Allied Warships

HMS Rhododendron (K 78)

Corvette of the Flower class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeCorvette
ClassFlower 
PennantK 78 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered19 Sep 1939 
Laid down22 May 1940 
Launched2 Sep 1940 
Commissioned18 Oct 1940 
End service 
History

HMS Rhododendron is not listed as active unit in the July 1945 Navy List.

Sold on 17 May 1947.
Became the merchantile Maj Vinke in 1950.

 

Commands listed for HMS Rhododendron (K 78)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. William Nelson Mitchell Faichney, RNR8 Sep 1940Feb 1941

2Lt.Cdr. William Nelson Mitchell Faichney, DSO, RNRApr 19415 Sep 1941
3Lt. Harold Ivor Davis, RNVR5 Sep 19418 Apr 1942
4Lt. Louis Alan Sayers, RNR28 Apr 1942mid 1943
5T/Lt. Oliver Birrell Medley, RNVRmid 19433 Aug 1944
6Lt. Gordon Leslie Frank Melville, RNR3 Aug 194414 Oct 1944
7T/A/Lt.Cdr. Henry Vernon, RNR14 Oct 194421 Jan 1945
8T/Lt. Ralph Smith Mortimer, RNR21 Jan 1945Apr 1945 ?

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Notable events involving Rhododendron include:


21 Nov 1940
German U-boat U-103 was attacked with depth charges by the British corvette HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, RNR) north-west of Ireland, in position 56°28'N, 14°13'W. This attack is often credited with the destruction of U-104, this is however not the case and the cause of U-104's loss is still not clear.

21 Nov 1940
Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, RNR) picks up 36 survivors from the British merchant Daydawn that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-103 about 250 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 56°30'N, 14°10'W.

17 Jan 1941
HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, RNR) is damaged when she detonates a mine in Liverpool harbour. She was out of service for about three months.

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 (T/Lt. R.A. Cherry, RNR) joined the convoy on 31 May and remained with it until dissolved on 4 June 1941.

28 Jul 1941
The British merchant Lapland is torpedoed and sunk north-west of Cape Finisterre in position 40°36'N, 15°30'W by German U-boat U-203. 26 survivors were later picked up by HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, DSO, RNR).

5 Mar 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Rhododendron (Lt. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Teviot (Lt.Cdr. A. Blewett, DSC, RNR), HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, DSC, RNR) and HMS Prodigal (T/Lt. J.A.S. Leslie, RNR). (1)

9 Mar 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Mutine (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.E. Morley, DSC, RNVR), HMS Grenadier (A/Skr.Lt. A.G. Day, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt. L.A. Sayers, RNR). (1)

1 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 17th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol of the Lofoten. Passage north towards just north of Muckle Fluga was made together with USS Barb (Lt.Cdr. N. Lucker, Jr., USN) under escort by HMS Rhododendron (Lt. L.A. Sayers, RNR). (2)

4 Jul 1943
HMS Rhododendron (Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR) and HMRT Restive (W 39) pick up more than 300 survivors from City of Venice and St. Essylt that were sunk by the German U-boats U-409 and U-375 in the convoy KMS-18B off Cape Tenes, Algeria.

2 Feb 1944
HMS Spirit (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick. She departed for Holy Loch later the same day. During the passage she was escorted by HMS Rhododendron (Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR). (3)

14 Feb 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Rhododendron (T/Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR) and HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Welland, DSC, RCN). (4)

24 Nov 1944
HMS H 50 (Lt. W.T.J. Fox, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Lapwing (Cdr.(Retd.) E.C. Hulton, RN) and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (5)

29 Dec 1944
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS La Cordeliere (Lt.Cdr. A.J.G. Barff, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (6)

2 Jan 1945
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Spaniel and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (7)

3 Jan 1945
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS La Cordeliere (Lt.Cdr. A.J.G. Barff, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (7)

10 Jan 1945
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS La Cordeliere (Lt.Cdr. A.J.G. Barff, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (7)

11 Jan 1945
HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS La Cordeliere (Lt.Cdr. A.J.G. Barff, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Vernon, RNR). (7)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6382 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/1878
  3. ADM 199/1869
  4. ADM 173/18513
  5. ADM 173/18534
  6. ADM 173/19230
  7. ADM 173/20130

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


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