HMS Petunia (K 79)
Corvette of the Flower class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Henry Robb Ltd. (Leith, U.K.) : Kincaid|
|Ordered||31 Aug 1939|
|Laid down||4 Dec 1939|
|Launched||19 Sep 1940|
|Commissioned||13 Jan 1941|
Sold to the Chinese Navy in January 1946 and renamed Fu Po.
Commands listed for HMS Petunia (K 79)
Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Lt.Cdr. George Victor Legassick, RNR||16 Dec 1940||Dec 1941|
|2||Lt.Cdr. John Merrick Rayner, RD, RNR||15 Jan 1942||5 Dec 1942|
|3||A/Lt.Cdr. George Edward Newey, RNR||5 Dec 1942||14 Oct 1943|
|4||Lt. Roland Maurice Roberts, RNR||14 Oct 1943||13 Apr 1944|
|5||T/Lt. Graham Leonard Coles, RNVR||13 Apr 1944||Apr 1945 ?|
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Notable events involving Petunia include:
19 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Northern Spray (Lt. H.P. Crail, RNR) and HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR). (1)
24 Feb 1941
HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassisk, RNR) picks up 3 survivors from the British merchant Jonathan Holt and 17 survivors from the British merchant Mansepool that were torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-97 in the North Atlantic south-west of the Faroes Islands in position 61°10'N, 11°55'W.
HMS Petunia also picks up 41 survivors from the British tanker British Gunner that was also torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-97 in the North Atlantic south-west of the Faroes Islands in position 61°09'N, 12°04'W.
20 Feb 1942
HMS Tigris (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Plymouth. She was escorted by the British corvette HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR). Trident was to refit at the Devonport Dockyard. (2)
23 Feb 1942
HMS Taku (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN) made rendez-vous of Wolf Rock with HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR). They then proceeded north through the Irish Sea towards Holy Loch. (3)
16 Apr 1942
Convoy WS 18.
This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 16 April 1942.
It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Capetown Castle (British, 27000 GRT, built 1938), City of Capetown (British, 8046 GRT, built 1937), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1939), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931, Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Maloja (British, 20914 GRT, built 1923), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Phemius (British, 7406 GRT, built 1921), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Soudan (British, 6677 GRT, built 1931) and Waipawa (British, 12436 GRT, built 1934).
The destroyer tender HMS Hecla (Capt. E.F.B. Law, RN) was also part of the convoy.
On assembly from Oversay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, Senior Officer), heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN), destroyers HMS Georgetown (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN), HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. M.H.R. Crichton, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) and the destroyer escorts HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. R.H. Rycroft, RN).
Around 0700N/19, HMS Badsworth and HMS Lauderdale parted company to return to the U.K.
Around 1900N/19, HMS Lancaster, HMS St. Marys, HMS Boadicea and HMS Volunteer parted company to return to the U.K.
Around 2000N/19, HrMs Van Galen and HMS Tetcott parted company to refuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores and to rejoin the convoy on completion. The departed Ponta Delgada to rejoin the convoy on the 20th.
Around 0915N/21, HMS Georgetown and HMS Salisbury parted company to refuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores.
Around 1900N/22, HrMs Van Galen rejoined.
Around 1030N/23, HMS Tetcott rejoined. Both had been delayed in rejoining the convoy due to them having difficulty finding the convoy.
Around 0930N/26, the destroyers HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and the corvette HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) joined.
The convoy arrived at Freetown on 29 April 1942.
The convoy departed Freetown on 3 May 1942 in the same composition with the addition of the troop transport Rimutaka (British, 16576 GRT, built 1923), transport Agwileon (American, 6678 GRT, built 1907) and the seaplane carrier HMS Albatross (A/Capt. F.W.H. Clarke, RN).
Escort on departure from Freetown was provided by the light cruiser HMS Gambia, heavy cruiser HMS Frobisher, destroyers HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Boreas, HrMs Van Galen and escort destroyer Tetcott.
