Allied Warships

HMS Orchis (K 76)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 76 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered19 Sep 1939 
Laid down18 Jun 1940 
Launched15 Oct 1940 
Commissioned29 Nov 1940 
Lost21 Aug 1944 
History

On 21 August 1944 HMS Orchis (A/T/Lt.Cdr. Bryan Webster Harris, DSC, RNVR) is severely damaged by a mine, and beached off 'Juno' Beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer, and subsequently declared a Constructive Total Loss (CTL).

 

Commands listed for HMS Orchis (K 76)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Arthur Denis White, RNR12 Nov 194017 May 1941
2T/Lt. Henry Vernon, RNR17 May 19415 Oct 1941
3Lt. Charles Edmund Keene, RCNVR5 Oct 1941late 1941
4Lt. Arthur Denis White, RNRlate 194116 Mar 1943
5T/Lt. Eric David Arthur Dyer, RCNVR16 Mar 194320 Oct 1943
6T/Lt. Bryan Webster Harris, RNVR20 Oct 1943late 1944

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Notable events involving Orchis include:


31 Dec 1940
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR) or HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR). (1)

21 Mar 1941

Convoy HX 116.

This convoy departed Halifax on 21 March 1941 for Liverpool where it arrived on 9 April 1941.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Anna Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 9057 GRT, built 1931), Birgitte (British, 1595 GRT, built 1930), British Dominion (British (tanker), 6983 GRT, built 1928), British Prince (British, 4879 GRT, built 1935), Coulbeg (British, 5237 GRT, built 1940), Duke of Athens (British, 5217 GRT, built 1940), Ferncastle (British (tanker), 9940 GRT, built 1936), Gregalia (British, 5802 GRT, built 1929), Grey County (Norwegian, 5194 GRT, built 1918), Haakon Hauan (Norwegian (tanker), 6582 GRT, built 1935), Hercules (Dutch, 2317 GRT, built 1914), Iddesleigh (British, 5205 GRT, built 1927), Innerton (British, 5276 GRT, built 1919), Kaipara (British, 5882 GRT, built 1938), Lyras (Greek, 5685 GRT, built 1918), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Mariso (Dutch, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Murena (Dutch (tanker), 8252 GRT, built 1931), Nellie (Greek, 4826 GRT, built 1913), Pacific Shipper (British, 6290 GRT, built 1924), Port Campbell (British, 7851 GRT, built 1924), Richmond Hill (British, 7579 GRT, built 1940), San Arcadio (British (tanker), 7419 GRT, built 1935), San Florentino (British (tanker), 12842 GRT, built 1919), Sovac (British (tanker), 6724 GRT, built 1938), Stanwell (British, 5767 GRT, built 1914), Tetela (British, 5389 GRT, built 1926) and Tornus (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ausonia (Capt.(Retd.) G.H. Freyberg, OBE, RN).

On 23 March the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) joined the convoy.

On 31 March HMS Royal Sovereign parted company with the convoy.

On 4 March 1941 HMS Ausonia parted company with the convoy after the destroyers HMS Ambuscade (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. A.J.B. Cresswell, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN), HMS Heartsease (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Proudfoot, RN), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR)and A/S trawler HMS St. Apollo (T/Lt. R.H. Marchington, RNVR) had joined. The destroyer HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined on 5 April. The destroyer HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) and corvette HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR)both joined on 6 April. HMS Orchis was detached on 7 April.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 9 April.

29 Mar 1941

Convoy SL 70.

This convoy departed Freetown on 29 March 1941 and arrived in UK waters (Liverpool) on 23 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alfred Jones (British, 5013 GRT, built 1930), Ancylus (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), Andrea Brovig (Norwegian (tanker), 10173 GRT, built 1940), Barrgrove (British, 5222 GRT, built 1918), Belgravian (British, 3136 GRT, built 1937), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Bulysses (British, 7519 GRT, built 1927), Chelatros (Greek, 3489 GRT, built 1914), Clan MacBrayne (British, 4818 GRT, built 1916), Clan MacInnes (British, 4672 GRT, built 1920), Colytto (Dutch, 4408 GRT, built 1926), Dagomba (British, 3845 GRT, built 1928), Delius (British, 6065 GRT, built 1937), Denpark (British, 3491 GRT, built 1928), Dornoch (British, 5186 GRT, built 1939), Egda (Norwegian (tanker), 10050 GRT, built 1939), Elstree Grange (British, 6598 GRT, built 1916), Grangepark (British, 5132 GRT, built 1919), Gunda (Swedish, 1770 GRT, built 1930), Henry Stanley (British, 5026 GRT, built 1929), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Mandalay (British, 5529 GRT, built 1911), Marconi (British, 7402 GRT, built 1917), Meliskerk (Dutch, 6045 GRT, built 1919), Para (Norwegian, 3986 GRT, built 1921), Parklaan (Dutch, 3807 GRT, built 1911), Phidias (British, 5623 GRT, built 1913), Sacramento Valley (British, 4573 GRT, built 1924), Storanger (Norwegian (tanker), 9223 GRT, built 1930) and William Wilberforce (British, 4013 GRT, built 1930).

