The Flower Class Corvette
The two largest operators
of the Flower Class corvette were the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian
Navy. During the course of the war the appearance of these ships was
to undergo many changes, some of which are shown here on representative
HMCS Dauphin K157
HMCS Dauphin would appear to have been caught while applying her camouflage.
She is in overall medium gray (AP507b) with a white panel on the bow
and gunshield. There are further light gray areas on her bandstand and
funnel. This is the original as-built appearance of the early RCN Flowers.
RN Flowers were similar, but with their bandstand where the mainmast
was sited on RCN Flowers. Secondary armament consists of a pair of Lewis
guns in the bandstand - sufficient quantities of the 2pdr were unavailable.
Also note the original bridge with enclosed charthouse on the upper
level, and the lack of radar.
HMCS Midland K220
HMCS Midland is seen here in overall light grey (AP507c) with dark
grey (AP507a) camouflage. Some modification is apparent in that the
mainmast is gone, and the 2pdr has arrived. Her bridge is still of mercantile
fashion and radar is still lacking. Actually by this date there was
radar available to RCN escorts, this was the infamous Canadian designed
SW1C .. which, although a technical achievement in its creation, was
totally ineffective in use. It was to be another year before the vastly
superior British type 271 was available to the RCN in any numbers.
HMS Abelia K184
Tests revealed that rather than the previously used dark colours, the
best shades for the often fogbound north Atlantic were white and various
pastel shades to try and blend the ship into the surrounding murkiness.
To this end, many escorts of the Western Approaches (and other commands)
began to appear in off-white, light blue and light green. These were
to become the classic 'Western Approaches' schemes which dominated the
middle war years.
HMS Abelia is fitted for minesweeping (as were most early RCN corvettes),
and is also fitted with one of the first type 271 radars. However she
still has an enclosed compass house on her bridge.
HMS Borage K120
Another Flower fitted for minesweeping is HMS Borage. She, however,
has the 'LL' (magnetic) minesweeping gear on the stern, and an 'acoustic
hammer' on the bow. This was a bucket fitted to the end of of an A-frame
which could be lowered into the water. A weight was dropped into the
bucket setting off a load noise which it was hoped would detonate any
acoustic mines in the area.
HMS Spirea K08
Not all corvettes used the WA colours, and HMS Spirea is a perfect
example of this. She is seen here in MS1, MS4 and MS4a. Her appearance
is a mixture of early and late. .. lengthened foc's'le and radar, but
old bridge and mast.
HMCS Shawinigan K136
HMCS Shawinigan wears the classic 'WA" colours. Again, secondary
weapons are negligible. Shawinigan had a gunshield emblem consisting
of a golden harp with a winged female form on a dark green background.
HMS Bluebell K80
Operational experience showed that changes were required to improve
the efficiency of the Flower Class. The most obvious was the extending
of the foc's'le to better accommodate the additional crew required.
Other improvements include a new open bridge with 20mm Oerlikons for
defence, hedgehog anti-submarine mortars, type 271 radar and the mast
resited behind the bridge to improve visibility forward. Bluebell is
also carrying two twin Lewis guns on the aft engine room casing.
HMCS Arrowhead K145
Although the majority of RCN Flowers weren't fully up to RN standards
in mid-1942, there were a handful that were. These were the ten Flowers
that had been built in Canada for the RN, but turned over to the RCN
for the duration .. They retained 'Flower' names rather than the city
and town names given to RCN Flowers (the RCN wanted to call them Town
Class, but that was taken by the 50 four-stack destroyers lent to the
RN/RCN by the USN in return for bases). Arrowhead has almost all of
the upgrades except for Hedgehog and the mast. Arrowhead carried an
indian head over crossed arrows on the gunshield. Indian heads were
probably the second most common form of RCN gunshield art behind Donald
HMCS Snowberry K166
Another of the RN ordered RCN Flowers was HMCS Snowberry. She can be
seen in a series of excellent photos in the WR Press volume by John
Lambert on the type. For those who purchased the Revell kit, here is
what the gunshield art SHOULD look like.
HMS Gloxinia K22
Gloxinia was used in the Mediterranean on minsweeping duties (one account
has her leading the main fleet into harbour and setting off a dozen
mines while doing so !!). In common with other Med-based ships she also
carried an additional AA armament in the form of a 4" HA gun in
the bandstand and the 2pdr was resited to the aft end of the engine
room casing. Colours appear to be AP507a hull and 507c upperworks with
a white false bow wave. The bridge is of the earliest form (with an
additional level on the compass house)
HMS Clematis K36
Clematis shows the next major change in colours, the pastel WA blue
and green were dropped in favour of B55. Interestingly, she has a quad
.50 mount in the bandstand. The 2pdr may not have been the most effective
of weapons, but it was superior to the machine guns fitted.
HMCS Shediac K110
HMCS Shediac still has a short foc's'le and mast forward of the bridge
at this late date. Although depicted with WA blue panels, B55 is more
likely. The gunshield artwork is shown in enlarged form, colours of
which are conjectural. Shediac was one of a handful of Flowers that
were modified to serve as ocean-going tugs if need be.
Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy: MacPherson and Milner;
Canada's Flowers: Lynch; Nimbus Publishing
Warship perspective: Flower Class Corvettes: Lambert; WR
RN Colour Chips: Snyder & Short Enterprises
North Atlantic Run: Milner; University of Toronto
Gunshield Graffiti: Lynch, Lamb and Jensen; Nimbus Publishing
NOTE: I intend to try and illustrate all of the Flower Class corvettes,
and to that end I welcome correspondence with others interested in them,
whether it be a correction or just a comment. This will be a long term
project for eventual publication in some form along with other Allied