Around 1245Z/4, the corvette HMS Hydrangea (A/Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR) joined. The corvette FFS Commandant Detroyant was also to have joined the convoy but failed to do so.
Around 1430Z/4, HMS Wivern and HMS Boreas were detached.
Around 1020Z/5, HMS Hydrangea parted company.
In the morning of 8 May 1942, HMS Frobisher fuelled HMS Tetcott and on completion of doing so parted company with the convoy around 1315Z/8 to escort the Agwileon to Walvis Bay. This ship was detached from the convoy as she was unable to keep up.
In the morning of 9 May 1942, HMS Gambia fuelled HrMs Van Galen however after only 57 tons of fuel had been transferred to hose parted due to the bad weather conditions. These two ships then parted company with the convoy to proceed to St. Helena, which was only 52 nautical miles away, where they were able to complete fuelling (another 155 tons was transferred) while at anchor. HMS Gambia rejoined the convoy around 1550A/10. HrMS Van Galen proceeded independently to Capetown arriving there on 22 May 1942.
Late in the morning of the 14th, HMS Gambia transferred 20 tons of fuel to HMS Tetcott which was running low.
Around 1300B/14, the A/S whalers HMS Southern Gem (T/Lt. D.C. Hayes, RNVR) and HMS Southern Pride (T/Lt. F.A. Darrah, RNVR) joined.
Around 0300B/15, the Capetown section parted company. It was made up of the Dempo, Empress of Canada, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Orduna, Phemius, Reina del Pacifico, Rimutaka and Waipawa. HMS Albatross, HMS Tetcott, HMS Southern Gem and HMS Southern Pride went with them. The Capetown section arrived there later the same morning.
The remainder of the convoy continued on to Durban escorted by HMS Gambia.
At 1600B/15, HMS Hecla suffered a heavy explosion on the starboard side. Position was to the south of Cape Aghulas, in 36°06'S, 19°55'E. It was though that she had been torpedoed but this was soon changed to being mined. HMS Gambia stood by the stricken vessel. Later it was found out that also the transport Soudan had also been mined and had been sunk as a result of the damage sustained.
HMS Hecla and HMS Gambia arrived off Simonstown around 0800B/16. HMS Hecla was immediately docked in the Selborne dry dock.
The Durban section of convoy WS 18 was then joined around 1000B/16 by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN). This ship had been en-route from Durban to Simonstown and had now been ordered to escort the Durban section with HMS Gambia absent.
The Durban section arrived at Durban around noon on the 18th.
On 19 May 1942, the Capetown section of the convoy departed from there. It was now made up of the Bulkoil (American (tanker), 8071 GRT, built 1942), Dempo, Empress of Canada, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Orduna, Phemius, Reina del Pacifico and Waipawa. HMS Albatross was also with the convoy which was escorted by HMS Frobisher. The Phemus however had to return to Capetown later the same day.
On 23 May 1942, the Durban section of the convoy departed from there. It was made up of the Capetown Castle, City of Capetown, Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1935), Empire Woodlark (British, 7793 GRT, built 1913) and Llandaff Castle. They were escorted by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN).
The two sections then merged, but the Reina del Pacifico was detached to proceed independently to Bombay arriving there on 2 June.
Around 0615C/27, the Phemus rejoined the convoy after having returned to Capetown on the 19th.
Around 2300C/27, the Llandaff Castle parted company with the convoy to proceed to Diego Suarez. HMS Frobisher went with her as escort. They arrived there around 2000C/29.
Around 1330C/30, the light cruisers HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) and HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C.A. Annesley, DSO, RN) joined. HMS Resolution, HMS Albatross and the Empire Woodlark then parted company to proceed to Kilindini where they arrived the following morning.
At 0745D/31, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN) joined. HMS Emerald then parted company.
Around 1530D/2, HMS Worcestershire parted company taking the Bulkoil, Phemius and Waipawa with her to Aden where they arrived around 0900C/4.