The rescue ship Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.W. Shaw, MBE, RN), corvette HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Kelt (T/Lt. W.T. Hodson, RNVR) and HMS Pict (???).

At 1726N/31, HMS Dragon parted company with the convoy. The armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) had joined shortly before HMS Dragon parted company.

Around 1300N/4, HMS Kelt and HMS Pict parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bathurst.

At 1755N/4, HMS Calendula parted company with the convoy to proceed to Bathurst.

Around 1730N/5, the light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the troopship Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy. They had departed Freetown around 1730N/2 to overtake the convoy.

Around 1600N/19, HMS Marsdale (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Armstrong, RNR) joined the convoy after which HMS Bulolo parted company.

Around 0900N/20, the destroyer HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1800N/20, the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Beagle, (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN), HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN) and the corvettes HMS Heather (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, RN), HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR), HMCS Hepatica (T/Lt. C. Copelin, RCNR) and HMCS Windflower (T/Lt. J.H.S. MacDonald, RCNR) joined the convoy.

At 2105N/20, HMS Birmingham parted company with the convoy to proceed to Scapa Flow.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 23 April 1941. Some of the A/S escorts had already parted company with the convoy earlier.

6 May 1941
HMS Orchis (Lt. H. Vernon, RNR) picks up survivors from the British armed boarding vessel HMS Camito that was torpedoed the previous day by German U-boat U-97 in position 50°40'N, 21°30'W.

1 Jul 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. H. Winter, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Boadicea (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Roxborough (Lt. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Orchis (T/Lt. H. Vernon, RNR) and aircraft. (2)

25 May 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with USS Spry (Lt. M.W. Firth, USN), HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR), HNoMS Narvik and HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN). (3)

26 May 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with USS Spry (Lt. M.W. Firth, USN), HMS Orchis (Lt. A.D. White, RNR), HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN) and HMS Piroutte (T/Lt. E.R. Pate, RNR). (3)

5 Aug 1943
HMS Untiring (Lt. R. Boyd, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Orchis (T/Lt. E.D.A. Dyer, RCNVR) and FFS Renoncule.

Upon completion of these HMS Untiring departed the Larne area for the Clyde area escorted by HMS ML 225 (T/Lt. D. Kaye, RNVR). (4)

3 Dec 1943
HMS Stratagem (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP), FFS Lobelia and HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, RNVR). (5)

5 Dec 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), FFS Roselys, ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP), HMS Narcissus (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR) and HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, RNVR). (6)

22 Feb 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR), RHS Tompazis, HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, DSC, RNVR), HMS Lavender (Lt. L.G. Pilcher, RNR) and HMS Buttercup (T/Lt. R.J. Jonckheere, RNR). (7)

22 Feb 1944
HMS H 34 (Lt. R.L. Jay, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Lavender (Lt. L.G. Pilcher, RNR), RHS Kriezis, HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR) and HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, DSC, RNVR). (8)

22 Feb 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Fowey (Cdr.(Retd.) L.B.A. Majendie, RN), HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, DSC, RNVR), FFS Renoncule, FFS Aconit and FFS Roselys. (9)

15 Aug 1944
German U-boat U-741 was sunk in the English Channel south-west of Brighton, in position 50°02'N, 00°36'W, by depth charges from the British corvette HMS Orchis (T/A/Lt.Cdr. B.W. Harris, DSC, RNVR).

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6366 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/16762
  3. ADM 173/17201
  4. ADM 173/18437
  5. ADM 173/18129
  6. ADM 173/17777
  7. File 2.12.03.6372 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  8. ADM 173/18492
  9. ADM 173/18513

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


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