HMS Compass Rose (ES-1940)


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The Kingfisher Sloops of the mid-1930's showed that a better escort was needed than what was currently in the fleet. What was needed was an updated Flower class sloop of World War One vintage. A ship who's design could be mass produced in time of war. This is 1937, Hitler is rattling his sabre and annexing land all around Germany. The Royal Navy knew that if war with Germany happened in the next 5 years, the convoy escorts would be just as important as the battleship building program, probably even more so.

The ship would need to be approximately 1200 tons, 255-260 x 33 x 12 feet, machinery could be anything from low power steam engines, reciprocating engines or even diesels, all at about 3,500hp to give a speed of about 19-20 knots. A very basic 'merchant' hull design that could be produced in non-naval yards. Two designs were produced one based on a whale catcher, the other based on the earlier WW1 Flower class sloop.

As with most ships in war, improvements were made with virtually every new member of the class - and there were a lot of new members. Over 300 Flower Class Sloops were built in Allied countries. UK, Southern Africa, Australis, Zealandia, North America, all built Flowers. Production orders for the class finished in 1943 with the last of the class being completed in early 1944. Changes in armament, and the cutting down of the masts, then the addition of Radar to the masts are the most obvious changes. With the end of the war hundreds went to the scrap heap with unseemly haste. They had done their duty, goodbye. Over 40 were kept in service with minor navies as minor service ships, oceanography, even as mail service ships around the small Pacific Island nations that did not have aerodromes at that stage. Several were rebuilt as private, luxury, yachts. Those were mostly the diesel variants which had the most reliable and economical engines.

Displacement 1,200 tons std, 1,410 tons full load.
Length 258 ft
Breadth 33 ft
Draught 12 ft
Machinery 2 shaft, Triple Expansion or Steam Turbines or Diesel engines, 3,500shp
Speed 18-20 knots
Range 4500 miles at 12 knots
Armament As completed
2 x 4" (2x1)
1 x 2pd (1x1)
4 x 0.5"mg (1x4)
2 x 4" (2x1)
1 x 40mm (1x1)
4 x 20mm (1x2, 2x1)
Complement 80-90

Whaler type escort design for mass production - not  proceeded with.

Required reading: Nicholas Montserrat - The Cruel Sea. Try the movie for those who do not have the patience to read. ( )

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