The remainder of the convoy continued on towards Bombay escorted by HMS Enterprise. It arrived at Bombay around 1100FG/7. (4)
23 Sep 1942
German U-boat U-125 torpedoed and sank the British merchant Bruy?re southwest of Freetown in position 04°55'N, 17°16'W. 27 of the survivors were later picked up by the British corvette HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) and landed at Freetown.
7 Oct 1942
HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) picks up 248 survivors from the British passenger ship Andalucia Star that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-107 about 200 nautical miles south-west of Freetown in position 06°38'N, 15°46'W.
11 Oct 1942
HMS Petunia (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) picks up 126 survivors from the British merchant Agapenor that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-87 about 180 nautical miles south of Freetown in position 06°53'N, 15°23'W.
11 Mar 1943
Convoy WS 27.
Part of the convoy that proceeded from Freetown to South Africa.
This convoy departed Freetown on 11 March 1943 for South Africa.
The composition of the convoy on departure from Freetown was as follows; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).
On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), destroyers HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and the corvettes HMS Crocus (T/Lt.Cdr. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and HMS Petunia (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR).
At 0001/12, HMS Quail was detached to pick up the US transport James Parker (10021 GRT, built 1939). She rejoined with the American ship at 1300/12.
At 0200/14, James Parker parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi. She was being escorted by HMS Quail.
At 0530/14, HMS Crocus and HMS Petunia parted company with the convoy.
At 1730/14, the transports Duchess of Richmond (British, 22022 GRT, built 1928), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) and Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy coming from Lagos. They were being escorted by the corvettes HMS Armeria (Lt. M. Todd, RNR) and HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR) which also joined the convoy escort.
At 1245/15, HMS Quail rejoined.
Between 0700 and 0935/16, HMS Queensborough fuelled from HMS Sussex.
Between 1615 and 1745/16, HMS Quail fuelled from HMS Sussex.
At 1900/16, HMS Raider was detached to fuel at Porte Noire.
At 1815/18, HMS Armeria and HMS Bellwort were detached. Shortly afterwards HMS Raider rejoined the convoy.
On 23 March the following transports arrived at Capetown; Almanzora, Bergensfjord, Duchess of Richmond, Leopoldville, Orbita, Ruys and Sibajak, as did HMS Sussex, HMS Quail, HMS Queenborough and HMS Raidar of the escort.
When the destroyers detached three other destroyers joined the Durban section of the convoy, these were HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN) and HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN). HMS Sussex joined from Capetown later in the day.
The Durban section of the convoy, made up of Antenor, Capetown Castle, Chistiaan Huygens, Strathaird and Strathmore, arrived there on 26 March 1943.
22 Mar 1943
HMS P 615 (Lt. C.W.St.C. Lambert, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown with HMS Corinthian (Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) and HMS Petunia (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR). (5)
26 Oct 1943
HMS Viking (Lt. R. Bannar-Martin, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Milford (Lt.Cdr. G. MacClelland, RN), HMS Petunia (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR), HMS Armeria (T/Lt. M. Todd, RNR) and HMIS Kistna (A/Cdr.(Emgy.) R.R. Caws, RIN). (6)
12 Dec 1943
HMS Spirit (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Petunia (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). (7)
2 Mar 1944
HMS Terrapin (Lt.Cdr. D.S.R. Martin, DSO and 2 bars, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Clarkia (A/Lt.Cdr. J.O. Williams, RNR) and HMS Petunia (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). (8)
14 Mar 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Tavy (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F. Ardern, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR), HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. G. Wallace, RNR), HMS Londonderry (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Philpott, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Louis (A/Lt.Cdr. R. Johnston, RNR), HMS Anguilla (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C. Morrison-Payne, RNVR) and HMS Petunia (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). (9)
- ADM 173/16780
- ADM 199/424
- ADM 173/17584
- ADM 199/1211
- ADM 199/635
- ADM 173/18454
- ADM 173/18094
- ADM 173/18996
- File 2.12.03.6372 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.