevo would have been so proud that "his" association is still fulfilling his dream.

HMS Monkswood:

Sandra Edwards would like some help in locating the whereabouts of her Father who served on the HMS Monkshood during World War 2, and was discharged in Durban South Africa during 1946. I am looking for information on William Ridsdale, DOB: 4 October 1924, now 84 years of age, From Middlesbrough UK. I would appreciate any assistance you can supply including possible current place of residence or it deceased, his resting place.

Thank you for your help.

Regards, Sandra Edwards

We've been supplied with these photographs by Les Rishman, taken onboard (Free French) FS Rosalys during the war. Maybe someone will recognise themselves or a relation.

From: "Gord Sands" <ppcli@shaw.ca>
Subject: Chief ERA Jimmy Sands & HMCS Trillium
Greetings from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My name is Gordon sands and my Grandfather James Sands served as a Chief ERA on the Trillium when she
was commissioned and was wounded at action stations on 12 April 1941.
He passed away in 1981, I am presently wriiting a family about him the Trillium and the convoys she escorted throughout the War. My Garnadfather was a short scotsman fromm Ayrshire, Scotland, born in 1892. I have information that he served in WWI as well. He imigrated to Canada in 1924 from Scotland. I was wondering if you could post a request for a number of things to assist me.
1. Does anybody have any recollections of my Grandfather
2. does anybody have any stories about the Trilliums escapades/ adventures/ challenges throughout the war that they would be willing to share.
3. Any information about an operation Kelvin. what I have been able to piece together is that Cable ships would require escorts and anti-submarine patrols while they pulled up cable and made repairs or laid new cable during the war.

I thank you in advance for any and all assistance you might be able to provide.


Gordon Sands

The Last Corvette
(Peter Coy HMS Narcissus)

Sixty years after the westerly harbours of the North Atlantic had helped save Great Britain from starvation, my wife and I had the privilege of visiting four of the most important. Three are Canadian and one is French.

First stop was at St.John's, Newfoundland, no longer the wooden fishing-city of yore but a busy provincial capital, with a dredged deep-water cleft through a sheer escarpment, now enabling the entrance of cruise liners. This port, between 1941 and 1945, was the western terminus for British and Canadian warships waiting to escort the food- and munitions -convoys, which would keep Britain going. The 'Crow's Nest' naval officers' club is still there and now sports the periscope of the surrendered U-190, which protrudes through the roof of the club, so that drinkers at the bar may scan the harbour.

Next stop was at the tiny island of St.Pierre, the first territory in the Western Hemisphere to declare for De Gaulle in 1941; and it used to be the habitual lay-over port for Free French corvettes thereafter, between convoy duties

The vast anchorage at St.John, Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia, used to be the assembly point for eastward-bound slow convoys. They were heavily laden and the most vulnerable to U--boat attack: Their 5-8 knot advance, took them about 12 days to cross the Atlantic, even with favourable winds and seas. The harbour of St. John is now empty of that concourse of shipping of sixty years ago.

The queen of this crescent of departure points, however, must now be Halifax in Nova Scotia: from there the fast convoys used to assemble, launching eastwards the essential products of American industry and protecting the tankers filled with Caribbean oil.
Halifax now has a playground waterfront with hotels and restaurants rivalling the French Riviera; but its attraction for us was the presence of the Canadian Navy's Memorial to the Battle in which Canada was a principal protagonist: H.M.C.S. Sackville. She is the last corvette afloat out of the FlowerClass' ordered for the Battle (Canadian corvettes were named after the towns which 'adopted' their crews).

H.M.C.S. Sackville has been restored to her 1945 appearance. Whatever armament and equipment could not be retrieved from naval stores, museums or other friendly navies has been reconstructed meticulously by naval engineers. She is manned currently by volunteers and is open for visitors in a city, which is equally attractive for tourists, Her wardroom has been turned into a clubhouse for weekly gatherings of her local supporters.

Although there are other naval monuments afloat, there is no British equivalent memorial to the Baffle of the Atlantic.